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    Posted November 28, 2012 by
    MaxMUohio
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    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Loving and losing a dog: Your tributes

    Nibblet

     
    I owe my life, as it is today, to a 12-lb chihuahua terrier mix named Nibblet. In the summer of 2008, I was about four months into a relationship with a girl named Tracy, when she began looking for a dog. Unfortunately, I'm deathly allergic to cats and Tracy had selflessly found a different home for her two cats, so I could visit her apartment without the lasting misery of watery, itchy eyes, choking and sneezing. She felt that a new dog would fill that void, and I knew that she was probably right, but that didn't stop me from throwing a fit. My excuses were simple: A dog would cramp our ability to travel together and I would get attached, only to have it die someday. A vicious argument ensued, and despite my objections, one day Tracy came home with a rescued dog named Nibblet.

    Of course, I fell immediately in love with Nibblet, whose personality lit up the room and whose never-ending energy made you want to get up and run around with her. She was smart enough to learn tricks in 10 minutes or less, as long as there were pieces of cheese available. Her potty-training left a little to be desired at first, but she would soon learn to ring a small bell to alert us to her needs. She tolerated Tracy's burning desire to dress her up in party dresses, parkas, and a Vegas tourist outfit. Everyone loved Nibblet, and Nibblet loved everyone, with the exception of those grabby little toddlers that ellicted a low growl from her at times.

    In hindsight, my reluctance to accept a dog into my life was a clear sign of my biggest personal flaw-- My inability to commit to a relationship. Maybe that's why I had over a half dozen relationships before Tracy with none of them lasting for more than three months? And this flaw began to creep its way into my relationship with Tracy, too. There were times where I felt like running away and avoiding the gradually deepening commitment between Tracy and I. Call it an intense fear of the unknown, a fear of getting my heart broken. Each time those feelings arose, I reminded myself that we "needed to stay together for the kid", who in this case, had four legs and fur.

    One day, I could almost hear the click inside my head. Tracy and I had shared the "L" word with each other, and I knew there was no escaping it-- We were meant to be together. Tracy and I bought a house, and I proposed a few months afterwards. Fittingly, Nibblet delivered the ring to her, tied to her collar with a red ribbon. A year later, we were married, and a little over nine months after that, Tracy gave birth to our beautiful daughter.

    It's hard to fathom how close I came to letting Tracy slip through my fingers, especially when considering the blessings we've shared since then. I was so self-centered, self-preserving, and downright cowardly. It took the unconditional love and companionship of a little dog to show me that the risk of losing someone special is worth taking, in order to enjoy the wonderful things that can occur along the way. I have been blessed with a beautiful family and a safe, secure livelihood, and I can honestly say that I may not have any of it, if Nibblet hadn't found her way into my life and my heart.

    After a month or two of gradual, unexplained weight loss, Nibblet began having seizures, and was diagnosed with irreversible liver failure last week. Since then, her seizures have increased in frequency and severity, and she's clearly living in uncomfortable fear of the next episode. Nibblet's quality of life has taken such a sudden turn for the worse, and there's nothing we can do to help her. Tracy and I know what must be done, so three hours from now, we'll take Nibblet to be put to sleep. We've spent the last few days loving on her and reminding her how much she means to us. I don't look forward to life after Nibblet, but I can take comfort in knowing that I have that life because of her.
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