As a young pup he was diagnosed with Parvovirus, also known as heart worm. This disease is very contagious and often fatal in dogs.
Just a few days after the excitement of getting a new puppy, we were faced with sending him to the vet. He would go on to stay there for one week, and to our delight, miraculously recover.
Oscar loved going on walks. Seeing one of us grab the leash from on top of the fridge always sent him into a frenzy. I remember hearing his nails click on the kitchen linoleum as he sprinted laps around the house with anticipation of getting to go outside, smell the smells and pee on everything in sight.
His other favorite thing was going on car rides. They always made him very nervous, probably from his early memories of car rides to the vet. Despite the nerves that came with the trip, he would always be super excited to press his wet nose against the vent. He also went on several road trips with us — usually to Iowa for the Christmas holiday.
Oscar was spoiled. Like most house dogs, he liked to sleep, a lot! When he wasn’t begging for table scraps he was sleeping in his doggy bed or curled up in a warm blanket on the couch. He was never left outside for long periods of time, unless he wanted to be.
During the summer months Oscar looked forward to “sun bathing.” This is the term my family assigned to describe his habit of laying out on the deck in the areas where the sun shined down most intensely. Summer was always his favorite season because he could soak up the sunshine and spend quality time in nature.
Oscar loved us all but he definitely had some favorites.
He adored my mom because she always played with him the most and would take care of his every need. Mom was always so happy to see Oscar. After returning home from work, church or running errands, she would shrill, “O-s-c-a-rrrrr! We’re home!” — and he would come running from his slumber.
The other human he was most fond of was my uncle, Kelly.
During our long summer vacations, Kelly would dog-sit for Oscar. Some of his wildest adventures came during these getaways. I don’t mean to make Oscar sound like a killer, but a few times he got loose and attacked little animals. I can’t remember the specifics now, but I know he got ahold of a little bunny once and I want to say he snagged a bird here and there.
In his later days, Oscar received a winter sweater with the word “Loyal” embroidered on the back — indeed a great description. He didn’t seem to mind this sweater, but when he was younger he hated wearing clothes.
We got him a Christmas sweater as a present one year. After we finally got him wiggled into it, he just stood there. He refused to move. You could tip him over and he wouldn’t care. He hated being confined and proved it by protesting not to move.
There truly are thousands of memories I have with Oscar. He was a joy (and sometimes a burden) throughout my childhood and into early adulthood.
Dogs die every day. People die ever day. The world will go on and we can confide in the fact that he lived a long and joyous life.
His health became increasingly worse in his last year of life. We are especially glad that he was able to leave on our terms and that he is no longer in pain.
Oscar made such an impact on my life. There is something to say about the loss of not just your first pet, but your first dog. Myself and my family members will miss him dearly.
I’m sure there will be other dogs in my future but none will shadow the love I had for Oscar. Rest in peace, my vertically challenged friend. I know there will be unlimited snausages where you’re heading and that the sun will always shine on your back.