When Daisy found us
When Daisy found us
By Tony DeLorger © 2011
We drove for an hour to the breeder’s home in the north-eastern suburbs of Adelaide. When we arrived we were introduced to the father. He was the biggest Staffordshire terrier I had ever seen. He looked like a Sherman tank on legs. A metre wide at a glance, he had a chest that looked like a weight-lifter’s six pack. He was black and his head square, no visible neck. Actually, this dog was frightening. When he walked down the hall, we simply got out of the way, because sure as hell he wouldn’t go around us.
‘The puppies are out the back,’ the woman said, and we followed, my youngest clutching tightly to my leg. Out in a shaded, enclosed back area there were about eight Staffy puppies, excitedly bouncing up and down as if on springs. They were absolutely manic, but the most beautiful little pups, soft and so exuberant, with big feet and thrashing tails.
James, who was to be the recipient of one of these bundles of life, was in puppy heaven but a bit overwhelmed by their manic behaviour. Like a herd they pounced on us, leaping and clawing. I knelt down and tried to calm them, James clinging to his mum’s skirt. The pups surrounded me, one even got onto my back. ‘So which one do you think, Jamie?’ asked mum. James smiled and pointed.
A few feet beyond the pack stood a very quiet puppy, lovingly smiling with her eyes, and tail wagging vehemently. She was black with white feet and chest. ‘That one?’ asked mum. James nodded. I gently picked her up and she licked my face. She was so much calmer than the others, and was certainly a great choice. That’s the day Daisy found us.
We had Daisy for nearly fourteen years. She passed on from a brain haemorrhage in July 2010. James is now twenty-two years old, his younger brother sixteen, and not a day goes by that we don’t think of our Daisy. From a breed that is supposedly bred for fighting, Daisy was the most, patient, obedient, loyal and affectionate dog that anyone could have.
She couldn’t be in a room with you unless she was in physical contact. She would often sit on my foot and lean against my legs, occasionally looking up and smiling as Staffy’s do. Her favourite scratch was behind her ears, and often in the blissful pleasure of it, she would fall over with a thud. Staffy’s also are double-jointed in the back legs, which means when they lie down both back legs can lay out flat behind them. Sometimes she would drag herself with her front legs over the grass to scratch her own tummy. What a character.
When Daisy would sit, her back legs would splay out most inelegantly, at least for a lady, and that never bothered her. As dogs do she used one back leg to scratch her ears and the side of her neck. Often, after the scratch, her leg would remain upright. This was commonly called the salute. I once walked into the lounge room and found Daisy asleep in the saluting position, her paw tucked neatly under her top lip. If only I had a camera in my hand.
When she was younger, we would throw lemons to her from our lemon tree, which she would catch, ultimately open and then sneeze from the juice. For exercise, Daisy would run around the back garden with a large stick in her mouth. It was a triumphant run, like she just one a world title. Her daily exercise created a distinct path where nothing grew.
And she was tough. Daisy, although a less square physique than her father, had a muscular body and a tolerance for pain. She once finished a run in our back laundry, skidding on the cement floor and collecting a brick wall with her head. She simply shook it and walked off as if nothing had happened. She broke every blood vessel in her eyes and looked like a demon for about a month. Staffy’s have hard heads.
I’ll never forget this bundle of joy. She was a part, and will always be part of our family. She loved us and we loved her and we will never forget her. Out the back door sit’s Daisy’s kennel, filled with her pillow and a half eaten bone sits outside next to her water bowl. My sons won’t let me move anything, and I understand. None of us want to let go of Daisy, at least not yet. She will live on forever in our hearts.