"Those are the moments that I think are precious to a dog - when, with his adoring soul coming through his eyes, he feels that you are really thinking of him." ~ John Galsworthy"D' is for dogs, among others in our life have been a trio of divas named Dottie, Dixie and Daisy. Two came into our lives over twenty years ago, they stayed through ups and downs and provided times of joy as well as extreme angst.. and then within a span of six weeks, both were gone. Daisy came into our life just over two years ago and though she is more elderly than we thought, she quietly shares our space and lives to be with "her" people. All three were rescued...
Dottie was found while we were looking for a lost dog... another beagle, Barney. He dug out through the thick red clay of our Oklahoma yard and with his nose to the ground.. he ran, right into a car and was found four days later in a deep ditch several houses down from ours. I had plastered his picture all over the place, even at the local SPCA as he lost his collar in the escape. We saw Dottie, a small beagle pup who had been dumped at the side of a road, when we went to pick up Barney's picture at at the SPCA. It was the first of July and a long holiday weekend coming. I learned that the puppy's time was up and she couldn't be held over the weekend so the euthanasia was set for that evening... and I couldn't take that. So, Dottie came home with us. She grew and grew and ate and ate and eventually became one of the fattest beagles I have ever seen.
Dottie was a master at escaping as well but not that great at finding her way home. How many times did we search the neighborhood after the move to Mississippi... until she and her partner in crime.. Dixie.. came running out of the woods.. happy as clams. The end was quick... a tumor in her chest, ascites in her abdomen that made it hard for her to breathe... she only showed signs of her illness for a few days. I remember that she looked serene and grateful as she took her last breaths in my arms and licked my hand. Fifteen years together.
Dixie was Dottie's partner in crime most of the time... if she wasn't trying to start a fight with her. Two females together, even if no hormones were involved.. just caused friction at times. It wasn't always so. But I get ahead of myself. Dixie was wandering the streets of our Oklahoma neighborhood looking for her person, the one who took all her tags off a too small muddy leather collar and left her on her own. She was afraid of men and boys.. always. She would run up to my truck and then see that it wasn't who she was looking for and run away. Finally, the hunger overcame the fear and she came home with us. She became Barney's best bud and the night he was killed, she must have seen it happen. She came back into the yard and I found her sitting at the back door, wailing when I got home from a meeting. After we found his body, she sat on his grave and cried. Then Dottie came and she had a friend again.
Dixie followed Dottie everywhere, even after the day of the "big fight". As with all fights, it was over something small.. getting paw prints in the new concrete dog patio. After that it was a bit touch and go with them... sometimes they would feud for days and make us think they would never be able to live with each other again and while we thought it best to feed them in separate areas from then on, in their air conditioned/heated doghouse... they peacefully got along.
I always thought Dixie would leave us first. She started showing her age and lost her hearing and then her sight started to go. Dottie became her guide. But Dottie died first and Dixie was suddenly lost, frail and blind and unconsolable. She gave up eating and walking and six weeks later, it was hard, but time. Sixteen years together.
Daisy is my current darling doodlebug. After losing another rescue cocker, Max to cancer in 2007, I was never going to have another dog. But partly because I missed having a dog and partly because my mom was thinking about getting a tiny miniature type of dog that I could see being stepped on or tripping her or my dad... well, I started looking. Daisy is my internet dog... rescued from a gassing shelter in South Carolina with only a half hour to spare.. sent north to the B.A.R.K rescue group in Richmond and to a foster home and then posted on the internet. I put in the application and then drove to Richmond to visit with Daisy and another cocker, Simon. Simon was lively and loving and Daisy was quiet. Simon was interested in the other dogs... Daisy only had eyes for the humans. I sat down to visit and she climbed in my lap and put her head on my shoulder.. and as they say "that was that". She chose me. Oh, Simon also got a home that day.
I have discovered that the nestling of the head on the shoulder is her thing with most people she meets. She loves elderly people, sits quietly beside them at the nursing home, patiently waits for pats and offers her paw. She doesn't bark. She can bark, I've heard her on occasion when she chases squirrels, but it has been a year now since her last vocal bark and it would probably scare me to death if she did. She is older than they first thought and her energy is low.. good for a home with two 80+ residents... and she has some heart failure but is perfect for we couch potatoes. She doesn't mind baths, loves the cats (that love is not reciprocated) and isn't bothered by my snoring. I hope several more years together.
As for the daughter, well.. she has grown up. In the pictures above, Nyssa was three and a half (that "half" always seemed so important when we were little didn't it?). She grew up with Dixie and Dottie. Now, she is almost 25 and off on her own. Daisy arrived after Nyssa left for graduate school... she calls the dog "her replacement". And now Nyssa has her own rescued pup... but her name doesn't start with a "D".
So, "D" is for daughters and dogs and for the daily doses of delirious delight and the occasional dastardly distress that come with them. I couldn't live without either.
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ABC Wednesday Round 8 ~ "D"