The Near Death of Osita Moreno

If you were wondering, the answer is no. “Osita” is not a common Spanish name. Osita is the name of my dog. She is a six-year-old pomeranian mix. We acquired this little fur ball of joy when my great uncle told us that his dog just had puppies that “looked like giant caterpillars.”

We arrived at my great uncle’s house, and there were several black puppies. There was one who seemed to be afraid of everything. She ran into the corner while her siblings frolicked toward us, tails wagging. Apparently they bullied her because she was the runt of the litter. Like something straight out of Charlotte’s Web, we decided to adopt her. We picked her up and held her until she was comfortable with us. Her colors and fluffy appearance reminded us of a bear cub, so we named her Osita, which is Spanish for little bear.

Osita

Osita

black bear cub

black bear cub

Right off the bat, she wasn’t the brightest puppy, or the bravest. She was scared poopless of both the pets that already occupied the house. She would yelp if either of them tried to touch her.

Osita meeting the late Bigotes Moreno

Osita meeting the late Bigotes Moreno

Osita Meeting the late Unica Moreno

Osita Meeting the late Unica Moreno

Despite being a dog of very little brains, we knew she would be a lovely companion once she was settled. We bathed her and made her filthy, flea-ridden fur shine. She hated it. On the first night she spent with us, she slowly walked up to me and crawled onto my lap. I pet her as she fell asleep. It was adorable.

Her first bath

Her first bath

Her futile attempt to escape the tub.

Her futile attempt to escape the tub.

By the time I finished high school, Osita had grown to be an incredibly clingy dog to my mom. She still follows her around the house and stares longingly at the door while my mom is away. She hadn’t grown much smarter. Most of her behavior was learned by watching Unica, our much older and smart dog.

After college, both Unica and Bigotes had passed away from natural causes, so Osita was our only house pet. I wanted to give Osita the trip of a lifetime by asking my mother and little brother to bring her up to Austin (AKA dog paradise) while they helped me move into my new place. I really wished that Unica could have been here to experience everything that Austin offers for beloved pets. My grave mistake was forgetting that Osita was definitely not Unica.

Always following in her big sister's footsteps

Always following in her big sister’s footsteps

During her life, Unica was a fat, social, intelligent, and outdoor-loving dog. She loved going to new places. Even a visit to the vet’s office was a treat for her. Austin would have been great for her. Osita, on the other hand, is a fat, skittish, and dumb dog, who would only do whatever Unica would do. I had not yet realized that much of Osita’s confidence came from being close to her older, wiser sister. I knew that she might have trouble adjusting to the new setting, but I insisted that my mother bring her because I had not seen her in a long time and the scars of Unica’s death still lingered on my heart. I just wanted to see my other puppy, so I was hoping she would be fine in Austin because she would be accompanying my mother, who she adored.

My mother and brother arrived at my empty apartment with Osita in the back seat. She was already panting really hard. We got into my apartment, and she started running around. Her dinky little brain was having trouble processing her new surroundings. We took her when we went out to eat and to pick up the moving van, all the while her pants were getting shorter and harder. I hoped that she would calm down eventually. I mean, she would eventually figure out that she didn’t have to freak out, right? There is no way she was that dumb.

I drove the van to my friend’s apartment to pick up a couch set that she no longer needed. She had given me her keys since she would not be home at that time. Since Osita was hot, I told my brother to bring her into my friend’s apartment so she could enjoy the AC. Bad mistake. This even newer environment set my dog off. She immediately started running around the apartment, panting so hard is sounded like she was couching over and over again. Her tongue turned a deep, deep purple. We knew we had to cool her down, so we threw her into the bathtub and put ice in it, but it was no use. Her thick fur was impenetrable to the water, no matter how much we poured it on her. I was in panic mode. I felt hopeless, like there was nothing I could do as my dog was dying of heat stroke. I was brought back to that feeling I had when my pet chicken died in my hands many, many years ago. I felt weak. Unica had passed several months ago, and I didn’t know what I would do if Osita had died, too. She is truly a dumb dog, but I love her.

Finally, I pulled myself together. I took action and called the nearest vet’s office. They told us that she needed to see a vet right away and referred us to the closest emergency clinic. The receptionist could hear the panic in my voice as we talked because she told me to calm down and that it would be okay. We jumped in my car and drove my pup straight to the clinic. My mom got mad at me for speeding, but I didn’t care. The life of my precious puppy was on the line. Upon entering the car, Osita’s tongue started to regain its color. The familiar environment of our Honda was more comforting to her than a strange apartment.

We arrived at the clinic, and the doctor gave her an oxygen mask and sedative to bring her 105 degree temperature down to the normal 101. While my mom was at the vet’s office with the puppy patient, my brother and I took the moving van to collect the couches finally. When we were done gathering all the furniture, we brought the sedated puppy back to our apartment. We figured that her trip to Austin had been the perfect storm. Being fat, having black fur in 95 degree weather, lacking the intelligence to comprehend new surroundings, and having what the vet told us is a possible tracheal problem all attacked her at once. The bottle of sedatives kept her calm for the rest of the night until she left that morning.

I couldn’t help but feel responsible for my dog’s near-death experience, and I took all that guilt out on her. Whenever she came up to me I would tell her to go away. She had no clue why I was treating her that way, but she still obeyed like the good dog she is. I slept on the floor that night because my mom took my bed, and Osita crawled up next to me. I pet her as she fell asleep. It was adorable.

Osita puppy