My constant companion, my little Boy, my JuneBoy, came home to us in month of June, so we decided to name him “JuneBoy.” He was an amazing little boy, a kind treasured family member. Over time, he earned quite a few nick names; I called him my little boy, my spoiled little, rotten fish, my honey bunch, my sugarplum, mama’s little boy, mama’s boy, mama doll, and baby doll.
My husband called him mama’s boy, because JuneBoy never took a liking to much anyone else, unless he got to see them often, learned to trust them, and knew that they were family. It took my husband a couple of years before JuneBoy would allow him to pick him up without having to run around and corner him.
He became part of our family when he was only one-year-old. We adopted him to keep our other dog Ben company, as he seemed lonely and bored at times. I asked around town in hopes of finding a small breed dog for companionship for Ben, who is a small breed dog. It seems like yesterday; I remember vividly that beautiful day that I had set up an appointment with a woman who worked with the local vet, who said she had a little dog that she needed a good home. We brought our dog Ben to meet the little dog to see if they would interact well and it was easy to see that they would get along. We brought him home with us and unsure what to call him, we finally arrived at JuneBoy, and he responded to our calls within a very short time. He was named Junior by his previous master, but my husband and I did not want such a fine young red miniature pinscher to be called Junior, but we didn’t want him to have an entirely new name so we decided on JuneBoy. He was such a funny, bright, amusing little boy that the name seemed to fit nicely.
JuneBoy quickly bonded with Ben, as it was love at first sight. He didn’t seem to know about walking outside or on the grass, and it occurred to us that his entire life to that point was spent in a kennel. So his big bro, Ben had to teach him how to sniff around in the grass, explore, when to eat, when to go outside in the morning and do all the things that were part of their inherent nature. He learned quickly and only made demands at mealtime. He gradually got to doing on his own in time.
JuneBoy and Ben were inseparable and did many things together. Their Da, (Ben and JuneBoy knew their dad as Da) termed “two peas in a pod,” as they were always together, walking side by side, sleeping, walking around the yard, and basking in the sunshine, and ate together. JuneBoy had a way he’d run around the inside of the living room when he was playing with his brother and trying for him not to catch him, he would suddenly stop in a corner with his paws all set firmly on the floor and head tilted looking up in a stance as to say “any second now I’m going to get you Bro.” It was truly fun to watch him play.
He was very smart, had a large vocabulary, and knew that language had meaning and not only did humans talk, but he also learned a set of vocal expressions that we understood. JuneBoy and I carried on our own little private conversations and it was like conversing with a preschooler. He grew to knowing the sentences and words I taught him over a very short time. He seemed to be in tune with my every word to him on a personal level, especially the ones that he truly knew the meaning of he would tilt both his ears as to indicate he understood what I was saying to him. I used to tell his Da that JuneBoy is a human child disguise as a dog.
JuneBoy came into our lives and in retrospect, he created a small knit family like atmosphere with lots of joy, laughter and togetherness, playfulness, noise and family time. It seems now with his physical absence, that the house is no longer the same home that it used to be, as we lost what was our center and what kept us together as a family. It seems now in his absence our home has fallen silent.
He was the “talker” of our home, the one that alerted us that someone or something (squirrels or cats) or other pet owners walking their four legged friends along the trail across the creek from our back yard. JuneBoy would keep talking until one of us would check with him and assure him that we were all safe and thank him for warning us and that he could stop barking, as he was such a fine guard dog. was near, whether it was another four legged animals, a squirrel, or people with their four legged friends walking by at the trail at the back yard. JuneBoy kept talking until I would get out or Da; it was important that we let him know that we saw what he was telling us about and that it was ok. Then he could stop talking.
JuneBoy was my constant companion, as I have a home office and am always at home. Wherever I was in the house, you could find my little boy. At my desk I’d have his chair next to mine and in the living room he also had his spot next to me. The entire house was his to lay and wonder around where he pleased. When I’d sit on evenings to watch a little TV, (Da once again coined the term family time) he would be sitting right next to me.
