I’ve written often about Butterscotch and aging. We really thought she would be the first to go of our two dogs. But Paris beat her to the punch line today. He always was a little competitive with her.

At 6:30 this morning (yesterday by the time you read this) he was his usual self. Barking for breakfast. Eating well. Out to pee and poop. By 8:00, when Marley went to take him for a morning walk, Paris couldn’t get up. Call to the vet’s office, and they took us within 45 minutes.

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By that time his gums were very pale, and he was completely lethargic. We could hardly get him in the door at the vet’s office, and he lay down just inside the door. We let him be. The vet had a very worried look on her face. Paris has never been, as she phrased it, a model patient at the vet’s office, but today he really didn’t care who did what. They loaded him on a gurney and went to take pictures. Long story short, his spleen had burst and his abdomen was full of blood.

When this happens it is usually the result of a cancerous tumor in the spleen, and when it bursts it spreads cancer throughout the body. Surgery might buy him a month or two, but he’s 14 years old, with a long list of medical problems. One of the thickest folders at the vet practice. We were not going to put him through all of that, and the gentle hands of the vet and the vet tech released him to run free in whatever the next life is.

It was a sad decision but not a hard one. As pet sitters, we have seen too many animals kept around long past the point where any quality of life exists. Paris had a great walk yesterday in lovely weather, and good meals last night and this morning. These are some of his favorite things, so he had a good last day.

We’ve been sharing our memories of him today, and went out to dinner tonight to console ourselves and share some more stories. One of Paris’s most annoying habits was that he licked himself, the couch, the floor and whatever else was handy, endlessly. The sound drives me bonkers, and truthfully, I won’t miss it. I was always asking him to stop, to the point where Marley thought Paris thought his name was Paris Stop.

He came to us almost 11 years ago from the Humane Society, thirty pounds underweight, and so closed down. But they had faith in this dog, and ultimately they were right. He was a sweet boy, and very loving. He spent his first three days with us flopped on the floor, staring into space, and then he realized he’d gotten a new and better deal, and he started to come alive.

Paris at door

At 3-4 years old he had had at least 2-3 seconds of training, so that was one of our first jobs. But Paris was smart, and he caught on quickly enough. One of the great joys of his life was his daily walk with Marley. In  his younger years they would walk for an hour easily, and even in recent days, half hour walks weren’t unusual. Paris was a daddy’s dog, and where Marley went, Paris followed without hesitation.

He was never the healthiest of dogs, and we never could get to the bottom of all his issues, despite spending a small fortune. He either had no response or terrible side effects to any medication that helped with his issues, but somehow we managed and so did he.

Paris was a lab mix who hated water, which was always a hoot. He would stand on the porch when it was raining and cross his legs until he was bursting at the seams and couldn’t hold it a moment longer. He never walked through puddles – always around instead. We won’t even talk about giving him a bath after being sprayed by a skunk. We were always amused at a lab who hates water, but Paris was always his own dog.

We tried one other dog in the house with him before Butterscotch, and it was an unqualified disaster. We had to return the poor new dog. So we were really worried when my dad went to assisted living and we brought Butterscotch home with us. But they took to each other easily. Paris liked to assert his “first dog” status sometimes, and he would stand over Butterscotch, who had chosen a dog bed to sleep on, and he would stare at her until she moved, or at least moved over and gave him space. She always relented eventually, though she regularly made him wait for it.

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Paris loved sleeping on the bed with us, especially with Marley, though he usually got kicked off at some point since he takes up soooo much space. But it was a treat for him to be on the bed, especially if Butterscotch wasn’t allowed at that moment and he had Marley or both of us to himself.

There are many more things we remember about Paris. He hated car rides. Though underground fences were made to be ignored. If you run fast enough the shock was barely felt. I wasn’t willing to turn the shock up, and I actually came to despise electric fences. Paris was right that a good walk was better. Occasionally Marley took him to the fields a couple blocks from our house and let him run, which he adored.


Paris was a great dog, and we were lucky to have him live with us for all those years. He will be greatly missed, by us and by Butterscotch too. I don’t think she’s quite figured out that he isn’t coming home, but she may come to understand that better tonight when we go up to bed and Paris doesn’t join us. Routines will need to be adjusted. I got all confused feeding the animals this evening…the sequence didn’t work without Paris’s dish and presence. Something I’ve done without thinking for years required thought tonight.

Life will go on, but it won’t be the same. Tears will probably flow for some days to come. But we have lots of memories to hold dear, and fortunately, lots of photos too.

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Marley and the dogs



32 thoughts on “Paris: In Memoriam

  1. I am so sorry for your loss. And so happy for Paris that you were willing and able to give him such a wonderful life. And make the right choice when the time came.

  2. My heart aches for you..14 or not..bless sweet Paris and the joy he bought you..we too are saying goodbye to our 12 year old Forrest next week..this week we spoil him..they are the loves we hate to lose..R.I.P Paris…gentle ((((hugs)))) to you all xxx Fozziemum

  3. We are so sorry for the loss of Paris. Losing a member of the fur-family is never easy/ Thank you for giving him a wonderful life and a wonderful last day.

  4. I’m so sorry to read about your loss. Please cherish the beautiful and warm memories about Paris.

  5. It is always hard to say that last good night. If our beloved four-legged don’t have a place in heaven I will have to have conversation with our Maker. I am so sorry your friend had to go. Peace and love to you and yours.

  6. Your readers will miss him too. I understand about the routine confusions. My old cat Jake was diabetic with 2 injections a day. After he was gone there were days I would jolt upright thinking I forgot to give him his injection. Still happens but not as frequently. Paris sounds like he was the alpha. I’m not a dog expert but I thought it was usually the female that was the alpha. Poor Butterscotch. I’ve seen dogs grieve and wonder what they think. Cats seem to adjust.

    1. We actually had a cat who grieved horribly for her dog when he passed. Kit wouldn’t come in the house for two weeks after Max died. Every animal is different. I think Butterscotch has, in some ways, not really noticed. She is not altogether “there” these days…not sure how much this all registers with her, which might be a blessing.

  7. What a wonderful tribute to a dog who, after a troubled start to his life, found a loving home. You will always have so many happy memories of him. 🙂

  8. so sorry for your loss… rest well Paris.. my dog passed almost 2 years ago and i still miss him and still think about him..

    1. I think we will always remember, fondly, those who are gone before us. But I am glad to know he is not suffering.

  9. Shocking and sad to read this post. I am sorry you have lost Paris. It is disturbing to me to discover the cause of death has become so common that I wonder if it is something we are giving the dogs (heart worm meds, flea/tick, vaccines?) that is causing this epidemic. The vets must see this…I wonder if there is a way to find out? My dog and several friends dogs have had this same cause of death. It worries me. I am sorry to run on like this… I know you are dealing with such heartache. I wish you ease and peace at this sad time. Blessings.

  10. I am so very sorry for your loss. My cat Tara had a splenic mass which I was told is very unusual in cats. Hers never burst prior to her passing from congestive heart failure. Sending purrs of comfort your way.

  11. Debra- my heart aches for you and Marley and all of your family. May knowing he is not suffering and waiting at a different door for your arrival give you all some peace.

    1. Thanks, Connie. We are glad, too, that he did not have to suffer long. When I go, I’d be happy to go as quickly as he did.

  12. If they told us on “gotcha day” that our hearts would someday be broken – would we still sign up for it? Yes! A thousand times, yes! Thank you for giving Paris a wonderful second chapter, and for loving him so. Hugs to you, Marley, and to Butterscotch.

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