In her essay, Tendler shared many of Petunia’s quirks, like her tendency to obsessively guard items that she considered hers and an animal communicator’s message, after communing with the dog, that “Petunia thinks she is a star and a queen, so I’m not sure she is going to respond to anything about her being left out simply because she’s a dog.” After her hospitalization, Tendler became one of those guarded objects, greedily and jealously protected by the Frenchie that she describes as “a lemon, but she was my lemon.”
Tendler also detailed the dog’s 200-plus page vet records and many “medical calamities” before describing making the painful decision to put her to sleep.
Among them: “Five entries on pneumonia, chronic ear infections, not one, but two nose surgeries due to her face being literally concave, even a run-in with a snapping turtle who leapt into the air to snap her cheek. Until that day, I had no idea turtles leapt. She had degenerative disc disease in her spine. She had a heart murmur. She had permanent scarring on her lungs. She was allergic to almost everything. Her vet bills were exorbitant.”
But through it all, Tendler describes a companionship that, though now ended, was steadfast.
“She was my constant through marriage, four moves, graduate school, a career change (or two), a mental health crisis, a divorce, and finally a reinvention,” Tendler wrote. “Now, she sat in my lap as Dr. Emily and Kate facilitated her peaceful passing.”
But also, Tendler warns, lest your heart be too warmed by her essay and you consider tracking down a Petunia of your own, “Let this be a disclaimer to any person who is lured to Frenchies by their expressive faces and silly personalities: if you are considering getting one, don’t. They are a breed that persists only through human medical intervention, and ethically, that is not a type of dog that should exist.”
If you need emotional support or are in crisis, call the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988.