Most of the time he ended up on my lap and was quite content with that and even if I had to get up a million and one times, he’d never get upset. He was always ready for me to sit back down so he could sit with me. When it was time for bed (we called it seepy time) I’d just say those words, and he knew what we were going to do next. One of his nightly chores was to put his big bro to bed. I’d just have to say let’s go put brother to bed and he’d run enthusiastically to his brother’s room. I’d pick his big bro up and put him on the bed, because he could no longer jump up on the bed. It was during that time that my little JuneBoy would be jumping on the bed to sleep next to his big bro. Quite often at bedtime I would roll him over on his back with all four of his feet up and I’d be kissing and rolling him over side to side. It was like playing with a child. I made funny sounds that he just loved, and he responded with his own funny sounds, and he took it all in, as if saying “it’s all my time Bro” and with that final bit of playfulness he knew that it was time for him and big brother to call it a day.
Once I was done he would roll over back and get his spot next to his big bro till he fell asleep or until JuneBoy thought it was time to get back to his mama. JuneBoy had his own little bed, which was on my bed, so we both slept on the same bed, but it was just there for whenever he needed it, since he would a lot of the time come to me at night time and scratch the sheets to let me know that he wanted under the sheet with me, so he’d usually be next to my hip, or right next to my neck.
If he got up at night time to go outside and he wanted back on the bed, he’d come to my side of the bed and scratch the floor to tell me that he’s back and wanted back on the bed. He did have his stepper stairs, however, he didn’t like to use them unless there was light at night. He preferred that I pick him up, but other times he’d go up and down when he wanted.
JuneBoy was a nature lover, he’d be in and out the doggie door during the day, out in the backyard basking in the sunshine and listening to the birds, watching the squirrels and people walk by next to the creek and trail which was at the very back of our home. The trail and its walkers and dogs kept him entertained.
He enjoyed going for drives in the car and even though I had his spot in the back seat at some point during our drive he’d be tucked away safely by my left side of the driver’s seat window, looking outside with his head firmly on the door. He looked outside and took in the sights and closely observed everything we passed by. He loved adventures, no matter where it was, as long as I was there it was all good. If I went to take a shower, I’d look out and he would be outside the door sitting and waiting for me. And, if I went out
and did not get back on time for his dinner, he’d be at the gate watching and waiting for me, and when I got in he’d be telling me off.
If he wanted to go out to the front door to the main road for a walk, he’d stand next to the door and talk until his Da got there with his leash to take him out. It was something that his Da developed just for both of them to enjoy a little walk and stroll outside.
He had such a pleasant disposition and personality that whenever he appeared things would come alive there in the room with you, whether in the back yard or house it would become animated, because he was there. He was a very high energy little boy all day, but just around 7 p.m. or so, he’d get ready to call it a day, and rightly so, since he was always on patrol thinking his job was to protect his home and his mama. All the birds, and squirrels knew him and knew that he was “a hoot” and no treat to anyone, just a noisy little watchdog.
He was constantly on the move, and seldom laid around, except little at a time to get a little shut eye, but mostly in and out of the doggie door, and to see what I was up to and what was going on. He loved conversations, and when Da and I were talking or discussing something he liked to be held, head high so he could hear every word, in our conversations we would often interject “JuneBoy is such a fine boy” and his eyes would light up.
I kept both my boys’ teeth clean on a nearly daily basis by brushing after dinner, but this year on January 19th, I took both of them in to get their yearly dental cleaning. As always, whenever this day arrives I would worry about how it went at the vet and when I could bring them home.
Sadly, on this day I went to get them and the vet asked me if JuneBoy had any issues with diarrhea before arriving. He had not, but the illness presented itself suddenly. Unfortunately, it continued, despite my thinking that he would get well again. I was diligent about feeding him the right food and providing him with the best care. He was still ill after about a week and a half, so the vet tech suggested a digestive food and a wait and see approach. Even with the new food, the problem persisted.
The vet did some lab work and found that JuneBoy had pancreatitis, which was not that serious, as it was in the early stages, so should bring him back next week to follow-up. All three doctors saw him at that clinic, and no one thought of doing any other tests, or even re-doing tests. Then finally they said that we can give him IV fluids since he wasn’t eating and they kept him overnight. He still had the same problems, was losing weight. We brought him in often for IV fluids, but after five weeks, there was still no change.
I decided to do something else, as nothing was working, so I located a dog internist specialist. JuneBoy then saw the specialist on February 26th, and the diagnosis was Inflammatory bowel disease, a much more serious autoimmune disease. He then started on new antibiotics, and anti-immune medications. When, after a couple of weeks he was not improving, he was hospitalized overnight for meds and IVs. The illness was unrelenting and he had to take more and more medications, along with IV fluids again. I will never forget during that evening when they said it was okay for me to come and visit him since they were keeping him overnight.
