Today, we had to put down Bengie. He'd been having issues with his back for a couple of weeks, but that is what one might expect with a 16-year-old dog who used to live with a much bigger dog who had a nasty habit of repeatedly jumping on top of him. Then, Beng started screaming in pain in the middle of the night and it was clear that something was seriously amiss. He began to have trouble standing up, leaning down to drink or eat, and squatting to poop. We left Beng at the vet for a couple of days at the start of this past week. They discovered that he had two ruptured discs in his back and another in his neck; it was the latter one that was causing him the major pain. Shots seemed to help for a while, but things turned bad again once we got Beng home, try as we might to keep him safe (e.g. confining him to the kitchen while we were away so that Harry wouldn't run into him by accident). He could barely stand up and couldn't really do anything for himself any more. We really had no choice. Before we took Beng to the vet for the last time, we loaded him into the Houndabout and took one final walk around the block together with Harry and Shasta.
We are happy that we were able to give Beng 2 1/2 extra years of life after we inherited him from our late next-door neighbor, Hazel Sprinkle. Having lived his entire life with a chain-smoker, Beng came to us suffering from heart failure and smelling like he'd just come from an all-night party at Philip Morris'. We shaved him down to the nub at a local groomer's and kept him short-haired most of the time. In a smoke-free home, Beng got his "man bark" back in short order, but he had to take regular doses of medication for his heart issues. Luckily, Harry and Shasta had had lots of exposure to him, and the three of them got along well, apart from the occasional "I'm not touching you..." flare-up. Harry and Beng often did a funny routine in which they faced each other nose-to-nose and then started dancing around each other like a couple of boxers feeling each other out in the ring.
We'll miss you, Beng. At least you are finally back with Hazel again.