The Black (or Onyx) Pearl

Pearl all grown up
Pearl all grown up
Daniel and Pearl
Daniel and Pearl
Coraline and Pearl
Coraline and Pearl
Nina and Pearl
Nina and Pearl


Sometime between finalization of Coralines' adoption and my father’s illness, our family dog passed away. “Susie” suffered a mysterious injury to her spinal cord and became paralyzed soon after. I had no choice but to have her euthanized. It was devastating. I nursed this pup when she was rejected by her mother at the age of 3 weeks. Susie was probably a Shar-pei, Lab, and German shepherd mix. Anyway, she was plenty cute when she was a puppy, and I loved her when the cute part was no longer important. My daughter Ivy thought we should get another dog. I resisted this idea of another dog because we just had too much going on, and a puppy would require too much work. In spite of my protest, Ivy went online searching replacements for Susie. I refused to look. Ivy knew that if I saw a puppy, I would want to bring it home and she kept trying to tempt me. She was relentless. The following weekend, our family went to the hills to a rescue facility for lab puppies.

The puppy I did not want to see was a clone of Susie, except that she was all shiny sleek black instead of tan. The rescue facility was a small ranch with dozens of black lab puppies in a covered pen. A hard sided wading pool sat in the corner for water. Many, many puppies were yipping, wagging, running and jumping on the hard packed dirt that made the floor of their pen. We were warned to be careful as we opened the gate as all the puppies would run to the gate to greet puppy lovers coming to see them. I told the woman in charge we needed a temperament that would tolerate endless handling and affection. She pointed to a puppy with a kinky tail. It was assumed that the tail got misshapen in the womb and matured in that form. The kinky tail was a very distinguishing characteristic; it set her apart from the other black puppies. I picked up the puppy with a kinky tail and kissed her soft snout. I put her up to my shoulder like a baby and she laid her head on my shoulder and buried her face in my neck. I had no choice but to let my children hold our new puppy and I had to release her.

Daniel, Coraline, and Fritz’ only experience with pets was with our dog Susie. I wanted them to know the happiness of a warm puppy. I also thought because all of my children had different origins, a pet that we came to know at the same time would be a great equalizer.

We left with our kinky tailed puppy. She immediately fell asleep between Coraline and Nina and stayed asleep as we drove toward home for more than an hour. The girls’ constant petting and stroking did not disturb the pup. After an hour or so, we stopped for fast food. I stayed in the van with the sleeping puppy. The noise of children exiting, talking and doors slamming did not wake her. When they returned, the rattle of bags, and opening and closing of car doors had no effect on the sleeping dog. I began to wonder if the dog had a hearing problem. Ivy purchased an extra cheeseburger (plain) for our puppy. We continued home and our puppy did not stir.

Suddenly, a breeze carried the aroma of cheeseburger and French fries past the dogs’ nose. It must have been a strong breeze because she became airborne. All four legs spread out like a squirrel that flies. Then, as a pelican diving for a fish in the sea, the puppy dove into Coralines’ bag of food. Coraline screamed. Nina screamed. Daniel and Fritz looked on in horror, thankful that the black dog bird was not stuck in their food bag. Only the hind legs and kinky tail were visible. As Coraline and Nina screamed, Ivy climbed back and separated the dog and the bag of food. A piece of soggy lettuce hung from her mouth like a green tongue. Our canine bird of prey was not able to get any food except for a lettuce leaf with mayonnaise, some of which remained on her nose. Coraline put her sandwich back together and said she could still eat it. Ivy climbed back to her seat holding the hungry puppy and found the extra cheeseburger and fed it too her in little civilized bites.

That night, we discussed the name for our new dog. Daniel and Fritz thought her name should be “Onyx” because that was her color. I thought her name should be “Pearl,” as in a “black pearl.” Coraline and Nina wanted to name the dog after them, and call her “Coraline,” or “Nina.” Ivy didn’t really care. We agreed to name her “Pearl Onyx……..and then the last names of everyone in the family. We were going to call her “Pearl Onyx” which got shortened to “Pearl” for practical reasons.

Just as the woman at the ranch promised, Pearl has had an unlimited capacity for love, attention and handling.




