Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Tribute to a friend or two

    Over the years I have had several dogs that taught me something that I needed to know at that moment. Barney was named for Barney Fife & at 240 lbs was afraid of everything when he first saw it. I found him in a burlap bag in a watery ditch and I learned that even a kid can make a difference. I put that bag in the basket of my bike and rode down the side of 436 like Elmira Gultch all the way to the vets office- 11 puppies and 8 were viable. They turned out to be English Mastiffs…big babies. He was quite impressed. (Less so when I brought home a horse from the pound & proved him wrong when he said it was a goner.)  From Rana the rotti I learned to not buy into the hype on anything. She was a goof ball that loved to grab mudbugs as they crawled out and eat them…totally crazy. If there was one word for her it would be “Play”.  Sasha is “old” by Saint Bernard standards…she’s teaching me age is a number, she’s still all puppy-ish and so not ready to play by the rules.
      Today marks a year since I had to say goodbye to my furry friend who taught me the most. Daisy owned us for a decade. I teased Ed that she liked him better, but, she was my salvation. We found her running the streets with her mama and a stray terrier. Not long after we found mama dog on the road- she lost to a logging truck. I pulled in the driveway and told Ed to snag her, and what had happened. That afternoon we bought her a crate and a collar and got bowls, a ball, food and made a vets appt. for her. I expected the worst-instead we found out she was about 5 weeks old and perfectly healthy.  She knew sit, shake, and went to the door to go out. She also learned ‘high 5’ real fast. She taught me to laugh at the silly things when I was so depressed and missing my family & home-I didn’t want to deal with anyone. Really, when there’s a puppy digging in a dirt pile and all you can see is dirt flying and a waggedy tail going like a furry metronome until she’d come up all sandy nosed and bouncy…you had to laugh.
       Daisy taught me that I really didn’t need the crust on the bread- even though I liked it, or pizza crust, or the last bite of anything. She taught me that bananas were really yellow puppy treats and not something to make bread with or for Ed to snack on. She loved the puppy ice cream we made and would sit, one paw on whoever held the cup and lick it with her eyes closed- like she was savoring every bit of it. Daisy loved to go for a ride and Ed’s gator became the Daisymobile.  She loved to dig and the wild blueberries of Michigan… sadly she never got to have any of ours here. Without having any training, she seemed to know when the nightmares had returned and would bark from her kennel, next to Sasha…which normally would have set her off- but never did. Just hearing her would bring me out of it. I lost track of the number of nights she sat at my feet as I plugged away on my Master’s project after everyone else had gone to bed. She also listened to more papers and stories than anyone else had. The day we lost my brother I was home alone when I found out- she climbed in my lap and whined as I sobbed into her fur. She had the softest ears- one stuck out like Yoda.
      Daisy wasn’t a barker. If she did, you needed to go check it out—then, and she rarely took a dislike to someone, but if she growled…I got rid of them fast. I learned to trust her and always felt safe knowing she was there. She was oblivious to the kitties when they moved in…and wasn’t so sure about Squirty when he joined the family. They did become friends and he searched for her for days after she left us. I had her ashes on the mantle until I decorated for Christmas, I moved her box to my favorite book case, Squirt sat and sniffed at the box and looked back at me and whined. Tell me again how they “are only animals.”

                She was amazing and because she was, I knew I needed to find a new fur friend after she was gone. Because she put so much faith in us, I knew it was right. And it was our turn to save a pup from a who knows what. Chance has been with us 10 months. He was sitting in a cage at the shelter and had this look like he needed a friend. I’m learning to trust him…and nothing against him, but if I could have Daisy back-I’d do it in a half a heartbeat. I think in some ways he knows he has big paws to fill. How he came to be there- we have no idea. He has so many fears, I can only imagine what he went through. At the end of November he figured out what play really is and engages as often as he can. He makes me laugh daily and he’s turning into a good alarm system and I’m seeing how he picks up on the tiny things. I think him and Daisy would be great friends & that’s how it’s supposed to be…they taught me that.