When I was a little girl, growing up in a suburb of Los Angeles, there were still farmhouses in my area. Each day, as I walked home from school, I always admired this one house that had “baby foxes” in their gated front yard. I always wondered how the owner was able to keep them in there without running away. One day the owner of the house came out and I asked him about the baby foxes. He had the biggest smile on his face and just said “Oh honey, those aren’t baby foxes. They are dogs called Pomeranians!” That was it! I knew right then I would get a “baby fox” when I grew up.
In December of 2001, I lost my 22 yr old childhood cat. I was ready for my first puppy and the search began. After researching breeders I found a Pomeranian Show Dog by the name of “Reba Red.” Along with her sire, “Windjammer,” that had a litter of 2 girls and my Precious was the runt. I had a 6-hour drive just to meet her on December 23, 2001. Well, it was love at first sight, and worth every minute in Los Angeles holiday traffic. I was so excited… I was actually coming home with my very own baby fox… O.K…. Pomeranian.
I always knew she was a special looking Pomeranian because of her shorter snout and was smaller then most Poms today. It took a while for me to figure out what to name her. I would take her everywhere… and what surprised me most was how many people used the word “precious” to say how cute she was. I thought that could be a good name but too cutesy for my personality. Then I remembered that the dog’s name in “Silence of the Lambs” was also Precious. The decision was made – a cute name with a hidden twist behind it. Being in public with Precious was entertainment in itself. It always made me laugh when people would ask, “is that REAL?” or “is that a STUFFED ANIMAL?” Really, like a grown women would walk around with a fake Pomeranian or stuffed animal. People also thought she was a puppy her whole life, which is why I often called her my “forever puppy.”
Ten fun facts about Precious the Pom, I thought would be interesting to know:
1.) I taught Precious to go potty in a dog litter box because I live in an area that has hawks and coyotes.
2.) I taught her not to jump as a puppy because I learned a Pomeranian can have slipping kneecaps.
3.) I had to teach her to bark. And they say Pomeranians are yappy dogs?
4.) People used to ask what kind of a dog HE is, that’s when I started putting a bow or flower in her hair.
5.) People still ask what kind of a dog HE is… even though SHE has a bow/flower in her hair.
6.) Precious used to fart out loud, just like a human.
7.) I never put clothes on Precious until she was nine, when I realized she had Alopecia.
8.) I started Instagram and Vine as a memorial page for Precious, having no idea what love and support I would find there!
9.) She had a hernia on her butt the size of a super ball. She was definitely cuter from the front then the behind.
10) I was told by the vet two different times “There is nothing more we can do for Precious” before I had to make the ultimate decision and let my girl cross the Rainbow Bridge.
Boy did I learn a lot being Precious’ mommy, I mean owner. Nah, mommy works for me, considering all my kids have fur. You see… Precious had a trait that many Pomeranians have, called a collapsing trachea. She would over-exert herself, causing her breathing to get too rapid, which in turn would cause a seizure. This condition started when she was two. She didn’t have them very often, wouldn’t last very long when she did and she would always come out of them just fine.
I learned that the key was to keep her weight down and make sure she didn’t get too excited or over exert herself. On top of that, later on in her life she suffered from chronic bronchitis, which caused her to cough a lot, stopping her breathing and increasing the amount of seizures she had. The first time I was told “there is nothing more we can do” was November 2012 and I was shocked. She was still such a happy go lucky girl who still loved being with us and still acted normal… well, except the coughing. That’s when I spoke to another vet who saw things differently.
We had to give her lots of medication, which included us giving her breathing treatments every day. We were told that the first vet probably gave us that opinion because most pet owners would not go through the trouble, let alone expense, to medicate their dogs with such breathing problems. Don’t get me wrong, it was tough, but she was committed to me, so how could I not be committed to her?
Unfortunately, in December of 2013 her breathing got so bad and seizures got so frequent that we had to increase her breathing treatments from 1 to 3 times per day. She still seemed to have a seizure every time she fell asleep. I took her to the vet and that’s when I heard it again. Then Precious developed a form of sleep apnea and would stop breathing while she was sleeping. This time there was really nothing more I could do. All I could do was make sure she was comfortable. All I could do was wait like we all do for that look in her eyes. Sad thing is, the day before she became my angel we had a little talk. I sat her down and told her she could leave. I told her I would be okay without her, and Momma’s waiting for you to tell her it’s time to go. Sad but funny and true, she finally listened to me and did what she was told.
Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 4:45am, Precious had a seizure that was so bad she seemed to stop breathing. My husband and I tried to give her mouth-to-mouth using the AeroDawg tube and she seemed to be breathing better, but her body was still extremely tensed up from the seizure. We rushed her to the vet where they gave her meds and administered oxygen, but after 2 hours her oxygen intake hadn’t improved – they think she had an aneurysm (or some type of brain damage) as a result of the prolonged seizure. We decided that it was time that we help ease her pain and let her go. She gave me her answer and we let her go. My husband and I both held onto her as she drifted away. The Vet told us that euthanizing our Pomeranian is not only brave but the ultimate act of love. We took comfort in that thought.
Being any type of pet owner is so tough but so rewarding. I have said it many times before, “it’s been better to have loved and lost then to have never had this love at all.” It’s been worth the pain in my heart for all the unconditional love she brought me during the 12 years I had her. It’s amazing how a little soul in the form of a Pomeranian… can teach us so much about love.
There is not a day that I don’t miss her. I smile when I think of her more than I cry. I have great memories of her, wonderful pictures and videos… so many days I long to hold her again in my arms. Then my friend told me about a company called Cuddle Clones. They make an incredible customized stuffed animal that they create from pictures you provide. I was even able to give them her exact size, coloring and position, and they gave me my very own Precious to hold all over again. I can even dress her up in all of her old clothes and bows. There will never be another Precious, but this sure has made it easier to get through those hard times. Pomeranian.
I never understood what it was like to have a senior dog, let alone a senior Pomeranian. Many times in the past I’ve heard of people spending thousands of dollars on health care for their dogs and didn’t understand how they could possibly justify it, let alone the time and energy it takes when those senior dogs become ill. But Precious has taught me so many lessons, from learning about how to research a dog breed and what questions to ask when adopting them, to what breeds would be appropriate for my lifestyle and what types of health problems are hereditary for what breeds. One of the other extremely important lessons I learned was that there is no such thing as a “teacup.” All breeds have standards sizes because that is what’s healthiest for that breed. Teacups are purposely bred to be smaller and have infinitely more medical issues. The most important lesson of all, was that when you truly love and care about your senior Pomeranian as I did, you will sacrifice anything in your power to help make sure that dog is comfortable, happy and healthy. I truly believe that even though Precious wasn’t a healthy dog, she was one of the happiest dogs I’ve ever known. Thank you Precious for being so “precious”
If you would like to find out more about Cuddle Clones, you can visit their website at www.CuddleClones.com and use the promo code PRECIOUS to receive 10% off your order.