Princess - my pet, my child, my friend
New Addition to the Family
My sister-in-law was trying to create a new breed of dog, I had seen her first litter of pups and just knew I had to have one of these, but my time had to wait until the next litter, these were all spoken for. The Mother was half Malamute and half Timber wolf, the father half white Shepard and half Husky. They were beautiful dogs, the females would have slim heads while the males had boxy heads, about half of each litter were white, the other half black. I wanted a white one.
On January 26, 1993 my girl was born. I got her about 3 weeks later, she was just the tiniest thing. Little did I know the impact this ball of fur would have on my heart, my mind and my life. I’d had dogs before, but none had ever found a way into my heart like she would, she would become my 6th child, my teacher and my best friend. My youngest ‘human’ child was 6 months old at this time. Every year on her birthday we would celebrate with her favorite, cupcakes.
My middle child who was 3 ½, decided her name should be Princess, since everything was Princess at that time in her life, we complied. As do most dogs she grew quickly, potty training seemed to go smoothly as well, until we got green carpeting. I suppose she assumed it was just a large piece of grass that didn’t grow, just for the soul purpose of her potty time.
She was solid white, and I soon found out white dogs attract fleas, and according to the Vet, were terribly allergic as well. Her hair started disappearing by her tail, I called the vet and he examined her, gave her a shot of steroids and explained to me that I needed to use some good medicine to keep the fleas off of her. This was something we would always battle.
My Princess during her later years
We're havin' some fun now!
She grew and so did her antics. Escaping seemed to be something she strived to perfect, and in this she became a Master. Apparently she thought I enjoyed this game as well. She would wait until my attention was diverted, since I had 5 children running around this was ‘easy peasy’ and out the door she’d go. It was nothing for the neighbors to see me out calling for my dog, at all hours. When I’d get near her she would come up with a new game, which I think she called it ‘chase me’. She’d wait until I got within 5 or so feet of her then she’d run off in another direction, her tongue lolling to the side of her mouth, head looking at me. I could swear she had a smile and was laughing at me. After all, she knew she could run faster than I, she had 4 legs while I only had 2.
As with most dogs, they like human company, Princess was no exception. She hated to be left alone. One time I had to go away for the weekend, I left her at home in the care of a friend. My friend got busy with her life and sort of forgot to take care of Princess. I came home to what was left of my couch, and the biggest mess I had ever seen in my life. My neighbors were getting ready to call the police, fearing that I had died in the house, with all the howling they figured something must be wrong. I was amazed, I’d never experienced a dog that ate a couch before. And she was still just a pup, I wondered what she would do when she got bigger.
I decided, after many attempts at walking her and almost losing my fingers to her trying to chase squirrels, while on a leash, that it was time for obedience training. I expected her to be as willful as always, but in this she showed me she really had been listening to my tutelage. We got to class and she was the best behaved animal there. She did all the things they were teaching, the instructor even asked me “Why is this animal here, she doesn’t need training?” This was not the first time she would amaze me with the things she did, and it definitely wasn’t going to be the last.
She showed me that all it took was a little encouragement from me and she could drink from a drinking fountain, no bowl was needed with her. I loved taking her places, she always seemed to be on her best behavior when we were out in public, people fell in love with her on site. Those that were afraid of dogs were shown quite quickly, by her, not to fear her. She did this little submissive thing, that had even the most fearful, getting a tongue washing in minutes. I never understood how she did it, but I trusted her and so did everyone who came to see us.
Growing - Her or me?
When she came in season I thought it would be a great time to breed her. My sister in law brought over her male, he was excited to see her. She refused his attentions. It was hard for me to comprehend this at the time, but she just continued to sit every time he got near. She was refusing to be bred. I did some studying on wolves and their behavior, because she was ¼ wolf, I felt there was something to it. I soon discovered all about Alpha’s in the pack. As far as I could tell, she saw me as the Alpha female, she was the Beta. According to the books, Beta females will not allow themselves to be bred until the Alpha is no longer breeding. What an interesting discovery on my part. Of course she had no way of knowing that I was unable to ‘breed’ anymore, since I’d had my tubes tied.
I still had my ’time of the month’ and with this was to come a new discovery. If I forgot to take care of the trash in my bathroom, she would get into it and make a mess everywhere. I thought that it was just something she couldn’t help, maybe the smell drove her to get into it? It took a few years to discover that this just isn’t true. One day I had some running to do, each trip was only a few minutes, because the trips were so brief I’d left her at home, returning between each. On my first time back home I found a pile of 'doody' right in the middle of my dining room, I put her outside, thinking that I had been remiss in my ownership duties. I brought her in and left again, returning within 15 minutes of leaving, yet again I found a pile of 'doody' in the same spot. This pile looked… well forced is the best word I can describe. I felt that she was trying to tell me something. I put her outside once again, to let her in as I was about to leave. Returning in just under 15 minutes I found a different sort of surprise. My time of the month had came and went, the trash was taken out, but the opened box of tampons was left sitting in the bathroom. She had went in there, gotten the box, brought it out to the dining room and proceeded to unwrap and shred all of what was left in the box. I looked at her, looked at the mess and started laughing. It’s all I could do, apparently this was not the desired results she was expecting. She looked so shame faced, and upset. This particular antic was never repeated, not even during ‘my time’. I suppose she was just telling me that she wanted to go for a car ride, and didn't want to be left alone.
