Last night a friend called. She and her husband had to put their lovely young dog to sleep. Mya, a beautiful Doberman Pinscher. On Saturday, she was ill and her vet diagnosed her with Dilated Cardiomyopathy. They were familiar with this heart disease, a congestive failure too common in Dobermans. They knew it meant probably only months left of life. But with Mya it went blazingly fast. By Tuesday, she was so sick and tests showed nothing could be done. So they did the only humane thing they could.
The Doberman they’d had before, Sasha, also developed it. They took her to the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph and found out that it’s a common congenital problem for several breeds of large dogs, but especially prevalent in Dobermans. It usually hits anywhere between 2 and 6 years of age. Perhaps Dobes are more prone to it because of their huge chests and huge hearts. Both Sasha and Mya had big hearts and loved their people and their friends, both dog and human, deeply.
Doberman research at U of Guelph
The disease progressed in Sasha quite rapidly, but slowly compared to Mya. Sasha became part of a research experiment at the OVC in Guelph. A doctor wanted to find out why this disease is so prevalent in Dobes and can it be eradicated. After a few months of living with it, Sasha succumbed to it.
My dog Jack missed Sasha; they were best friends. We’d go to the park he usually met her at, and he’d watch the road. Every truck that sounded like hers would cause him to run to the fence, looking and hoping. Jack never got to know Mya. He was getting old and sick himself, and Mya was a very rambunctious puppy.
My new dogs, after Jack passed away, became friends with the young adult Mya. She was much bigger than either of them, but they played and chased each other. They’d just hang out together and go to whomever they thought might have treats and mooch. Mya’s long, pointed nose would push into your pocket to see what you had.
We ran into her just last Friday evening, along with several others of Mya’s good friends. So she had a fine time, running and wrestling. That was her last run, but it was a good one.
When your house is too quiet
Last night, petting the cats lying beside me, I thought of how quiet Mya’s house must seem without her there. She was an only pet. It would be different for me, I thought, if one died there are others. There still would be the life sounds of 4-footed creatures. But then I remembered when Jack died and, soon after, a cat Henry. With both of them, there was a huge hole in the house. A void felt by humans and other cats alike. New ones come along and make their own place in heart and household, but the memory and loss of the ones who are gone remain.
You will be remembered, Mya, and you are loved. Rest in peace, beautiful girl. Feb. 6, 2007 – June 28, 2011