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Comments 17 comments

Katharella profile image

Katharella 5 years ago from Lost in America

I'm so sorry about your sweet doggie! :( I know there is no way to comfort your heart, but bless Ivy, as she tried to do so! Children are so grand! I miss them in my life. I'll miss my little girl Rottie, she's almost 6 years past her life span. I had to demand and sign to get the all night vet to ex-ray her back, more than what they would have done to avoid a lawsuit! I didn't care of the cost, I would sell all I own for my dog.She's my whole family. My only family. Later the vet told me he was glad I did that because they found more of a curvature in her back than they'd thought. Luckily I got her weight down, so it's not too much to lug around for her, but I'll soon walk your path! I'll think of you and I'll write about her, and post her photos and I've only made, I think one hub of her so far, because I know her day is near. I'll need that to help me mourn, but when I got her, I knew going in, that I would out number her days. I had to have my cat of 15 years put down, and I held her as they did. She gently went to sleep and I kissed and loved her little noggin'.. but she was too old to walk and everything was shutting down. If it be any comfort, know you weren't selfish like I was and kept her beyond her time just because you weren't strong enough to do what was needed. I wasn't that strong and that was 10 years ago and I still regret I waited too long. *hearts*


Anne Pettit profile image

Anne Pettit 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

I can see your dog is as important to you as ours is to us. I will be looking forward to reading more. Thanks for your comment and such a nice note!


Katharella profile image

Katharella 5 years ago from Lost in America

My girl does the same face as Pearl in the first photo.. that "I need a treat now" look! Even if it's a hug, to them it's a treat! Yes, sorry for the loss of you little babe! *hugz*


Rosir 5 years ago

Sounds like a pretty little Pearl! The kinky tail is just the cherry on top of her sweet personality!


epigramman profile image

epigramman 5 years ago

..what a lovely, beautiful and life affirming story ..... my two cats are my best friends - Little Miss Tiffy and Mister Gabriel - Little Tiffy is the diva in my picture - and I really enjoy your writing style - it says so much about the special person that you are - and so very nice to meet with you - I live on the northern shores of Lake Erie here in Ontario, Canada and thank you so much for the nice endorsement just now - that really made my day !!!


Anne Pettit profile image

Anne Pettit 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thankyou. I am trying to write poetry. I have never written poetry before, and yours holds my attention.


epigramman profile image

epigramman 5 years ago

..well Anne - just write from that beautiful heart of yours, be yourself and the mind will always follow .....


Katharella profile image

Katharella 5 years ago from Lost in America

Anne, exactly what epigramman says.. when it comes from your heart, your mind and (type or pencil) follow it! And remember there aren't old school rules to poetry. Shakespeare kind of put a rhythm on some that I think helps, iambic pentameter, it's really not anything other than "a consistency of words" if you will. BE YOU, be inspired by others. :) I suggest you get one of those school note books that you can write and skip a line for fixing above and below when you need to fix, then you can rearrange until you are happy with it. Please try, it'll be good for you, even if you never share it! I've kept a diary/journal since I was a kid, and it just evolved. (now some are silly, some are serious, and some just thoughts to clear your mind) I invite you to read mine of "I miss you just come home" it's not really a rule follower, but my point was definitely made. You can do that as well, anybody can really. Put your heart on your sleeve, it will come out :) *hearts*


SUSIE DUZY profile image

SUSIE DUZY 5 years ago from Delray Beach, Florida

The loss of your pet is devastating.


Anne Pettit profile image

Anne Pettit 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

It was, and thankyou for reading my hub.


CASE1WORKER profile image

CASE1WORKER 5 years ago from UNITED KINGDOM

you will certainly have your hands full there!


Anne Pettit profile image

Anne Pettit 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

I was definitely pressured by the one who knew me best. However, I have never had to "bathe" Pearl. That is taken care by her other owners. Thanks for the comment.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

Hi, I am so sorry about your dog, I lost mine a few years ago and cried buckets! but what a lovely little puppy, they are so sweet at that age, and once you pick them up, you just don't want to put them down! lovely story, cheers nell


Contrary Mary profile image

Contrary Mary 5 years ago from Wake Forest, NC

My dogs are the only children I've ever had and to say goodbye is a most dreadful thing. I simply can't imagine being dogless! When my 2 current "kids" move on, I will not hesitate to adopt again, even knowing I will have to say goodbye all too soon. I get SO much more then I can give and I'm willing to trade some pain and grief for the privilege.


Anne Pettit profile image

Anne Pettit 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

OOOOOOOh, I just love dogs sooooo much!


tonymead60 profile image

tonymead60 4 years ago from Yorkshire

Anne,

great hub, I like hubs that are personal and let the readers into the world of the hubber.

voted up and buttons

I'm on a mission to visit all my followers and leave at least one comment.

with respect Tony


Anne Pettit profile image

Anne Pettit 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

What a terrific idea!

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