Mugsy and Mr. Bigglesworth
Lately Gav has been asking for “….a real-life Bo….for Real’s Dad!”
Gavin has a special stuffed animal that he has been inseparable from since he was 2. It’s a Siberian Husky looking thing named Bo. He used to grab it by the sides of its face and bite its nose. It was super cute but he would bite with such intensity that he was literally tearing the nose off. Annette would sew it up whenever possible and…well…when it got beyond repair, we would slip in a replacement while he slept. At one point, we had 2 or 3 “Replacement Bo’s” on deck, just in case.
Lately Gav has been asking for “….a real-life Bo….for Real’s Dad!”
I have been hesitating to fulfill that wish for him. I keep making excuses. “He’s too young” or “we’re too busy”. It’s not because I don’t like dogs, I love them. The truth is that for me, pets are not like family, they are family! I’m just not emotionally ready for a pet, again.
See, I had the world’s greatest dogs when I was in my early 20’s, “Mugsy” and “Biggie”. These fur-babies were like children to me as silly as that sounds to some—it’s true. Before I became a father and realized there is no love more powerful than the unconditional love we have for our children. I felt that strongly for those dogs.
First I got Mugsy. She was only 5 weeks old. She had a red nose with an almost burnt orange colored coat and a white muzzle, chest and paws. She was such a sweetheart. If you even looked in her direction, her tail would start wagging and her entire body would soon follow and before you knew what hit you, she was in your lap and licking your face. Her nick-name was “Maugui” because if you talked to her she would talk back and sounded just like Gizmo from the movie Gremlins.
When she got a little older, I got another puppy so she had a pal. I brought him home at 5 weeks also. His actual name was Soldier but he grew so fast and became a giant so we started calling him Big Boy or any variation with the word “Big” in it. That morphed into Mr. Bigglesworth and ultimately shortened to “Biggie”, or “Big”. He had these translucent, yellowish-green eyes like a tiger. His head measured about 21 inches around with a mouth that opened wide like an alligator when he smiled or yawned.
As pups, they both slept at the foot of my bed—at least until I fell asleep. Then they would sneak up and nestle into me neck or the small of my back. As they got bigger they would take over my bed and I would end up curled into the corner while they were stretched out. They would even steal my pillow!
Mugsy was manipulative and extremely intelligent. At the same time, she was very sensitive. I had this chair that I always sat in and she would sit in my lap. She claimed that chair as hers and if anybody tried to sit in it, she would wedge herself between them and the back of the chair so she could push them out. I made her get down for company one time and it hurt her feelings to the point that she laid in the corner and turned her head away from me and just pouted like a child. I called her name and she ignored me.
Barney, my roommate at the time, and I started laughing that she was expressing human emotion. I called her again and it took everything she had not to jump up and run over to me with an onslaught of kisses. I started changing my tone and speaking to her in our special language. Her butt and tail started wiggling but she remained in place and refused to look at me. Finally, after a few more enthusiastic calls, Mugs lost control and jumped up into my lap and licked me all over the face.
They were the best and most loving dogs I could have asked for and I was extremely attached to them. Which is why I’m not ready for another pet. Loving them is a guarantee that we will one day be dealing with loss and sadness.
The more you love, the more it hurts.
Mugsy was about 7 at the time. I was at work and when I came home to let the dogs out, she was missing. We searched til nightfall and, nothing. My brother and I went to every dog shelter in the greater Sacramento area. Still, not a sign of her.
That next morning my roommate Jason breaks the news to me.
He found Mugs on the side of the road, not far from home. She must have gotten out and chased something down to the road and got hit by a car.
I was devastated…
Jason helped me burry her. We were both holding back tears but the toil of manual labor helped focus and keep our composure. We carefully lowered my little Maugui down into her final resting place. She looked like she was sleeping. Jason gave me a few minutes with her. I got down on my knees and just put my hand on her.
All I could say was “…Mugs, I’m so sorry baby girl…” and then my emotions got the best of me.
Mugsy was gone but I still had Biggles. He comforted me. He was not smart like Mugs, more of a big, dumb sweetheart always walking around with a giant smile. But he was so loving and sensitive that he could have been a therapy dog.
