“You’ve been the best boy and I love you.” I’ve whispered that, rather pathetically, into your ear a thousand times over in the last couple of weeks but today, I’m devastated that I only get to let you know that one last time.
Back in October of last year, I was on a work trip and your Mom called me, worried that you seemed off. You’d suddenly developed a left-leaning head tilt with no warning. When I got back, I took you to the Vet and while he was concerned, the initial diagnosis was Vestibular disease, something commonly found in aging dogs. (Sorry to break it to you buddy, but you are an aging dog.) You were prescribed Prednisone and off we went. The medication helped initially but its effect began to wear off and ultimately offered no real benefit for you. I think in my heart of hearts, I knew something more serious was happening.
Mags, You’ve lived 14+ years and, fuck, have you lived a full life. Not only have you lived in two states but you’ve lived in two countries. You’ve marked fire hydrants in Luxembourg, France, Holland, Belgium, Germany, Denmark and Sweden…all while managing to hump your sister’s face (Mia, our other dog, not your human sisters) in each of these countries. This makes you one chic-ass, globetrotting, sister-humping Jack Russell legend.
It’s really painful for me to see your body failing you. You were, for the longest time, a freak athlete. Think Usain Bolt top-end speed, with the “stop-on-a-dime, change of direction” ability of Barry Sanders. We’ve run hundreds of miles together, through all sorts of weather and the only time you ever stopped was when a sudden sleet storm blew through Upper Queen Anne one evening. You flattened yourself on the pavement until I picked you up and put you under my jacket for the mile and a half back to our apartment.
Wanna know something? You were kind of a dick to me when your Mom was pregnant. You used to guard her belly while we were in bed and every time I stood up to go to the bathroom, you’d raise up, emit a low growl and watch me like a psychopath until I came back to my spot in bed. You were not only her protector but you were Malin and Lennon’s protector as well…and this…this is the kind of shit you did that made my heart burst.
Speaking of Malin and Lennon…I wrote one of these letters to Malin about you six years ago. Here’s what I said:
“We’ve had your dog brother, Magnus, since he was 8 weeks old. He’s all Jack Russell, all the time. This means he can be challenging. His brain never shuts off. He’s constantly scheming to find his next sock, cell phone or, in one memorable and horrifying instance, tampon. He lives to run, bound, bark and thieve. If he still had balls (sorry Magnus), he’d wake up every morning, lustily grab them and tell the world he’s King. He LOVES to be alive and is a constant reminder that it’s a privilege to be taking breaths on this Earth. One more thing; Magnus has a heart of pure gold and although you smack him, yank his fur and generally terrorize him, he LOVES you and would defend you until his last breath.”
We laid face to face in bed the other night, right after I’d picked you up from a fall you’d taken. By the way, you’ve been falling because your back legs just aren’t working anymore. We found out it’s because you have a tumor on the left side of your brain. We laid in relative silence, staring at one another while I gave your back legs a massage. This gave way to me becoming an inconsolable mess while you licked away my tears. Thanks for the assist, buddy.
Magnus, you’ve lived the best life and I have LOVED every second with you. It feels so damn cruel to have to say goodbye to you but hanging on would just be selfish at this point.
So… Goodbye, Magnus. You’ve been the best boy and I love you.