1928 - Alderson High School - 1968



 Saying goodbye to Seiko
Dan Duff

The waiting room of the vet’s office was busy with people and their pets waiting to see the doc. We paid little attention to them as we waited with Seiko in our own little corner.

We had talked to the vet the day before and he had said to bring Seiko in at noon. We tried to keep Seiko under control as we waited, but Seiko did not like going to the vets and was anxious to get out of there. After several minutes of soothing him, he finally laid down on the floor and watched the other people.

It is one thing to have to go to the vets with a pet that is aged with a disease or blindness to be put down, but this was a year and a half old puppy that was full of life with nothing physically wrong with him.

The attendant brought the papers over for us to sign and quickly went away. Soon we were called and took Seiko into the exam room. The air was getting thick and the attendant was no help by asking all the questions over again that had been asked by the vet the day before.

“Do you want to be with him when we do this?” was the last question asked, then deadly silence ensued.

We looked at each other and one said yes and one said no.

I did not want to go in there. I was not handling this well and I would do worse in there. Finally it is agreed not to go into the other room. We were told to wait for a minute. Soon the vet entered. He had treated Seiko before, evaluated him and knew the dog well. Seiko seemed to recognize him too and was beginning to squirm to get out of there. The attendant and the vet looked at the paperwork and then left to give us a minute to say goodbye to Seiko. What could we say, what could we do at this point. Our hearts were screaming to take the dog and run, but our heads told us we could not back out.

It seems only a few weeks ago I saw the neighbors with a new puppy as I drove into my driveway. I thought to myself, that’s what they need over there. They have a three bedroom house and they already have four children and three dogs. They need another dog like another hole in the head. I made mention of this when I went into the house. My grandsons already knew the history of the puppy. The neighbors found him wandering along the main thoroughfare and had brought him home for fear he would be killed if they did not rescue him.

A few nights later as I sat watching TV, the neighbors wife knocked on the door and asked if we would like to have a puppy. I had promised the boys I would let them have a puppy once the back yard was fenced. That had been done for a couple of weeks, so there was no excuse for not getting a puppy. The boys and Gram all chimed in and said “please. please, double dare please” and with all of them looking at me with anxious eyes I said yes. “But,” I stated, “I will only have a consulting position as far as the dog is concerned. You will feed him and bathe him and take care of him and he will be your dog, right? “

“Right.” Came back in unison.

When the pup was brought in, we were told that the neighbors had given him a flea bath because he was absolutely covered with them, but we should take him to the vets to make sure he didn’t have worms or distemper. OK, we agreed and with that a new puppy joined the household.

The big excitement came with the name. What do we call this little golden ball of fur that weighted four and a half pounds. A dozen names were tossed out, but someone shouted out Seiko. “Seiko the watch-dog.” So the new appetite in the house now had a name. Everyone was in agreement. We then set out for Wal-mart to get food and toys and the most important item of all the “children’s safety gate” to keep the mess contained in the laundry area and kitchen. I could foresee a lot of unappetizing moments in the kitchen until we had him house trained.

The next day we took Seiko to the vets for his first visit and found he had every worm known to dogdom, the vet clinic and then some. We had to give his name to the sign in girl and when we said Seiko, she didn’t even blink.

“That's a nice name” she said, “We had one the other day that was named “Rolex”.

“Was he an expensive breed?” I asked.

He was given more shots than he had places to put them and we came out of there with a bag of drugs and a bill that put stretch marks on our charge card.

The biggest surprise to us all was that Seiko was already house broken. Except for once the first day when we did a doodle in the dining area, because we didn’t read what the dog was trying to tell us, he never made another mess in the house. There was a long period when we still kept him in the kitchen and laundry area, but he would whine when he needed to go out. I did not appreciate the every two hours during the night nor that I was the only one who would get up with him and take him outside. He soon got into a regiment and almost by clockwork we could tell when he had to go out. Soon came the day about four weeks later when we took the gate down. This was a real test for that dog and me. If he was going to be trouble this would be the time. However, my fears were laid to rest the first night when Seiko came to me and nudged my hand to wake me up so he could go out.

