I had gone on a short break after learning that my pup was terminally ill in Hiatus for a Companion Animal | The Macabre Author.
I am officially back and am going to stay back. Today, my sweet pup died suddenly (either a blood clot to the brain or heart). We are bereaved.
When I first found out that Tish was terminally ill, I sat down and wrote her obituary. She actually sat in my lap when I wrote it. I like to imagine that secretly, she could read and enjoyed reading it.
I wrote it using a “fill in the blanks” style so that it could be modified with ease when the time came. I have reprinted it below.
It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our beloved Chihuahua, Morticia Luanne Hogue-Boucher Strong on Saturday, March 11, 2017. She was a beloved member of our family, and died suddenly of an ischemic attack or myocardial infarction. She experienced no pain and did not cry. She died instantly. This was after a period of home hospice care for five Months. She was 14 years old. Her last meal was a wonderful breakfast of chicken meatballs and cat kibble, which she enjoyed a great deal.
She was born in Tampa, Florida on December 20, 2002 and was brought to her adoptive home on February 14, 2003. It is said that companion animals choose their humans, and this saying rings true for Morticia. She quietly sat in her cage while her sister ran circles around her. Anne put her hand in the cage and her litter-mate ran right by. Morticia, however, put her paw in the center of Anne’s hand. The connection went straight to her heart. She was instantly family.
In the car ride home, Tish cried a little at first, but when her parents talked to her and assured her it was safe, she settled right down and began a long love affair with car rides (though sometimes she got carsick on sharp turns).
Her first act in her new household was to greet the cats, Nikita, Pishnook, and Sappawee (all belated now), who all believed she was a large rat. However, a piercing bark and chase convinced the cats otherwise. Instead of viewing her as prey, they knew she was something special. They soon became good friends, and cuddle buddies.
Morticia led a fast-paced, active puppyhood marked by pranks that earned her the title of “Little Clown Dog,” such as putting kibble in Mami’s shoes, and drinking decaffeinated coffee when her mother’s back was turned (which only happened once and thank goodness she was okay).
She was a performer of great tricks, such as the barrel roll, dancing in a circle on her hind legs, high and low fives, and even being able to find the treat in the hand. She enjoyed overpowering a pit bull named Elvis who became her play buddy and platonic boyfriend, and hanging out with the belated Babe Jerkins, a well-loved Great Dane. She was also buddies with the late Lukah Juge-Jerkins, and she taught him to bark for fun, and possibly profit.
Her favorite pastimes were short walks, long car rides, and visiting her Nanda (the late Helene Van Amerongen) and her Abuelos (Dean and Diane Cadoret). Above all, her favorite foods included P-Nuttier biscuits, Cowboy Cookout for dogs, and a special dog food made with Kobe beef, which she ate during her final days to ensure maximum canine happiness. She also loved Milo’s Kitchen chicken meatballs.
When her parents moved to Atlanta, Georgia, she adapted quickly, enjoying her new environment and welcoming three new cat siblings into the family. Though she didn’t get along with Jeff (he is too big and used to try to grab her food), Abbey and Charlie were her steadfast friends. Jeff and Tish kept the peace by occasionally sniffing each other and engaging in non-violent communication. Sadly, Tish eventually had to say goodbye to Sappawee and then Nikita. She ensured to cuddle and care for them in their final days.
Morticia’s life was often about food, but without the pretense of gourmet demands. Her favorite fast-food place was Sonic, especially their tater tots. Yet she managed to keep a trim figure for the most part, shedding weight with ease and the help of her parents.
During her clownish performances, she also trained for Chihuahua races but never engaged in them. She enjoyed zooming around the house at top speed to “Ready! Set! Go!” and reveled in the applause. She enjoyed singing Christmas carols with her family, howling along and making everyone laugh. She assumed all laughter was because she was the entertaining clown of the evening—and to her parents, this is so.
There is so much more to be said about the happiness and joy this little canine brought into her parents’ lives and to all the people she met—it could fill a book. Suffice it to say she was an ideal little dog in a big, imperfect world.
She is survived by her adopted parents and siblings who will miss her more than she’ll ever know.
Morticia, you brought so much joy and happiness into our lives at a time we didn’t expect. We didn’t know if we would be good parents to a tiny dog, but your little paws left big prints all over our hearts. You are the Official Best Dog and we just hope that we were able to help ease you into the transition where all roads meet. We hope that road is paved with yummy dog treats and all-you-can-chase butterflies. May you be free of pain, and free of fear. We hope it is warm and sunny where you are now.
We love you. Goodbye.