He was in the kennel with the IV in his neck and blue bandage around it; he looked so sad. I talked with him for a fleeting moment, because it was too painful for me to look at him. It was then that I turned around and said will be back later, as I always did at home when I’d go out. He called out to me and it
sounded like he was saying “ma” as if to say please, I don’t want to stay here, I want to come home with you.
As I walked away I felt a deep sorrow within, but he had to stay the night for the fluids and for observation. In retrospect, I wish I had turned around and asked the specialist to remove the IV from his neck and discharge him, so I could take him home with me. On a couple occasions as I visited with the specialist, we talked about my little boy and I’d say how brave and strong he was, and how accepting of everything he was, as if he knew that his mama was trying everything to make him better. His specialist said JuneBoy told him that he wanted to live and I always wanted to ask him how he said it, but never did.
Several days later, the specialist called to say that JuneBoy was okay to place a percutaneous tube directly to his stomach since his edema was resolved and had lost half of his weight. It was critical for us to give him nutrients and the vet was very optimistic about it, so it made me feel good about it also, in retrospect little did I know that would be the beginning of the end of my little boy.
Once again, JuneBoy was back at the specialist’s office; by the evening, the specialist called to say that all went well. The specialist seemed really over the top, and said he was “so happy with myself.” I said, well doctor that sounds good then!” I wish now that I had asked him if it was due to the success in the surgery or was it all good for my little boy, as I know what the surgery meant for my little boy. It made me feel more hopeful and that this was it, this was going to help my little boy get nourishment, give him strength, stop the weight loss while the anti-immune medicine did its work, and give his gastrointestinal tract some relief. The next day we were told that to come a little after lunch time to get him since he would have had two feedings. They wanted to be sure that he reacted well to the feeding.
Apparently it went well, so we were expecting to speak with the doctor as we had before, however, that day of all the days, we never did. Instead, the vet tech showed up with our little boy in his small doggie bed with the stomach tube. From the moment that I laid eyes on my little boy, I could tell a major difference from the day before. He looked weaker and very frail. JuneBoy moved very little, and did not show how happy he was to see me. We left for home with our little boy and instructions for his care.
All seemingly went well with our new situation of feeding through the feeding tube. From Thursday evening until Saturday evening, while I was feeding him his dinner and last meal before bed, I noticed that the feeding tube wasn’t flushing as it should. I decided that I didn’t want to go through the night without knowing he was okay, so I went to the emergency room to be sure that all was as it should be. Little did I know that what I was about to hear from that night’s presenting emergency room doctor. In no uncertain terms she said she wanted to make sure that I was hearing her, so she was very stern as she went on to tell me about the state of my little JuneBoy, and gave me three options.
The only option from the vet that was acceptable was the last one. Since I didn’t go there for what she suggested I should do that night, I came home knowing that it might be the last night with my little boy. I was hoping and praying for a sign or a miracle that would make my JuneBoy well again, and I was vigilant throughout the night cleaning him and keeping him comfortable. At one point my little JuneBoy drag his upper body so he could get his head to lay on the left side of my chest. We stayed that way until later on in the morning when I put him into his own little bed, thinking he’d be more comfortable there while I got a little shut eye. We spent our last hours together and early in the morning, there was still no sign of improvement. My little JuneBoy could barely move his head or recognize my voice and I knew that was my sign to do as the doctor suggested, in no uncertain terms.
As I picked up my little boy, nothing leading up to this moment had prepared me, as I knew then it was my last moment with my dear constant companion who has been at my side for the last nine years. When I walked to the living room to tell his Da, I was barely able to utter the words that it is time. Tears were flowing uncontrollably as I held my little boy. We drove once again to the emergency room and early on that Sunday morning, we both said our goodbyes. I stood there with my little boy, his eyes firmly gazing towards me, not truly knowing if he was really seeing me, but knowing that we were sharing out last moment together on this earth.
I know my little mama doll is in the heaven above, where he’s well, has lots of friends, is running and playing, leading his pals, and telling them what to do and when. He is just passing time and waiting for me at the rainbow bridge. We will meet again.
JuneBoy, you will always be my little baby doll, mama’s good little boy, and in my heart and soul forever and every fiber of my being. My whole world changed when you became a part of our family. Now, my world has changed again. It will never be the same without you. I know you are in a better place, with your friends and waiting for me. We will meet again and we will be together forever. I think of you my little boy, each and every day and miss you more than words can say. I love you my little baby doll.