The trauma of his early days came back when we took him out for walks. If he saw or heard a car he would turn to home and drag you back to the house. The other problem was with people coming to the house. He was either growling at them or trying to climb all over them. So we called about some training. After making some calls and getting some very shocking costs we decided to take him to Pet-Smart, who offered a one on one class that was reasonable, well reasonable according to the suggested price of some of the other schools, and the girl gave us an hour every week of tips for training. We worked hard and soon found that the dog had us trained to do just about anything he wanted. We trained on leash and off leash and sometimes I just refused to wear the leash.

He was easy to train to do things, especially if there were treats. He would sit and stay, he would come and he would shake hands if you wanted. There were some treat he loved so well that if he saw you had one for him, he would sit and put out his paw for a shake before you even asked.

The operation was a success, as recommended by the vets on the first visit, we took him back for the neutering process. He groped around for a few days, but finally seemed his old self once again. Soon after his operation we had the family visit at Thanksgiving and Seiko was beside himself with all the children and grown ups running through the house. He had growled at one of the boys and we took this as maybe the boy had teased him. The next morning the first sign of real trouble struck when “Gram” tried to make friends with one of the grand-children and Seiko. For no reason and without warning the dog bit the boy in the face.

The dog was locked up immediately and the animal control was called to come get the him. The animal shelter called the next day and after finding out that he had just had an operation which changes the animals hormones, declared the dog of good character and suggested we come an get him and just keep him away from crowds for a while. We took an extra precaution and had the vet keep the dog until after all the crowd left.

David Shields, dubbed him “the shadowless dog”. He swears that some fellow 58er classmates known as “the witches” had brought this dog around and he was the cause of all the problems the everyone was having. After looking at Seiko, who was now about half grown, I noticed he did resemble a “dingo”. I said the reason he was a shadowless dog was because he was a dingo from Australia and that would mean since the dog was from down under, the shadow came from under him instead of from above. Soon Shields was asking the shadowless dog to give him odds on favorites for the Saturday football games. Dave was soon taking his valuables to the local pawn shop to make expenses. Dave finally caught on and began taking the team the dog said would loose and soon he was getting some of his money back.

The second big problem came when our son and daughter in law came over to inform us of her finally conceiving. When they came in we immediately put Seiko in the bedroom because they had brought Deanna’s mom and dad with them. We did not know it, but they had not told anyone until that moment and of course the shouting and hoopla and dancing and all that sort of stuff would have made the dog crazy anyway. After some time and when there was calm once again, we let the dog out. He was OK after getting to know everyone again and then settled next to our son’s mother in law. She was petting him and was starting to give him a kiss, when he nailed her right in the face. Well, after spending the rest of the night in the emergency room at the hospital, we agreed we had to do something about Seiko.

After a week of searching for someone who was interested in a shadowless dog, and after he nailed my wife’s niece, we called the vet. It was agreed that giving Seiko to someone else was just passing on the problem to someone else and it was decided the Chow in Seiko would get worse as time goes by.

When we take pets into our home, they do become family, no matter how much we try to make them just a pet. There are bonds that are made even when one side or the other breaks theirs. Seiko had become part of the family, but he had committed unpardonable sins. We were good to Seiko and Seiko was good to us. We continue to ask the question, “why with so many good qualities and so much smarts did he have to be a biter?”

The vet came out and told us it was all over. As with man, it takes a lot to get to really know someone. As we grow older we find that our whole life has been a series of hellos and good-byes. Some have been easy and some have been extremely hard. As we grow older we find the hellos are more dear than ever and the good-byes more painful. Maybe its because the older we get the good-byes seem more final and more absolute. As we left the vets office I thought of the mortality of Seiko and how that morning he was scampering after a Frisbee and this afternoon he was gone. And so are we.