My little Shih-Tzu died on 10/25/05. He was almost 15 years old. I had him since he was a puppy. While most dogs have a great personality, my Shih-Tzu, Kyoto, did not. He actually would bite my Mom and me and I had to hire a dog behaviorist to help me. Everyone told me to get rid of him. As a dog lover, I could never give up on my dog and did everything I could to stop his biting. Kyoto was only nine pounds, but terrorized everyone. He even jumped off the table at the vet’s office and was running around the whole office knocking bottles over and literally destroyed the place. The vet told me he could no longer treat him. He went to other vets and the only one who could deal with Kyoto was his groomer, Cathy. She was a “dog whisperer” and a godsend to my Mom and me.

I believe part of Kyoto’s problem was we really spoiled him, but aren’t we supposed to do that to our dogs and cats anyway. My Mom always liked to tell me that I spoiled Kyoto, but it was she who took him to Carvel and Church every day. He had three lambs wool beds, we cooked him steak and, yes, Mark, if we had steak fries, he did have a little ketchup on his steak as well! Kyoto actually was the boss. He didn’t like people. I used to tell my Mother that he tolerated us.

Because he was such a small dog, it was funny he had such an aggressive personality. He was all white with brown ears and brown on the tip of his tail. It was Kyoto’s way or the highway. He was a tough cookie, but we loved him and did have great times with him. We never left him home and took him everywhere.

My Mom died on 8/5/03 of congestive heart failure at 83 years of age. Kyoto was especially close to her. I had to leave him to go to work and he never got over her death. He was 12 1/2 when she died.
A teacher across the hall from my apartment who is an animal rescue lady herself, would walk Kyoto for me when she got home from school. Kyoto would cry when I left for work in the morning as he missed my Mom, as did I, and it would rip my heart out to leave him.

Well, Kyoto, had been suffering from an enlarged heart for two years and then in September of 2005 he developed a cough. He had the same symptoms as my Mom. I took him to the vet and he did an EKG and chest X-ray and the vet told me that he had significant cardiac changes.
Dr. Meyer, Kyoto’s vet, said, “We won’t give up on Kyoto, he’s tough”. He put him on lasix. I would walk him before work and he would be coughing. One morning a man stopped me and said, “Your dog’s dying”. I said he’s very sick.

The following day, Kyoto, collapsed on me. I called Dr. Meyer. He said to come by and he would give me a pill to help Kyoto’s breathing.

I told Dr. Meyer I did not want Kyoto to suffer. He told me as long as he eats, wants to go for a walk, and will let me touch him, he wasn’t suffering. He also told me that Kyoto was the last part of my Mom that was left to me.

One morning on the following week, I woke up and could not find Kyoto. He usually was in one of his lambswool beds. I called for him and looked all over my apartment for him. I finally found him in a corner of my living room. He got up and collapsed, but remember, Kyoto was tough. He got up again, and collapsed again. I knew it was time. I ran across the hall to get Cathy, the school teacher. I told her I wasn’t sure but I think it was time to take Kyoto to Dr. Meyer and I wanted her to say goodbye to him. She came and petted Kyoto and he growled at her. Because he growled at her, she said he seemed fine to her. We both laughed. Cathy used to make Kyoto meatballs that he loved. He had eaten them the night before.

I called Tara, Dr. Meyer’s assistant, and I told her Kyoto had collapsed twice this morning and I couldn’t have him smother on his fluid and suffer. She said to bring him over at 8:45 A.M. When I brought him over, Dr. Meyer listened to his chest and told me he was filled with fluid and that we had talked about not letting Kyoto suffer. I told him I did not want him to suffer anymore.

I asked Tara to please call Cathy, his groomer, who works for Dr. Meyer next door and has been his only groomer since he was a pup.

Cathy and I held Kyoto while Dr. Meyer gently put him to sleep. When he was gone, I whispered in his ear that he was, “with grandma now”. Kyoto knew my Mom by grandma.

It was pouring rain outside and I gave Tara my credit card and I was not thinking properly as I must have gone back into the examining room to kiss Kyoto approximately seven times. Tara gave me back my credit card and I hugged her and Cathy. Tara asked if I was going to go to work. I said I did not know if I would be able to and Cathy said she did not think she could work today either. I gave my “little boy” one final look and burst into tears and left the office. When I got to the car, I could not see because of the pouring rain and the tears streaming down my face.
I called work and told them I had to put Kyoto down and could hardly speak. I took the day off and went home and washed Kyoto’s linings in his lambwool beds and gave the beds to Cathy, the school teacher, so she could give them to her homeless animals.

I’m alone now since losing my Mom and Kyoto. I do know that if I ever get another dog, I could never replace Kyoto in my life as he would never replace me in his.

Donna from NY