Suicidal Dog

At an age I was too young to remember, we got a dog. That poor Cocker Spaniel began its life with a terrible burden, its name. For the naming, our parents deferred to the idiot children, me and my sister, to determine the moniker of this miniature beast. As idiot children, we came up with “Ebenezer Surprise the 2nd.” We never used the full name and no other dog was ever or has ever been named “Ebenezer Surprise.” You are welcome to come up with a stupider name, but the organic nature of “Ebenezer Surprise, II,” and the deluded excitement that it was a majestic name means that direct thought toward a stupider name will fall short of the naive childhood excitement that conjured a name that devolved into the even-dumber-on-its-own  “Surprise.”

Not a picture of the actual Surprise, but close enough.
Not a picture of the actual Surprise, but close enough to make the rest of this post sad.

By being born and labeled with one of the stupidest combination of nouns available ought to have been enough to drive Surprise to the brink of sanity, then the label of “Surprise” simply removed all emotion, driving the poor dog to the cliffs of unfathomable depression.

To make things worse, like all puppies that age faster than childhood wonder, Surprise went from being the center of attention to an occasional distraction. Surprise developed a cataract in one of her eyes. Yes, “her.” The dog named “Ebenezer Surprise, II,” was a woman, a woman named Ebenezer. She was lucky to have her name devolve into “Surprise.” The only catch is that yelling, “Surprise,” is so insufferably dumb and embarrassing that her name devolved into, “Dog.”

Dog would end up developing a cataract in her other eye. Then, an ear cataract…or whatever it is that makes makes dogs deaf, like ear herpes or using Chevron with Techron, I don’t know, I’m not a veteran–no–vegeteranarian–yep, that’s it. From there, Dog would bump into things. Like a Roomba, she’d hit stairs and adjust her direction and proceed, without any clear direction.

In an attempt to redeem myself, I did give Surprise/Dog a lot of attention for a pre-teen…I was a pre-teen, the dog was a teen…no, not that kind of attention…this was a bad road to pave.

caution suicidal dog crossingNow for the sad part.

When I was around 11 years old, my parents went on a cruise. They left me a number “in case of emergencies,” which, I wouldn’t know how to leave a child as an adult. Sadly, on the second day, I had to call.

This was because on an autumn evening, I went to feed and pet Dog and couldn’t find her…until I did, floating lifeless in the hyper-chlorinated pool. Being unfamiliar with death, I left Surprise in the pool like a furry buoy and ran inside, calling the “emergency” overdose

My parents were, of course, a few daiquiris and nautical miles beyond  caring about the dog that should have been euthanized a few years ago, (and couldn’t do anything from their position, to be fair, but fair in’t funny) so they passed me off to a family friend. Who hugged and comforted me and was super wonderful. My older brother was tasked with fishing out the carcass and disposing of the husk.

I, being so helpful, spent the next few days sitting in the garage crying, playing REM’s “Everybody Hurts” on a loop. To this day I don’t know Dog’s final resting place.

The thing is, you’d expect a blind and deaf dog to “accidentally” drown in a pool. BUT, Dog knew how to swim, AND, as I mentioned earlier, Dog knew not to go up any stairs, like a fluffy Roomba, which she would have needed to do to get to the pool.Suicidal Dog

This leaves only one explanation: Dog wanted out.

Which, I understand. I get that level of unquestioning, unavoidable, all-consuming depression. It doesn’t make me less sad. I still get choked up talking about Surprise/Dog. I only wish I would have called in Anne Sullivan.  RIP Ebenezer Surprise, II, Dog, you were great and beyond understanding. In fact, though we mocked the name, it turns out that “Surprise” was retroactively more appropriate than we could have ever known.


Add yours →

  1. It’s an awful story, but the name has me laughing even now.

    You kids were hilarious.



  2. I had to chuckle when you mentioned calling out “Surprise!” to call the dog. It’s so hard to lose a favorite animal.


  3. I’m pretty sure if anything drives our dog, Kawaii, over the edge it won’t be her name but my wife’s persistent (and terribly misguided) attempts at playing doggy hair stylist.


  4. Well, our destiny is in our name, they say. I hope you had other childhood pets that led a happier existence.


  5. Dogs do suffer from depression. We, as humans, often attribute human qualities to our pets to cope with our own misunderstandings of the animal kingdom. More often than not, it is the dog that demonstrates human-like qualities. They seemingly understand us on a level that most other animals do not. They know when we are sad. You can see it on their faces when they approach us to give a comforting nuzzle. How this relates in regards to your particular story is beyond me. Yes, you spoke of a depressed dog so in that regard, it relates. But as for the telling of your story, my response seems to me as off.

    Is it me or is this the week of the dog? My post contains a dog related plot of some sort. Bryan from ABFTS posted about the loss of his dog. Now you?

    It’s a dog eat dog world. Every dog has his day. Dog gone it!


  6. It made me sad to read this because I have a dog who is now fully blinded by cataracts. Somehow I wish we had the money to get him the surgery to remove it, but it’s too damned expensive.


  7. Dog was done. I’m sorry. It must have been very hard for you to find her that way. Every time I took my dog Kesey to the vet, they would pronounce his name in one stupid way or another. Each time, I said, It’s kee-zee. He’s named after the author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

    They stared at me with blank eyes.

    One day the vet came in and couldn’t say his name. I explained it. I said, I know it’s an unusual name, but I name all my dogs after authors or characters in books.

    She said, in a way I’ll describe as rude and sarcastic, Well, last week we had a dog in here named Thoreau.

    That is my dog, I said.

    Before long we went to another vet who had graduated from an Ivy and could pronounce the names of our beloved critters, even Kesey.

    I bet Dog was as happy as she could be for her situation. Kesey was blind. We couldn’t move the furniture because then he would bump into it. One of his biggest problems was walking behind the open door when he wanted to go out. We had to redirect him to the front of the door, which led to the garage, which led to the yard. Once he got lost in the snow and couldn’t figure out how to turn around and come back in. X actually went out to help him. I miss every dog I’ve loved and look forward to being reunited with them.

    I don’t like people who say animals don’t go to heaven. Bullshit, I say.



  8. My amazing human friend,

    Such a thoughtful story. Anybody who doesn’t understand how much us furry friends can mean, just doesn’t get it. Thank you for this bitter sweet tail, sorry, tale.

    Pawsitive wishes,



  9. I’m very sad now. Post something else quick, please!


  10. abeerfortheshower April 26, 2015 — 11:13 pm

    This was every bit as sad as it was amusing. I could only imagine how traumatizing that would be as a child. They do say that humor is a great way to deal with pain, and I know that’s how I cope.

    And it’s okay that you had a dog whose name devolved to Dog. I have a cat whose name is Kitty. Her old name was Gypsy Rose, and since she’s not a prostitute, I justify just calling her ‘kitty.’


  11. Sigh. no silly jokes. Just…. sigh.


  12. Yes, as others have pointed out, this is awful/sad/funny. Now I feel dirty.


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