This post is hard for me to begin, because it’s something I never wanted to have to say, HPIM2160but Tanja had to put Aatu to sleep.  He had been having problems eating for several months, and even though at first the vet thought it was a thyroid problem, yesterday he was diagnosed with inoperable throat and stomach cancer.  He’s ten years old, and he’s had cancer before, so the news wasn’t a surprise to Tanja, but she’s still devastated.  She brought him home last night to have a good night at home, and he went back to the vet today.

Aatu was such a sweet dog, even if he was somewhat of a stubborn old man.  He would stand next to you and bark if he thought you weren’t paying enough attention to him, and when I took him for walks he would pretend that he didn’t understand when I gave him commands in English–Aatu only responded to Finnish.  He and I spent a lot of time in the park, where he liked to play with the other dogs.  Whenever he saw one, if I tried to get him to just walk past it, he would lay down on the sidewalk and refuse to move until he had met it.  He did the same thing whenever he realized that we were within a block of the apartment, and I would have to drag him along behind me while people would walk past me and laugh.

I suppose Aatu was not really “my” dog, but that doesn’t mean that I won’t miss having him there when I come home from work, or to take walks in the park as the sun sets over the city.  In the last couple of weeks, his favorite thing to do was come into my room, put his paws up on the windowsill and look out into the courtyard.  I will miss him.HPIM2161

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