“Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night” Dylan Thomas

Here’s the interesting thing about old age, dear reader, it cannot be anticipated no matter how hard we try, nor can its form be controlled. As humans, you acquire your puppy and are charmed by its youthful antics, its high energy, and evident good health. As you cuddle your precious, sweet smelling baby pug, it is nearly impossible to imagine this amazingly vital creature as a blind, deaf, drooling, limping, leaking, foul-smelling vessel of canine DNA.

For those of you who have followed me on my journey into old age, you probably are very aware of all of my physical changes and limitations but unaware of the daily toll it takes on my parents. I think humans get stuck on their memories of us as we were and find it very difficult to move forward into our new reality. My parents face a daily struggle, involving elaborate “pilling” twice a day, changing diapers regularly, and adding the protection of a onesie. These are merely the physical requirements. Add to this regimen, my constant barking upon waking, sleeping, walking, standing, and between breathing, which drives everyone crazy for some reason. And because I am obsessed with any and all food, I cannot relax for any period of time, lest I miss a crumb or morsel. There are also the unwanted accidents that occur during the diaper changing and the occasional nighttime diarrhea events, requiring a butt bath, change of diapers, onesies, and bed linens. This life stage has the power of erasing the wonderful memories of the preceding youthful years. Sleep deprivation is a constant in our house.

The irony throughout all of these changes is that my energy level and vigor remain untarnished, and in fact, are probably even stronger than ever. I can, on rare occasions, even interact with other dogs, twitch my tail gaily, and prance about as a young pup (see my video on Mason and Lizzie’s page on Facebook). Mom and Dad puzzle over this phenomenon regularly and I try to tell them by cocking my head and panting wildly that I am not leaving this life quietly or passively. This pug is going out on a rocket ship, with an earth-shaking blast that I hope erases the memories of these last few years.

Respectfully submitted,

Mason

Here am I, tearing into Little Bear as if he were my sworn enemy. Even in the onesie, I look fierce!

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24 Comments

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24 responses to ““Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night” Dylan Thomas

  1. This was a very nice post!! Made me tear a little thinking of my little puggy getting old.. I will be there for him as long as he lives!

  2. Trish…
    Thanks for writing and sharing your thoughts. Be brave, my friend, and love fiercely…
    Mason

  3. Sarah

    Tears ~ Mason, you are lucky to have such amazingly patient parents. But you, too, are teaching them some important lessons ~ getting them ready for human children, should they decide to have them! What an awesome family you have! And yes, I am including Lizzie…

  4. Sarah…
    Thank you so much for writing, and yes, they are patient and loving for the most part, but truthfully they have been tested to the max this past year. It is hard for both pug and owners when old age is so challenging. I hope you have the fortitude and sense of humor necessary when the time comes.
    Best,
    Mason

  5. Your words are poignant as ever, sweet Mason. A few years ago, we went through very similar circumstances with our first pug. While she wasn’t old (only 7), she became ill, and we all suffered through a year of constant health battles (specifically blindness and seizures), and yes, sleep deprivation for us. Her health deteriorated rapidly at the end of that trying year, and we were forced to make the decision to let her go peacefully over the Rainbow Bridge. We are now facing “old age” with our dear Lexie, who is facing the challenges as boldly as you are. She is deaf, moves a lot slower, has seizures on occasion, and takes a few medications to keep her bladder managed. But like you, she is spry and happy, despite it all.
    One can only hope that we humans can age as gracefully and accepting as you puggies…you’re our heroes.
    ~Love, Lexie’s mommy (and Chloe, Coco’s & Molly’s too, of course)

    • Erin,
      Your praise is as welcome as ever…you are a wise and compassionate human. Sadly, I know how frustrated Mom and Dad are with my “issues” and if I could change,I would. As you know, we can’t choose our final path.
      Thanks again for writing and remaining such a steadfast fan. I do still have game…ask anyone who knows me!

      Best,
      Mason

  6. Dearest Mason,
    It is unfair that the creatures on earth that love us the most, age so much faster than humans. We go to great lengths to keep you as healthy and happy as possible, for as long as possible, even if it means losing sleep. While you are not human children, you are still our responsibility, one that we take to heart as much as having human children.
    One of those responsibilities means knowing when it is time to end your suffering from infirmities, whether from old age or disease. You have to know how it breaks our hearts to let you go, but it is the ultimate expression of our love for you.
    We have lost two dear pug friends recently, Yoda and Payton. They will be at the bridge to welcome you with open paws. They will know the best places to nap and which angel gives the best treats. Please say hello to them and to my Quincy who passed last year. You may not even recognize him because his dementia will be gone. He’ll be able to see again and chase butterflies.
    So Mason, leave this world your way, but know that you leave a Mason-shaped hole in your loved ones’ hearts.

    • Thank you so much for writing and expressing your sentiments so nicely.
      I hope I didn’t give the impression I was taking my final bow yet (even though I am sure there are days Mom and Dad might welcome it!)…far from it. But you are right, when the time is right I will tell them and they will know. Nature is kind that way.
      I am sorry you’ve lost so many of my brothers and sisters, but I know they were loved and are missed.
      Mason

  7. oh this brings a tear as i know about this all thank you for this as it says so much.

