Rose the dog

Rose the 19-year-old blind and mostly deaf miniature schnauzer and the pool in which she has fallen several times. The last time she fell in, she drowned and was clinically dead for 5 minutes. It was only through diligent CPR and prayer that she was brought back to life.

Here is the story of a little dog that made a pact with the devil and will live forever.

Her name is Rose and she lives in Cartersville. She belongs to my friends Kelly and Colman and to look at her you’d think she was something out of a horror movie.

That’s because Rose is 19 years old. In human years. That’s the equivalent of eleventeen hundred dog years.

Rose was once a miniature schnauzer. But now she looks like if you took a poorly taxidermied miniature schnauzer and left it out in the sun and rain for years and then brought it back inside. She’s the canine equivalent of the Cryptkeeper.

But she is very sweet and very well loved by her family.

I had always known OF Rose but I never really spent any extended amount of time with her until one time when the family went out of town and asked me to dogsit for Rose and their dog Bentley.

Rose needs constant supervision because she is blind as a bat, mostly deaf, and very frail. A slight breeze could knock her over and kill her.

Or so I thought.

But oddly enough she is extremely resourceful. Because she’s blind, she can’t just walk straight to her food or water or wherever she wants to go. This is a little comical and a little sad but the way Rose gets around the house is that she’ll start teetering around on her fragile, spindly little legs and she’ll start bumping into walls and furniture as she feels her way around the house.

So you know Rose is on the move when you can hear her little nails on the floor and the constant tapping of her little head on all sorts of surfaces.

When she has to go outside, Rose must be constantly supervised as the family has a pool and Rose has fallen in on a number of occasions, with various family members having to jump into the pool to rescue her.

The last time Rose fell in the pool she was clinically dead for 5 minutes and had to be revived through CPR and prayer. But she came back.

Rose has survived a bite from a copperhead (please remember she is a tiny miniature schnauzer). And she has survived a house fire. The family wasn’t at home at the time of the fire and a neighbor had to bust down the door to get Rose out. The smoke inhalation alone would have killed a grown man. But not little Rose.

As if her extremely advanced age and all the calamities that have befallen her weren’t enough, I was witness to Rose’s most recent dance with death.

Kelly and I (along with a couple friends) are in a car heading out of town. She gets a call from her son who was the only one at home with Rose at the time. He calls Kelly and he is extremely distraught. He says Rose is having a seizure and she’s been having a seizure for 20 minutes. He doesn’t know what to do.

Kelly’s jovial mood changes immediately. She calls her daughter and her husband and tells them they have to go home immediately and get Rose to the vet. Rose is still seizing.

Kelly knows this won’t end well.

So she calls ahead to the vet and tells them what’s happening and to expect her family to bring Rose in. She tells them the dog has been having an extended seizure. The person on the phone is kind but honest with Kelly. Given Rose’s age, her frailty and the severity of the seizure, they will probably not have good news for the family when they get there.

So Kelly makes a tough decision. She tells the vet staff that Rose has been with the family for 19 years and she doesn’t want her husband or children to have to make the heartbreaking decision when the time comes. She tells the vet that if they believe Rose is in too bad of a state when she gets there, they have Kelly’s permission to put her to sleep.

Kelly hangs up the phone and is obviously upset. So we start talking about good memories of Rose how she’s had a long, happy life — much longer than most other dogs do. She’s been loved on for so many years. We laugh and reminisce and, little by little, Kelly makes peace with her decision. It’s the right thing to do.

A little while later the phone rings. It’s Kelly’s husband. We’re all deathly silent in the car.

They had gotten Rose to the vet. It was a very bad seizure. The vet did some bloodwork on Rose. The diagnosis?

SHE’S AS HEALTHY AS A DANG HORSE. The vet can’t find anything wrong with Rose’s bloodwork and there appears to be absolutely no ill effects of the extended seizure.

Rose had cheated death yet again. She’s the Methuselah of dogs.

The good Lord knows why he’s given Rose such a long life. I think she’ll outlive us all. When we’re all dead and buried Rose will be stumbling blindly through the graveyard hittin’ her head on our tombstones looking for her food bowl.

Severo Avila is Features Editor for the Rome News-Tribune.

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