Tuesday, November 01, 2011

A Huge Gift in a Small Package

She came to me when I truly needed her.  I was a junior in college, drowning in life11-01-2011 09;31;55PM decisions.  I had no idea what to do with her.  How to train or feed her, even what the law required regarding dogs, I was clueless.

It didn’t seem to matter.  She needed me as much as I needed her.  She lost her family to the coyotes on my father’s farm.  She only survived because she was the best at hiding.  Then she was too cute not to take home.

11-01-2011 09;39;26PMShe taught me about separation anxiety and fear.  She chased down cockroaches after the bug guy sprayed and growled just when I needed her to.  She growled viciously at just the right person despite her short squatty legs and 24 lbs of mostly fur.  She made me get out of bed to walk her and feed her when I wanted to sleep too long.  When I didn’t want to care I couldn’t forget about her.  She saved me in inches every day from sinking too low.

She never begged for too much attention.  Just a little tummy scratching then she would settle in at the end of the couch.  She slept on the edge of my bed until his feet got in the way.  After 4 years of just us she took to him so well, mostly. 

He insisted we get another dog.  She never liked other dogs until we brought home thisDSC00566 one.  She didn’t really have a choice.  Dancer, a self appointed Goddess, insisted she was boss and after 3 days of talks, she agreed.  The discussion went something like “I pin you to the ground by your throat and you agree, ok?”.  Dancer came with her own issues but it seemed to work for them both.  Their quirks worked together for all of us.

11-01-2011 09;22;13PMDespite a fear of little hands she dealt with the birth of 3 boys in 5 years well.  They learned that the old dogs didn’t' play but would steal their food given the chance.  The dogs learned that baby spit up wasn’t bad and little kids dropped snacks.

She took visiting dogs well as long as they didn’t play with her.  She only ever played with one dog and never did again when we lost Dancer to painful arthritis at age 11.Addie sleeping on quilt

Since then we have had many dogs in our lives.  A few moves, a major career change, and a long deployment later she grew weary.  Her back legs had lost sensation, slowly getting worse.  The wrong step could paralyze her but living in a crate 24/7 is no way for any dog to live.  I watched carefully every time she stepped out the door for 4 years.

Her muzzle was gray and she could no longer hear people coming to the door.  She couldn’t chew her food because her teeth had mostly fallen out and it hurt to turn her neck much but she still seemed happy to be here.

Then she no longer could no longer make it outside for bathroom breaks.11-01-2011 09;33;02PM

We said goodbye to her a few weeks ago.  Addie was over 16 years old. I was pleased to lay her to rest at a friend’s farm.

I am not one who believes our pets go to a kind of heaven.  I do believe she was a gift from God that offered a kind of support and comfort that only she could give.  I am forever grateful for that gift.

I miss her.

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