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My first dog that I remember
Room in the heart for more
I know in my heart that there will always be a dog in my home until the day I die. Why? This is one question I cannot answer simply. It’s not just the companionship, there is much more to it, it seems to go deeper.
I have had several good dogs, several great dogs., and even 1 ’bad’ dog (this I did not understand). They all have a place in my heart, it’s amazing how much love the heart can hold! Everyone of them seems to have filled a purpose in my life at the time they were here, yes even the ‘bad’ dog.
I have been told “Why get another dog, they will just die, causing you grief.” Yes, this is true. If we hold our love within, and never give it away, we will never know how it feels to receive. I choose to open my heart and let the love flow through me, giving as well as receiving. I think it makes me a better person.
There have been no particular ‘types’ of dogs that I have had the pleasure of being allowed to care for, they came in all different breeds and sizes.
Chee-chee came into my life as a very small girl, she was a white poodle, ‘miniature‘. That is not to say she was small, I was told she was 1 inch from being a ‘Standard’, whatever that means. I didn’t care, she was a dog and very pretty. I have since learned she was not exactly white, she was considered apricot, even her skin was pink. Her nose was pink, and I loved to kiss it. Her ears were longer than most, with the hair being wavy rather than curly. Just a hint of apricot color blending about halfway down, getting slightly darker toward the tips.
She was more my Mom’s dog, because mom took care of her more. She made sure she was fed and watered and of coursed groomed. As I grew older, Mom allowed me to participate in her care by feeding and grooming. It involved brushing the tangles out of her ears, they were very long and her ears were tender so I had to be careful. We shaved her face, rather than keep the ‘mustache’ that some are fond of. The rest of her body was shaved as well, except the top knot on her head and the puffs at her ankles and tail. After she was finished grooming she would prance around wanting everyone to tell her how pretty she was.
She didn’t like to be left home alone, and she showed her displeasure in an unusual way. She would get under any piece of furniture and dig the thin material until it was shredded. No matter how much she was scolded, she had to shred. Finally, Mom could take no more and just took off all the fabric off the furniture from underneath, rather than have it just hanging.
As we both got older I learned that yes, you can teach an old dog new tricks. We practiced and I taught her how to shake, this was something to behold because she didn’t like her feet touched at all. Sit, stay and lay down were also within our repertoire of tricks. Of course fetching was a must, so it too was taught.
There was one thing that we were never quite able to break her from, so we learned to live with it. When my Dad got home from work Chee-Chee would become so overjoyed at his return home, that she would tinkle on his shoes. We tried and tried to break her of this, she just loved Dad so much that it was inevitable. So Dad learned to live with little spots on the toes of his shoes. It wasn’t so bad, he knew this dog loved him beyond all measure.
As she got older she decided I was the one to sleep with, the end of my bed became her bed. I enjoyed the company and she enjoyed the comfort. Her bones got older and the hard floor held no appeal for her.
Chee-Chee had always been house broken, so I should have taken it as a warning when I would get up for school only to step in a pile of goo in the hallway. Rather than get her in trouble, with Mom and Dad, I just cleaned it up and went on my way. To me it seemed obvious, someone forgot to let her out before bedtime. Or quite possibly, she just couldn’t hold it any longer. No matter, that was the joys of having a dog.
As I grew up, she grew older. We had moved and were planning on moving again within a few months. Dad had bought some property and we were going to build a house. We took Chee-Chee to the ‘new’ property to show her where she would be living soon. Her steps were slower, she didn’t run through the weeds like I expected her to do. Dad decided to have someone mow down the 5 foot tall weeds so she could traverse them more easily, and of course keep the briars out of her fur.
What I didn’t see that my folks did, she was old. No other way to look at it. She was 10 years in human life, that (according to the specialists) made her in the 70’s, in dog life. They somehow knew she wouldn’t live to see the new house built. Her piles of goo in the night were coming more frequently, I finally had to tell my Mom about it, after Dad stepped in one.
Mom took Chee-Chee to the Doctor. It was bad news, it was cancer and to such a degree there was nothing that could be done. She was told to take her home and make her as comfortable as possible. If there was a mess that was made, we all just pitched in and cleaned it up. We got to keep her through Christmas and into the New Year.
In January her steps began to falter, she could no longer get up. Mom said “It is time”. I was at school, I think Mom did this so I didn’t have to see what was happening. As Mom told it, it happened this way; She carried her into the Doctors office, because she could no longer walk, people thought she had been hit by a car. Mom was crying all the while, this was a job she did not want to do. She knew Chee-Chee was in pain, and as a loving person, could no longer bear to see her this way. Mom sat with her while the Doctor administered the medicine, and watched her quietly slip away.