I got my standard red dachshund, Arnie, in 1995 when he was just six weeks old. The kids were five and eight, and were big fans of movies like The Terminator, and loved Arnold. So when it came time to name the puppy, Arnie just seemed right. Plus, it always brought a smile to people’s faces when I’d say, “His name’s Arnold Schwartzenegger, but we call him Arnie for short.”
He was absolutely adorable, and after just a day or two decided that I was his favourite being on Earth. I felt the same way about him, so it was a love fest whenever we were together. As Denis always said, the question foremost on Arnie’s mind was, “Where’s Mommy?”
As he was our first dog, we really didn’t know a lot about training, feeding, etc. The kids used to love getting cones from Dairy Queen, and we’d get a baby-sized one and feed it to Arnie. He’d shiver, and we’d say, “Isn’t that cute? He’s shivering!”
So by the age of one Arnie was quite the chunky boy. At his height he weighed 44 pounds, which is a lot, even for a standard dachshund. Despite his weight, he was a voracious hunter. Our cat, Fang, used to accompany him out on the neighbouring fields, looking for birds and mice.
I remember one day when he and I were out for our daily walk. We rounded a blind corner, and there before us was a mother quail and a dozen babies. I hardly knew what they were as they were such a dark brown colour, and as I was trying to figure out what was happening, Arnie had eaten almost all of them!
Arnie was fiercely loyal. One night the paramedics were called due to one of my kidney stone incidents. As they entered the bedroom to try and remove me to the ambulance, Arnie stood his ground, attacking anyone trying to touch me. Finally Denis had to carry him into another room and close the door.
At around age 10 Arnie developed diabetes, so received twice-daily insulin injections. By age 12 his sight was going, and he developed glaucoma. He had one of his eyes removed by the vet, and lost the sight in the other, so he was completely blind. Then he became deaf at around age 13.
However, I kept a careful watch on him because all dog owners had told me that I would just “know” when the time was right. I didn’t want him to suffer just because I wanted him around. However, countless dog owners looked at him and thought he was okay as he still ate, went out, and seemed not to have any pain.
After all the dog had given me, I sure wasn’t going to have him put down just because he was an inconvenience. I had to carry him outside and back in, and I didn’t mind. At night I carried him to bed, where he and I have slept together for almost 15 years.
On Wednesday night, however, I noticed Arnie was completely different. He listed to one side, and seemed disoriented. He peed, then vomited. I called Nicky upstairs and said I thought Arnie had had a stroke. I asked him to phone the emergency vet and sobbed through my tears to tell them this was for a euthanasia appointment.
Nicky drove, and I held my dog, crying all the way there. Fifteen years is a long time to have loved such a great dog! They took him away, which annoyed the hell out of me, as they said they were going to put in the catheter and return him so I could be with him.
I was frantic while he was away, and then finally they brought him to the exam room and put him on a blanket on the table. The vet began to put in the shot while I hugged Arnie and kissed his muzzle over and over and over until his body went limp. The vet used his stethescope to listen and then said, “He isn’t with us anymore.”
We brought him home and buried him the next day in the yard that he loved so much. Rest in peace, Arnie.