Monday, September 30, 2013

Geno 2002-2013

Today we had to put down our beautiful old dog, Geno. He had been slowing down for some time due to his arthritis, and in the last couple of weeks he had a great deal of trouble moving, and had gone off his food. Even this morning's chicken barely tempted him.

Geno was, as a friend put it, one of the dog world's nice guys. He joined our little family in 2002 after we found him wandering the street one stormy night on the way back from getting takeaways. He followed us home, quickly became best mates with Fausto, our other dog, and stayed. Here they are a couple of years later. At this stage, Geno still had all his tail. 

We estimated Geno to be about 6 months old when we got him. He had nicks and cuts on his face and neck and we suspected he had been involved in fights. In fact, like so many so many dogs mistakenly identified as pitbulls, he was a lover not a fighter and we often referred to him as our pitbull school dropout.

Which isn't to say he didn't enjoy a scrap when the opportunity presented itself. One morning he spied another dog walking up the street, bolted out of the house through the cat door (I still have no idea how he managed this) and decided to start a fight with said dog. This resulted in us having to hastily pull on our dressing gowns and race up the road to get him while all the neighbours came out to see what the commotion was about. Another time he slipped his lead at some shops and had a crack at a German Shepherd. I was upset and mortified, more so when a woman with bad teeth and grimy track suit pants said 'Lady, can't you control your dog?' No dear, evidently not. But he was good with people, good with kids and over the years he got less scrappy with other dogs.

Like other lab-mixes, Geno was greedy. His all-time favourite food was duck heads from the Hong Kong BBQ up the main shopping centre. The Asian chap who owned the shop at the time thought it highly entertaining to chuck the dogs a duck head each and watch them get snarfed in seconds. Duck bones are not soft like battery cage-chicken bones but Geno still managed to munch them, including the bill, like popcorn. Many years later, he was still trying to head down the main street of Otahuhu to see if someone would throw him a duck head.

In 2011 Fausto died and shortly afterwards we got Spider. Geno was a great mentor for Spider and they too quickly became best mates. The last two years of his life, getting out and about with Spider, going new places and meeting other dogs were the best of his life. Nevertheless, he was slowing down and he suffered in the cold.

Eventually he slowed down so much he barely had any forward momentum on his walks. He always loved his walks (he seemed to have superior mind control that induced us to take him for walks) and this last week when we have gone out without him, he has just looked sad. A greedy dog that loves his walks, off his food and with arthritis too painful to walk more than a couple of hundred metres? This is no quality of life for your best friend. 

Geno, our beautiful gentle boy, you will be much missed, and not just by us. You are a well-loved Otahuhu icon and others will miss you, too. To paraphrase John Rutter, may the Dog God bless you and keep you. Somewhere warm, with no firecrackers and as many duckheads as you can eat.  
The Last Duckhead
Geno, 29 September 2013