If you know me, you know why I put this off. If you don’t know, you might be able to understand. What little grief has touched my life, I have found to be a personal thing.
Our pitbull, Jigan, of ~13 years of age passed away this past March due to consuming cancer. We were able to take care of things here at home, peacefully.
So here are some pics of his life and some stories.
In Socorro, while I was finishing up my degree, my best good buddy and I plotted about stealing this dog that lived next door to her. He was on a chain all the time except when he broke free every few days. He was under weight and had a vicious scar down his back. We planned what clothes to wear, what tools would be needed, where to park. And then the neighbors decided to move into an apartment and gave us the dog. When we turned him loose in our fenced yard, where he could run free, he ran in circles as fast as he could for ~30 minutes. When we took him off to the vet for shots and neutering, the vet confirmed that yes, indeed, Jigan was a pitbull. I had never seen one without docked ears and tail. M3 found my ignorance amusing.M3 picked Jigan’s name from a bodyguard character from the anime Lupin.
As much as we worked with him, we never got him comfortable with cats. Or rather, we never found a cat brave enough to tolerate the near swallowing that Jigan always used as way of introduction – whether with a human hand or a whole cat. He tried this with our housemate’s cat, Pinky, once. Jigan had scars on his ass for the rest of his life. Pinky was scared dumb, but was unhurt. Jigan was always good with humans, including kids and babies; however, he never fell in love with our other dogs.
In northern NM, Jigan discovered the joys of snow. And of curling up next to the fireplace. He had the living room as his domain – sleeping on the couches, and providing first cleaning to the dinner dishes. As he aged, he started developing anxiety if left alone too long. We even caught him sitting, very gentlemanly, on the dinner table once.We tried a variety of toys with him – stuffed animals were his favorite, but they only lasted 23 seconds. We tried leaving the radio on, the tv on, a simple ticking clock. He started tearing up the carpet and eating the wooden door.
In April 2011, we took him to the Santa Fe Animal Shelter to do a meet and greet with several dogs – basically, to pick out his own companion. We tried several pitbull females, and then some pittbull mixes (male and female). None of them worked. We were almost ready to give up on the idea, and were doing our last walk through to view the dogs. That’s when Casper showed up. He had just been dropped off by the vet and had been in the building for 15 minutes. A big golden retriever/chow mix.
They hit it off, and Casper (now called Tanuki, as he didn’t respond to any name at the time of adoption) was ours to take home, as soon as we took a photo for the animal shelter and filled out lots of paperwork. That was an odd day – all dogs were on sale and my card had been hacked. Luckily, my bank put a hold on it immediately, but I wouldn’t know that until we got the boys home. Tanuki was worth the extra trouble.
In October 2011, Jigan was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer, and with his age, we chose to treat the symptoms as best we could with painkillers until his time was up. He was only expected to last 1-2 months, but he gave us far longer, lasting until March 2012. I believe Tanuki, his cheerful and best bud, was one of the main reasons he hung around. They played, and played hard, often knocking over furniture. They did the ‘who’s mouth is bigger’ game, making enough noise to drown out the tv. It was all good, because Jigan had found happiness in another dog.
RIP, my sweet boy.