  8. Terri

    Dearest Mason as happy as I am to hear from you I am saddened to hear of your health issues. Like they say growing old is not for sissies and you my dear friend are NO sissy! I have yet to experience this aging process with any of my sweet puggies but thanks to you I am learning a lot. You inspire me to be the best pug mommy I can possibly be.

    • Terri…
      Thanks so much for writing. You will be able to manage when the time comes. Humans are amazingly resilient. I already know you are a fine pug mother since experience has taught me that the people who take a pug or pugs into their lives are the most devoted parents one can imagine.

      Mason

  9. Jill

    As I sit here crying after reading all the postings and dreading the next time I’m faced with the inevitable passing of one of my pugs, just want to say you’ll be missed, Mason, and I admire all of you for your strength.

    • Jill…
      Please shed no tears for yours truly…I am a long way from the final curtain, but I do appreciate your sentiments. It is always hard for humans but not for us, believe me. Remember that the brightest flame burns the fastest. Who would prefer a weak but long lasting flame?

      Best regards,
      Mason

  10. Yo Bro! Even though I’m deaf, I hear ya. You know all I’ve been through lately, what with the fire and all, but the newest crinkle in the fabric of my life is that Mom has done a mischief to her right arm and finds it difficult and painful to carry me about these days. Still, she does it and makes sure I don’t miss out on the morning biscuits and evening treats. I’m blind, but she comes close so I can feel her and smell her and it sets my tail a-wag. Like you, my friend, I feel I have a lot of good time left to me, tho it may be measured in shorter segments. Life is good.

    • Ah Buster…
      My dear friend, who has suffered more loss than I can ever imagine always manages to fill me with optimism and humility (which is a difficult concept for yours truly!). I mourn the loss of your sight but for us pugs, the nose is the most important, would you not agree? I celebrate your life, Buster, and only regret we never met. Here’s hoping your mom improves soon…
      Always a pleasure hearing from you…
      Your good friend,
      Mason

  11. Konrad Jaschke

    Thanks for this wonderful writing. I too had my pug Zoe go through this. She was the most wonderful thing in the world and I would do anything for her. She had all the problems you have expressed, but was still as energetic as always. She was doing fine, but then recently and quite suddenly she passed away. I miss her so much. I am so glad there are other humans in the world that will look after their little dogs no matter what. Now I need to go wipe my tears away. 🙂

    • Dear Konrad,
      I am so sorry for and saddened by your loss. You suffer, but she doesn’t. I hope in time you will find a space in your heart for another pug. We pugs want our families to be happy even if we’re not part of their lives anymore. After all, we have been placed on earth for only one purpose…to bring happiness, comfort, and joy to our humans.
      Thank you so much for writing,
      Mason

      • Konrad Jaschke

        I will be getting another Pug, I’m in pug withdrawal. I tried to get one through a rescue, but she was snapped up. I’ve got a couple puppies being offered to me as we speak. Nothing can replace Zoe, but I need another clown in the house! 🙂

  12. tears……I too have experienced this with my beloved Suki, he was 14 yrs old.

  13. Wendy

    Oh Mason….as always your posts touch me…crying from a long week!
    Our beloved deaf blind old gentleman Cubby has allowed me to accompany him through another long night of illness. Not the happiest times for pug nor owner, but would not trade them for anything. Those who’ve loved you for so long have an opportunity to try to make you happy and comfortable … and give back all the love we’ve been so lucky to have received….
    Cubby is under medical care now and hope to have him home soon so both of our senior boys can make it to their photo shoot for 1000 pugs!
    I want you to know how much our senior pugged family enjoys catching up on your latest news and knowing that you DO INDEED continue to thrive in your golden years. And we love Lizzie too (sorry!!)

  14. Melinda Mele

    Dearest Mason,

    I haven’t read your blog for some time, and didn’t know you’d moved into this phase until today. It’s going to be okay, little man. Your mom and dad know that you know they’ve given you a wonderful life, better than most, indeed.

    Last year, we lost our beloved pug Johnny Rotten. He was a foundling from the streets of Manila, almost dead on that fateful day when we came upon him on the side of the road. We never knew for sure how old he was, even. And then one day, he was very old.

    Johnny was blind and somewhat deaf and almost hairless and starving when we found him. Over the seven years he was with us, he grew back lots of his hair, and he grew our hearts probly seven sizes. We still love him very deeply. He’s still with us in our hearts, as you always will be in your parents’.

    So, go on, intrepid one, fearlessly through each day, as always. And make sure mom and dad feel really bad for you so they give you extra marrow bones.

    Lots of love, from Melinda Mele, the pugs Vic Mackey, Jeff Barkley, and Elvis Pugley, and Leonard Cohen (the puginese)

    • Melinda,

      We have actually met in Tompkins Square park! I remember you and your husband and all of your pugs. Johnny used to wear a t-shirt if I am not mistaken. What a small world.
      Masons Mom.

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