This blog is dedicated to my dog, Mona, 2003-2016.
She will always been one of my best friends. It is also dedicated to my dad, who is still alive, and has a special connection with animals. He is one of the people who taught me how precious animals are.
Yesterday while writing this entry, I heard Mona whining. I went to her side and saw she wasn’t doing well. I wanted to write this blog a week ago, because Mona has always been beloved to me. Mona passed on this morning, in the arms of my dad, who was one of her favorite people. She passed knowing she was loved, and that’s the most important thing for me.
The night before last, Mona woke me up again. Whining, pacing around the house, and asking repeatedly to go out of the house even though she promptly wanted to enter again, it was like her days were inside-out. Sometimes I didn’t sleep well because of her behavior.
Mona had been in our family since 2004. She was a year old when my older sister and I adopted her from a shelter. She had puppies, but we only adopted Mona. She was a Chihuahua, Boston Terrier Mix.
Sweet, intelligent, kind, and loyal, she had always been an amazing dog. Mona could do all sorts of tricks that no one taught her. She would run and do flip-rolls over her shoulder, open doors with her paws and nose, and when she was younger, she would do dog “hand stands” on her front paws, and urinate in the air. It was hilarious!
Mona was very sensitive and when a person was hurting, crying, or in distress, she would approach the person and lick their hand. I often told Mona that I wish people were as cool as her. I told her that if people were as awesome as her, the world would be a better place. She was so kind, forgiving, and brought joy to those around her. We had many nicknames for her, many of them related to food because if given the chance Mona would eat almost anything! Mona Balona, like baloney meat, Garbage Eater, Monies, Patitas in Spanish, meaning, Little Legs, and a number of others.
Since around May 2015, Mona began to act very strange. She would sleep all day, and then stay up, whining and dragging her bed around, from place to place for over 45 minutes. This would happen almost every night. Besides that, she started to stare into space in corners of the house or in a random spot, try to pass through a door on the side where the hinges were, or look for me when she’d seen me a moment before. At times she would also become confused while we were on a walk, and take off running, like she was afraid.
Mona lived in several homes, but all within our family, so I knew what her normal behavior was. I knew something was wrong, but at first I doubted myself. Also, we had just moved when the intense behavior started, so I assumed she had a type of anxiety, and needed time to adapt. I believed with time that she would become accustomed to the new home, and her activities would subside.
But it didn’t, and it got worse because her strange episodes became more frequent and lasted longer. Finally, I took her to the veterinarian and he confirmed Mona had Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome, or unofficially, Doggie Dementia. The Vet explained that it is true, that dogs can also get dementia similar to a human, and begin to act very strange. To Mona, her days were inside out, that’s why she slept all day, and stayed up at night.
When I found out, I was both happy and sad. Happy, because it was relieved to know I wasn’t making up what I saw before my eyes, and because it helped me have more patience and compassion for my dog. I had a framework to understand her by. But I was also sad, because Mona was a very good friend of mine, and I didn’t want to see her suffer.
Despite this tough time, Mona still ate, enjoyed walks, and had a good life. It was hard to see my Mona get old.
If your dog behaves in such a manner, and is elderly, it might have this type of disorder. I wanted to share this information so pet owners would know they aren’t alone. It made me sad to see my friend grow old, and have troubles, but at least I know Mona lived a good life with lots of love.
Last night while writing this blog, I sensed Mona was getting ready to go on to the Spirit World. My spouse, sister, and I spent time with her, singing her songs, and telling her how much we loved her and will always love her. My sister told Mona that my dad wanted to see her. This morning, when my dad arrived at the house, he held her in his arms, and that’s when she let go. I do believe that Mona was a true friend until the end, and waited for my dad so she could see him one last time before moving on.
I love Mona with all my heart, and am so grateful that she was in my life. She taught me so much, and gave me so much. She was, and will always be, one of the greatest friends I ever had, and one of my best teachers.
Please enjoy this funny video of Mona rolling around on her back after a bath. She never liked bathes, though she was very tolerant and waited while I scrubbed her down. Afterward, she would run around the house barking and writhing on her back. I always had the feeling that while she barked, she was protesting, telling me, “Why did you do that to me?”