Won Ton, Mei Yi

Hello everyone. I just wanted to share a story about my mom, and our Shih Tzus named Won Ton and Mei Yi. (Their given names were Sir Won Ton the Second and Madam Mei Yi Lee. That is pronounced May-EE, in case you are wondering.)

Mei Yi was Won Ton’s daughter. (We also had Mei’s mother and sister for a long period of time, but I would need to write a novel to discuss the whole dog family!) My mother so loved these dogs. I loved them too, but I don’t think I could put into words how much they meant to her. She went through a lot of really bad times (particularly at one time with a teenage daughter who shall remain nameless) and she always maintained that they only ones that were constant in her life were her dogs.

My mother was in involved in a car accident in 1992 that caused a head injury and a permanent seizure disorder. She had been a successful nurse (three degrees in nursing) and the injury eventually pushed her out of the field that she loved, so she was at home alone quite a bit, with only the dogs. She was particularly fond of Won Ton, and I have to tell you, this dog was interesting, to say the least. I really don’t think he knew that he was a dog. In fact, if you looked at him long enough, I swear he looked like a little man with a beard and mustache…just really hairy! He also had an attitude. If you got on to him for something, he would stare you straight in the face as he lifted his leg to pee on the couch, as if to say, “Here’s what I think about that!” Won Ton did not like to be left alone, and he especially did not like to be seperated from my mother. If he was accidentally left on the wrong side of the bedroom door, he would scratch and whine until she let him in.

Anyway, he had a quirky personality and to know him was to love him for sure.
As often happens with Shih Tzus, he started to go blind as he aged, and eventually developed cancer. My mother, with her instict as a loving and caring nurse, took care of this dog as if he were human. To her, I think, he really was a little person. Of course the day came when it was obvious that he was in pain, and the pain patch that he wore just wasn’t helping. It was agonizing to see this little dog not be able to do anything for himself. My mom made the choice to have him put to rest. Her grief was enormous. She mourned in a way that I have never seen a person mourn for an animal. She always thought that Won Ton was her little angel sent to comfort her. One night she called me and told me that she was laying in bed and she heard scratching at the door. She thought that she left Mei Yi in the living room, so she went to open it, only to notice Mei sleeping soundly down the hall. My mom really believed that Won Ton paid her a visit to let her know that he was still around her. I choose to believe that as well.

My mom never accepted that Won Ton passed. She did adopt a dog, a yellow lab she named Samson, but the void was still there. (Sam also turned out to be a comfort to Mom. He is a very smart dog and sensed her seizures with NO special training. He taught himself how to pull her to the ground and alert other people. It was truly amazing.)
At any rate, my mother passed away 3/3/02, six days shy of her 51st birthday. I was only 25 at the time, and as an only child (not counting the dogs of course) it was particularly devestating to me. (I had also lost my dad and grandmother that same year.)
I looked to the dogs for comfort. Mei Yi was getting old, but she was a part of my life since I was a teenager, and I had a lot of really great memories of my mom through her. I hope that makes sense. My stepfather kept Mei Yi and Sam, but I would bring Mei to my house for the weekend or on certain occasions. I loved her and babied her, just as my mother taught me.

Mei Yi died at the age of fifteen a few months ago. I couldn’t bring myself to go with my stepfather to have her put to rest. She, like Won Ton, was blind and had cancer. Losing Mei broke my heart. I felt that I lost another part of my mother.

I just want to say that animals are precious, and I thank God for them. I agree with my mom in that these gentle creatures are little angels, and I think God puts them in our lives for specific purposes. Dogs (and cats) are to be treasured and loved.
Thank you for allowing me to share my story. God bless and have a great holiday.

Myndee from TX