One time Annette was really upset with me and she was crying. She was sitting on the edge of the bed. Biggie got up and walked over and put his giant alligator head on her lap and leaned into her looking up at her with his sweetest, most affectionate gaze.
Now keep in mind, Annette isn’t much of an animal person. She doesn’t dislike them, she’s just indifferent. So, Biggie didn’t typically pester her for attention like he did everybody else. But this time was different—he wouldn’t leave her alone!
Annette wasn’t in the mood for it and tried to get him to go lay down. She finally said, “Biggie go lay down!” and tried to pry him off her lap. He wouldn’t budge.
I started laughing and I said, “He’s not going to leave you alone until you cheer up. You have to pet him and love on him and when he knows you’re okay, he’ll go lay down on his own.”
She started petting him just to try and get him to leave her alone. But there’s just something magical about our pets, especially when they’re family. As she petted him, he just kept looking up at her lovingly. Soon the petting turned into massaging his ears and hugging on him—giving him some love.
Annette’s tears quickly turned into laughter and she said affectionately, “dumb Biggie” because she realized he had captured her heart.
After I lost Mugsy, I was painfully aware that one day I would lose my Biggles too but I just pretended that day would never come. Unfortunately, father time is an evil bastard! Biggie was just about 15. You could say he was a tad long in the tooth except that he was missing most of them. His beautiful coat had turned grey and he had lost a step or two.
One morning I woke up to let him outside and he wouldn’t follow me. I called him and he wagged his tail but wouldn’t get up. He wouldn’t eat and hardly drank any water. I finally got him up to go outside and he started walking like he was drunk and couldn’t support his own weight. He kept falling and I realized something was seriously wrong.
Annette could see the panic in my eyes and hear it in my voice, “We have to take him to the vet now!”
His belly and torso were so swollen and full it looked like he swallowed a beach ball and he was very tender to the touch. Normally he could feel no pain. It was almost impossible to pick him up and put him in the car without him wincing.
The vet took one look at him and said, “oh that’s not good”. She took him back to run some tests. Then she came back out and gave me some options—none of which were good. Turns out his spleen had ruptured. A decision had to be made. They could perform a surgery but his quality of life would be extremely poor and he likely wouldn’t recover—if he survived at all. Then she gave me my other choice and said the words that I was trying to avoid.
“The humane thing to do is……”
I went into the exam room and there was Biggles just laying sprawled out on the cold metal table. He was very relaxed as the nurse had given him pain killers. She gave us a few minutes with him to say our goodbyes. Annette and I just lavished him with affection and massaged his ears.
Then came the ominous, cold knock at the door and the vet poked her head in. She said it was time to start the procedure. I got down and put myself nose to nose with Biggie. I kept massaging his ears as we stared into each other’s eyes. I was surprisingly able to hold back my tears—at least momentarily.
I barely heard the vet say, “OK I’m injecting him now…”. I ignored her the best I could and Big and I just kept staring at each other.
He closed his eyes and I kept petting him as his life faded away. It sounded like she was in the distance, “Okay he’s gone now…”.. I didn’t budge at first. Annette had her hands on my shoulders was comforting me and we were both crying. The vet said again, “OK guys, he’s gone now..”
It comforts me to know that I was the last thing he saw, heard, and felt as he exhaled his final breath. I know he was at peace.
So, that’s been my hesitation in getting Gavin a dog. I’m just afraid that I will get too attached. But it’s selfish to make this about me. Every boy deserves to have a Mugsy, or a Mr. Bigglesworth to grow up with.
I can’t deprive him of this experience. After all, I had one of each. We don’t have our sights set on one yet but rest assured, we will have a new member of the Reese Family soon.
Gavin shall have his “Real-Life-Bo”!
Chris Reese is the co-creator of ‘The Value-Driven Approach: A practical guide to protect yourself from REAL ESTATE GREED & bank and extra $30,000 by THINKING like the great Warren Buffett.’ He is a licensed agent with Reese Realty and a local entrepreneur as well. For a free copy of his book visit: www.SendMeYourBook.com
Chris Also publishes The Reese Report, a print only newsletter. To receive your copy free, every month visit: www.TheReeseReport.com