Some days, I miss Get Low more than others. It’s been two years and as time has passed, I don’t think of him every day. Spring has sprung though, and I was able to bring life back to his memorial garden. Cody and Presleigh watch me, fascinated by the meticulous poking and prodding of plants and soil, the positioning of the statue just right, cleaning of the stone with his name. Neither of them knew Get Low, but they know that there is some sort of odd obsession between me and this spot in the yard.
“I’m going to get you some more flowers in a few weeks, thought this was a good starting point.”
A cat inside the house knew Get Low and loved him, though she may never admit it. If you’ve ever seen a cat give a scowling look because somebody in the room is an idiot, then you’ve seen the look she’d frequently give Get Low. Shamooki being the hell cat that she is, who loves no one, needs no one, and everyone is a moron compared to her genius, has always had a hard time letting her feelings show. Dogs didn’t deserve her attention.
And then, Get Low’s health problems became worse.
Suddenly, Shamooki became that constant for Get Low. She was there to comfort him when I was at work. She could always sense subtle changes in how he felt. If she was suddenly inseparable from him only allowing herself trips to the litterbox, water bowl or food bowl, he was about to have an episode of some sort.
When I found Get Low, he was a seven month old puppy. I was taking trash to the dumpster when out of nowhere I recieved a goosing. He wore a red collar and looked to be in good body weight. Surely, someone was missing their crazy dog. I put up flyers, I called radio stations, but there was nothing. After a few days, I did the right thing. I got him vaccinated and took him to the pound where I was confident his parents would be looking for him. My dog at the time, Elvis, sighed with relief. Thank goodness that character was out of our life! Fourteen days later, I called on ‘the day’ to make sure his rightful owners had claimed him. The voice on the phone said, ‘No, he’s still here. And we are really full.’ I knew darn well what they were hinting to me. I asked for them to hold on to him until I could get there to pick him up. Elvis sighed again, not of relief this time. He knew he’d spend the rest of his days watching this dog tear up everything he could get his mouth around. He knew that he would be tormented by this youngster who lacked manners and any means of self control.
*From left to right, Get Low, Tucker (the lunatic cousin) and Elvis, sporting his usual ‘Dear God get me away from these damn dogs’ look.
Five years later, Shamooki came into our lives. At five months old she was already a sass pot that wasn’t getting any better when it came to the subject of behavior. She belonged to a coworker who had took Shamooki in when she was a wee little weak orphan. No one could have seen what was coming next, that helpless little ball of fur was a killing machine. As adults, we can take certain evil actions, but when the cat starts treating the children like prey … decisions have to be made. Shamooki came to stay with me in my childless world. (Five bucks says, Toot is reading this now saying ‘I am so sorry you got that evil cat, Mel!)
When Elvis died, Get Low and I were the sorriest sites you could have ever seen. He refused to leave the front door. He slept there all day long, waiting for the return of his brother. He didn’t eat for days. I cried my eyes out on the couch, hugging Elvis’ urn and watching depressing movies. Sometimes, Get Low and I would get in the truck and take Elvis’ ashes for a ride. We were obviously disturbed. That cat never blinked an eye. She would sit in the living room and stare at us like we were the scum of the Earth. She never did seem to mourn his loss, but she stepped up to the plate (literally) and helped Get Low. Get Low finally started eating when I placed Shamooki’s food bowl beside his. He didn’t know how to eat his meals without sharing it with a furry friend. We slowly healed and moved on, except for Shamooki who just never missed a beat in the first place.
Elvis May 1993 – April 2004
Get Low was never a stranger to disorders, dysfunctions and diseases. He had slightly deformed front feet which could barely handle his energetic personality and they gave him grief from time to time. By the age of six, he had developed spondylosis which caused him pain and then later down the road neurological deficits to his hind limbs. At age nine, he was diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease which kept him on a strict diet and medications to prevent and treat stomach and intestinal upset. He now also had arthritis in most of his joints. Next was lupus on his nose. Before his tenth birthday, we discovered that Get Low had mast cell tumors. He underwent an aggressive surgery which allowed for wide margins around the tumors, hoping we could get it all. He spent his Christmas doped up on pain meds and on restricted activity for fear that every stitch could barely hold what we had stretched back together. The biopsy reports came back, some were clean margins, others weren’t. I was not going to put him through another surgery. Not long after that, he developed melanoma in one of his eyes and became incontinent.
I knew making it to his eleventh birthday was nothing short of a miracle, but I also knew our time was winding down. Every night, he would wake me up because he had an accident. I would change his diaper, change the sheets on his bed and get him tucked back in. Generally, all this midnight excitement was usually enough to make him blow chunks, vomit which now was most of the time bloody. If he ate, he only held it down half of the time. I carried him up and down the porch steps. I expressed his bladder when we were outside because he had no idea if his bladder was full or not.
One night, we were sitting on the couch. “Get Low, let’s just say you can talk. You know I wouldn’t tell anyone that you did, right?” He looked at me with serious eyes. “It’s okay to talk. Not going to, huh? I just want you to tell me when you are done fighting. I could probably go on forever doing this if you tell me you want to keep going. I just wish you could talk.”
Get Low never did speak that night, but days later he started to refuse his medications. Four times a day, he would spit them out and walk away. Get Low may have not formed words, but he had spoken.
My mom came to pick us up that Saturday morning. He had not moved from the couch since the night before, but when she got there he suddenly had a burst of energy and brought her a squeaky toy. She looked at me and said, “Really?” What can I say, Get Low always loved showing off for his Grandma, even in that final hour.
I tried to corral Shamooki into saying goodbye to him before we left. In her typical reluctant cat fashion, she just ran off to the bedroom. That was it, she never seem to give it another thought after that. He was gone, and there was nothing either of us could do about it. Maybe Shamooki knows more than me. Is she confident there’s an afterlife, a rainbow bridge? Does she just accept life is fleeting and holding on does nothing but hold you back? I’d like to think that’s what it is, she’s just the more rational of the two of us. All these years, I’ve been learning things from the dogs, maybe it’s really the cat that should be teaching me.
Get Low wins first place for Muttliest Mutt… sadly did not place in Obedience.
Get Low dressed up as a pony (his long flowing ponytail is blowing behind him) and placed 2nd!
Get Low placed fourth the year he dressed up in a nightgown and sported a wig with curlers and a face mask made of vanilla frosting. His competitors thought the face mask was delicious.
Get Low placed 3rd in his last year of costume competition in this simple skunk outfit.
Get Low was a true testament that a wonderful pet doesn’t need to come with a pedigree, a price tag, or even when they are 8 weeks old. Please remember that some of the most amazing creatures are mutts, homeless, and no longer a youngster. You will honor his memory by keeping this in mind anytime you feel an empty spot in your home.
There will never be another one like him. Get Low Jones Moore 1998 – 2011.