Memories of Romeo Montague
To those of you that knew and loved our Romeo, you know that he suffered from diabetes for about 5 years. He slowly lost his vision but continued to get around pretty well. The one thing that broke my heart about him losing his vision was that he was AMAZING at playing catch. His only allowed treat after he became diabetic was baby carrots. He loved them, and we would have him sit in one spot and we would walk all around the kitchen tossing him carrots. Rarely would he miss a catch. He loved to play ball and his favorite game was to lay at the top of our steps and toss a ball down to us. We'd throw the ball back up to the top, he would catch it and then drop it back down to us. We would play that game endlessly. He also loved to shred paper; Rob always said that he could work for the government as a document destroyer! He also loved to chew up a stuffed toy. He could do it in record time. He didn't have a tail and I always believed that somehow that bothered him. As a result, every new stuffed toy would immediately have it's tail removed. After that, he would rip out all the stuffing, find the squeaker and chew it to bits. After that, the toy would be demolished over time; all the limbs would be chewed off and every now and again it would get a good shake. His favorite, longest surviving toy was a soft, rubber dinosaur. He would walk through the house carrying the dinosaur, whining, looking for the perfect place to lay down so he could chew. One of us would have to play tug of war for a minute or two and then he would settle into a good, long chewing session. It was a ritual we had. One of many.
He loved to go for a ride in the car and we were so happy to oblige him. Even if it was only a quick drive around the court, he was happy that he got to go along. He would settle into his seat (the front passenger) and tap us with a paw to be petted during the drive. I did this with him the whole drive to the veterinary hospital his last day.
He loved to bask in the sun. It was common for him to scratch at the door to the deck on the hottest days of the year so he could go outside and lay in the sun and "bake." He would lay there for so long that his little body would get so hot. I have no idea how he could stand it. I guess the heat felt good on his bones because he had hip trouble from the time he was a puppy. I learned when he was only ten months old that he had hip dysplasia. By the time he was 4 years old, he had both femoral heads removed from his hips. While under anesthesia the for the first surgery in January 2002, he had a cardiac arrest. It wasn't his time to go and he survived another surgery one month later. He was a fighter, there was no doubt.
He could be such a curious little fellow. He loved to investigate purses and would often help himself to whatever struck his fancy. Once, he stole a tooth brush from an overnight guest. He was stealthy about it too! He stole the tooth brush and had it chewed to bits in no time at all!
He also loved cookies. What dog doesn't? On more than one occasion, he helped himself to cookies in my lunch bag if I left it within reach. Within reach included the dining room table. He was a clever little guy. As small as he was, he learned to push a chair out from under the table to use it as a landing to get up on the table. But he had a special attraction to Oreos. One time, he recovered an entire bag and spent the afternoon hiding the cookies away for later. He had them stashed in a corner behind the couch, on a bookshelf, buried in plants, under pillows on the couch, and under his toys. We first thought that he had eaten them all and were sure he would be sick. But after a week of Oreos showing up in the strangest places, we figure that he only ate one or two.
He was a leaner. If I was cooking in the kitchen, he had to lay behind me, touching me. If we were sitting on the couch, he had to be leaning on one of us. It was sweet, and we loved every second of it. He also slept in bed with us. We would tell Romeo, before our son Reese was born, that it was okay, he would still be able to sleep with us in bed, the baby would have to sleep in the cage(crib). And speaking of the crib and the baby... if I didn't already love this dog more than words could say; one day when Reese was only a few weeks old, and still small enough to sleep in the bassinet I put him down for a nap so I could get a shower. When I walked back into the bedroom after my shower, there was my sweet, sweet pup, resting his face on the edge of the bassinet which was pushed right up against the bed. Romeo was watching over baby Reese as he slept!
He loved the snow. He got great pleasure running in the snow, digging his nose in deep and flinging the snow in the air only to catch it with a snap. He had a royal blue, Land's End snow parka with his name embroidered on the back. He was so handsome. He wasn't always happy with the Halloween costumes that I chose, but he obliged me every year; at least long enough to get a few photos. He was so photogenic, and allowed me many opportunities to take pictures. So many that he has a photo album and his own scrapbook. He had a photo club membership at Picture People and drew more "Awww's" than any baby ever did. We even had wedding pictures taken with him. Our photographer thought it a little strange, but he obliged and we each have individual photos with him in our wedding album.
He was so spoiled, even after he became diabetic. On Sundays, when we had a real breakfast, we would throw a handful of his diet food into leftover french toast egg and make him a doggie omlet, or he would get a doggie pancake (no syrup).
He knew his treats (carrots) were in the fridge and if he wanted one, he would go to into the kitchen and scratch on the fridge door until we came to get a treat for him. If we took too long, he would whine. If that still didn't work, he had a high-pitched bark that let us know he was tired of waiting for us. And, he was a begger. He would sit quietly next to us and touch us with his paw. He'd get a bit more forceful if we made him wait too long and then the whining would start, and then we'd get the bark. He had this face that was just so cute and sweet. Impossible to resist. He could do "twisty head" (that cute little head tilt) better than anyone. He KNEW he had us wrapped around his paw. He used it to his advantage. Neither of us had a spine when it came to our Romeo.
After he ate breakfast or dinner, he always came to where we were, would sit down in front of us and burp. Rob would tell him that the burp was fabulous and Romeo would wiggle with great satisfaction!
That wiggle, we called it the "Happy Dance of Joy" and we got it every time we walked in the door. EVERY time. I loved it when I got home from work and Rob or Reese would yell, "Romeo, Mommy's home!" and my sweet little guy would come running (in the later days is was a much slower response, but with no less enthusiasm). He would wiggle and squirm and whine as I petted him and hugged him. It was the greatest feeling to get such a special welcome home. I will miss that so very much.
One of the sweetest things that Rob did for me on Romeo's last day was to record a short video of him. Romeo was laying on the floor, and Rob said to him, "Romeo. Do you want to go see Mommy?" and he perked up and got animated, looking all around for me. Even on his last day, as bad as he felt, he still got excited to see me.
He had a fan club. I don't think there was a single person that met him that didn't like him. Earl and Nita were two of his favorite people. He would stay with them when we went on vacation. They spoiled him like crazy. Nita would sleep in the living room on the couch so that he wouldn't be alone. She couldn't let him sleep in her room because of the lovebird they had; she feared that Peaches would terrorize him, so the bird stayed locked up and Romeo ran the house. When he lost his vision, she would put up baby gates all over the house so he would not fall and get injured. There were times that Nita would call and ask if we had someplace to go so she could keep Romeo for us. We had to allow a weekend visit every now and again, they just loved him so much. Nita called him Baby Dog and Earl called him Bitty Buddy. They cried with us and for us. They miss him too.
Speaking of nicknames; he had many. Pork Rind, Fuzzy Butt, Furry-Little-Black-Fellow, Shwoopy Butt, Shwoopness, Romeno, Gomeo, Montague, Monty, Romester, Romy, and more that I can't even recall. He answered to them all.
And so, Romeo, as hard as it was to see you go, I am grateful that I was allowed to hold you as you took your last breath and as your heart beat slowed to a stop. My sweet, sweet boy. You touched so many lives in such a wonderful way. Oh, how I love you. I miss you so very, very much. Life will never be the same without you.
Love Aways and Forever,
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