I had cats growing up. Lots of them. The first two got fleas even though they weren’t outdoor cats, and we had to give them up shortly thereafter. I can’t say I remember their names, as I was probably five years old at most. After my parents divorced, my dad started dating a woman who’s now my step-mom. She had two cats — Key-Key, an old, grey man and Gabriel, a multicolored furball my brother and I chased all over the house without fail — and a Collie named Angel. Angel wasn’t my dog, per se, but she was the first dog I spent a “regular” amount of time with.
Years later, after my dad and step-mom were married, they adopted an orange Lab named Duncan. He was loyal, affectionate and quiet, and even though my parents adored him, he was never my dog, either. Duncan died of an aneurysm and my parents were heartbroken. I got it, but I didn’t get it. I mean, I knew I loved animals and I was sad Duncan passed, but he still wasn’t mine. I just thought of him as a “good dog” who I knew my parents loved. They got another dog, Sam, who they rescued. She was everything Duncan wasn’t: loud, aggressive and kind of a flake. To be fair, though, I kind of blamed my parents. They rarely walked her and refused to give her the run of the house. In fact, Sam was essentially confined to the kitchen, so I couldn’t have been happier to learn that they eventually found a family with a farm to adopt her.
Since then, I haven’t really had a dog. Well, that is until about four months ago, when my girlfriend moved in with her little brown Weiner dog, Oscar. She’d had him for over a decade, and even though she was never sure of his exact age (she found and rescued him, after all), she put him at 11 or 12. I flew to Texas and personally moved her and Oscar here. He spent half of the 25-hour drive in my girlfriend’s lap, and the other half in a cardboard box cut and lined with blankets to act as a makeshift bed. She and Oscar were as close as I’d ever seen an owner with her pet. He followed her everywhere, and because he had a bad back (as a lot of Dachshunds do), he wasn’t allowed to climb or descend the stairs, which meant one of us was always toting the little fella around. It was no bother, though. He loved to be loved. He didn’t bark at people. Hell, he didn’t bark at other dogs. He was loyal and cuddly. At night he slept with us and would borrow under the blankets, a trait common to his breed, apparently. He was just a great little guy.
Well, not long after they moved here, Oscar had to go to the animal hospital for digestive problems, which had been plaguing him since before he moved. Additionally, the doctors not only confirmed that he had a heart murmur, but an enlarged heart. It’s trite, I know, but it didn’t surprise me, because Oscar was all heart. Over the past couple months, Oscar had several episodes of strained breathing, and he started taking various medications to treat both his heart and what became a regular cough. About two weeks ago I was forced to rush the little man to the animal hospital after he fell over and began convulsing. He recovered, but it scared the hell out of me all the same, as I was the only one home when it happened.
This past Saturday, during 4th of July weekend, my girlfriend and I drove out to Pittsburgh, leaving Oscar with my sister. That night we got a call that he wasn’t doing so well, and the next morning my sister drove him back to the hospital. We drove back Sunday morning after we got the call and picked Oscar up. He was with my dad and step-mom at their house. He was listless, but clearly excited to see my girlfriend all the same. We brought him home and did what we could to make him comfortable. We put him in bed with us and even fed him a hot dog. Later that afternoon, though, after watching his labored breathing for hours, he had another fit and let out an awful whimper, a sound we’d neither of us ever heard him make before. He apparently stopped breathing momentarily, and it was enough for us to drive him back to the hospital. We knew beforehand that we weren’t taking him to be examined, but to do the humane thing and let him rest comfortably.
After 30 minutes or so, they took us into a private room where we able to hang out with Oscar, who had been fitted with an IV. The doctors told us to take as long as we wanted, and to let them know when we were ready. My girlfriend gave me the word and we notified the doctor. He came in, explained the procedure, and proceeded to inject Oscar’s IV with a blue fluid. My girlfriend held Oscar in her arms all the while, and within seconds he was gone. It was obviously the worst thing she ever had to do, yet it was the right decision. He needed the peace we couldn’t give him. We both cried, she more than me. And I encourage her to keep doing so, to do whatever she needs.
So, with that, she and I curated a mix for Oscar. He had many names — Oskie, Wein, Little Brown Man, Montgomery “Monty” Wrinkles and, my personal favorite, Merlin Diapers. With that, this is the Mix for Montgomery “Monty” Wrinkles. In locating songs for this mix, we searched our libraries with everything from “dog” to “brown” to “wrinkles” to “weiner.” With any luck, this all pans out pretty well.
Mix for Montgomery “Monty” Wrinkles:
1. Harry Nilsson – “The Puppy Song”
2. Harlem – “Three Legged Dog”
3. Hello Echo – “Animals”
4. The Beta Band – “Dog’s Got a Bone”
5. The Fiery Furnaces – “My Dog Was Lost But Now He’s Found”
6. Sly & the Family Stone – “Dog”
7. Spoon – “The Underdog”
8. The Format – “Dog Problems”
9. Swearing at Motorists – “Dog With the Lampshade Head”
10. Quasi – “Master & Dog”
11. Devendra Banhart – “Dogs They Make Up the Dark”
12. Elliott Smith – “Little One”
13. For Stars – “Brown Skin Saint”
14. Yo La Tengo – “Little Eyes”
15. Wu Lyf – “Such a Sad Puppy Dog”
16. The Mountain Goats – “Song for Dennis Brown”
17. Iron & Wine – “Kingdom of the Animals”
18. Mountain Man – “Animal Tracks”
19. Augie March – “Little Wonder”
20. The Antlers – “Putting the Dog to Sleep”
21. Astrud Gilberto – “The Puppy Song”
RIP, Oscar (Little Brown Man).