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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Positively Pets

I was in the middle of getting my blog ready when my youngest daughter called to tell me they had to put one of their dogs to sleep. So I decided to dedicate this week’s blog to Dixie and to all of our pets who add richness to our lives by just being.   
Gypsy I

Somehow, when I was in the second grade, I acquired a goldfish.  I named it Marilyn.  It didn’t last long, but that was my first pet. After that I tended to stick with dogs.  We’ve had several over the years, my first being a little orange Pomeranian named Sheba. She was sweet and gentle and prone to seizures but she lived to a ripe old age.

Gypsy was a legend in the neighborhood. She looked like a wolf, and didn’t much like other dogs. Our worst fear when Gypsy got loose was that she would get into a fight with someone else's dog but she tolerated Sheba and was big buddies with the next door neighbor's lab, Spike and I think she would have given her life to protect our family. She too lived a good, long life.

After that there was Chelsea, smart as a whip and Muffin, who truth be told was a little unbalanced but we loved her anyway.  Her biggest quirk was defending socks.  If she got hold of one she’d bear her fangs and just about kill anybody who tried to take it away from her.  We learned to distract her so somebody could snatch the sock while her back was turned.  With no sock, she turned back into a sweet, lovable dog.
Except for Sheba, they were all mutts. My mom is prone to Pomeranians and has had several, including her present dog Molly, who is blind. My daughters all have dogs. None of us have ever really owned a cat, although I did sort of adopt an old white cat for several months.  She looked tired and ragged, and she never really trusted me, but I bought her cat food and put it out for her every day. I missed her when she stopped coming around. 

As the kids grew up there were assorted gerbils and hamsters, and for a long while, we had a bird. His name was Gizmo and he was the smartest parakeet ever.  He whistled at me a lot, even said ‘Mom’ when I walked by. He could say a lot of words and even had a favorite song. He would start dancing on his perch whenever he heard ‘What’s Your Name’ by Depeche Mode. “Hey you’re such a pretty boy, Hey you’re such a pretty boy, Hey you’re such a pretty boy…you’re so pretty.” Really.

Emmitt and Layla
I have several ‘granddogs’. Cowboy and Layla were rescue dogs – Chihuahuas, and Emmit, well, Emmit is the head Chihuahua and he knows it. Roxie is a beautiful Shiba Inu – a breed I’d never heard of until my daughter got one. There is Mammy and Remus – a pair of spunky little pugs, and Skinner – a Great Dane - the biggest ‘lap dog’ you’ve ever seen. Before that there was Mesa Blue – part Chow, part wolf – a puppy that my oldest daughter brought home with her from a vacation one time.  The other Pomeranian in the family is Greta. A friend of my mom’s bought her as a puppy, stopped by to show her off and the dog promptly ran away. Three days later she was finally caught and had to be taken to the vet to be sewed up. Something had gotten hold of her and almost killed her. But my aunt adopted her and my mom’s friend had to go back and buy another puppy because she didn’t have the nerve to tell her husband what happened.
Gypsy II

Presently I don’t have any pets of my own, but there is a dog named Gypsy that I do wish was mine.

Dixie was the sweetest dog ever.  She spent most of her short life in an animal testing facility, somehow rescued when the place was shut down.  My daughter and her husband went through an ‘adoption’ process and were approved as a family for Dixie.  Two other dogs already in place rounded out the family.  It was weeks before Dixie even made a sound and she had a horrible bark. Before she came to them she’d never had a home, never had a bed, probably never had anybody give her much attention except as far as whatever tests they did on her. She took to my son-in-law particularly, waiting outside the bathroom door, or laying with her nose to the bottom of the door if he went outside, waiting for him to come back. She was a little dog, and fairly young – the vet estimated her to be about 5 when they got her and everybody who met her fell in love with her. They got to enjoy her company for about 2 years and in that time she made progress, learning how to beg for treats, figuring out what the dog bed was for, and finally, one day not long ago, she actually ran across the yard. She was learning to be a dog.

About two or three weeks ago she started to lose weight, lost interest in food and just started to decline.  Tests showed a number of things wrong with her and they started her on antibiotics.  I guess the medical testing just caught up to her.  Quickly and with a vengeance.
Dixie, if there is a dog heaven, you certainly belong there.  We will all miss your big, soft ears and your loving little personality. Even if it was for so short a time, I’m happy you had a loving home and your own dog bed.

"If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans." James Herriot


  1. Very nice, Mom. Our pets find a way into our hearts and our lives and remain there forever. A sweet way to commemorate Dixie, who I believe was a lucky dog to have found her way to Doug and Rachel. She could not have had a better home.

  2. Love your blog. I lost a very dear pet of mine. Her name was Elly May and she was my best friend. She was a 9 year old yorkie and was killed by a coyote in our back yard. This ripped my heart right out of my chest. She died in Nov. of last year and still to this day I cry every day. Some people do not understand that pets are really a part of you, you love them like your child, at least I did. She was always there to cheer mme up and lick my face when i was down. I know she will meet me at the rainbow bridge in the end and I will be so happy to see her again. I love you Elly!