One of her roughest times was during her 3rd year, we had moved to the other side of the state, into a townhouse. In planning our move, I had insisted we find a place that allowed dogs. I had made a commitment to this animal, and I was determined to keep it. I had to keep her tied up and was diligent in this, no more escapes for her. She had to be tied up, on a short chain, this did not make her happy. Our neighbors were not exactly nice, they never really got the chance to know us. Apparently she did a lot of barking when I had to run to the store, this I did not know. If they had taken the time to tell me we could have avoided the following that was to happen. I tied her out for her usual morning time, after about ½ hour or so I went to let her in, there was blood running all down her legs beginning from her shoulder. She had been shot several times, I called the police. They came and it was determined that it was from a pellet gun, there was no lasting damage other than psychological to both of us. Instinctively I knew who had done it, rather than make accusations that I knew wouldn’t hold up, I politely mentioned to them that they might want to keep an eye out for their dog as well, there seemed to be a crazy person around who was shooting at dogs. Her chain was short, only about 12 feet, theirs was the only door in which the shots could have come from. I had no ‘back yard’ neighbors close enough to shoot her. They moved shortly after that, so there were no more incidents like this.
During this time, at the complex, the kids discovered that Princess had an excellent sense of smell. They would try and hide from her in the house and she would find them. Our other neighbor had a very old and blind dog, she got let out and was left unattended, and in a short time she disappeared. They were distraught, and went door to door asking if anyone had seen their dog. I thought to myself “If she can find the kids, then maybe she can find this dog”. I offered her services to them, they brought out a toy that she laid with. Princess gave it a really good sniff and with my son on the other end of her leash, they were off and running with Princesses nose to the ground. About an hour later my son and his friend returned with Princess and the neighbors dog. The poor animal had gone about a mile into some woods and brush and was exhausted. The family was very relieved that their pet was returned to them.
She proved herself useful once again when there was a missing child in our neighborhood. Mari was 8 years old and under the supervision of her sister, while her mother was at work. Sometime during the day Mari had disappeared, the kids came to my door asking for help in finding her. They brought one of her shirts for Princess to smell. On her leash again, she drug my son around the complex and kept returning to Mari’s doorstep. After about the 5th time, they decided to open the door and let her in, they found her safe and sound upstairs in her bedroom sleeping. The kids treated Princess like she was their very own hero! After that, she always got hugs from visiting kids, they no longer treated her a ‘just a dog’.
After our 1 year lease was up, we had to move, we needed more space. We found a big farm house with 95 acres not far from where we were living. On our second night there, Princess showed me that she had not forgotten how to escape. She disappeared quite fast, and must have had a place in mind that she could not hear my piercing whistle, unless of course she just wanted to ignore it. I heard thumping around on the enclosed porch, and thought she had returned home, I went out to see if it was her. Something flew up at me, it was furry, and managed to scratch my hand. Of course I screamed and ran back inside. I looked at the scratches and cleaned up the one that looked fairly bad, afraid of infection. I had no idea what had attacked me. Princess returned home about an hour after this. I scolded her and told her that something got me, if she had been there she could have protected me. I then showed her my hand, she gave it a good sniff, ignoring the cleaned scratch and going for the unclean one. She sniffed it so hard I thought she was going to inhale my finger. The next morning bright and early she again made good her escape. This was going to get old fast I thought. A couple hours later she returned home, this time she looked different. Her beautiful white fur was covered in blood, from head to tail, I checked her over for injuries, there were none. She looked as though she had killed something and whatever she killed she truly enjoyed it, yuck. All I know is I never had anything jumping around on the porch again.
Additions to the Pack
The only animal that Princess ever had a problem with was mice. We had gotten the girls some mice for Christmas as pets, she would stand over their cage and drool, wanting desperately to eat them. When my son wanted a rat, I thought she would be the same around them. His rat just happened to be pregnant when he bought her from the pet store. She had 9 babies, and they were quickly separated to prevent more babies. She treated the rats as if they were family, gave them kisses with no thought of eating them. Our house was old and from time to time I could hear mice, she quickly dispatched these. One night I was wakened to a sound, very similar to that of a mouse, I got the sensation that it was running up and down my body, I nudged Princess (of course she slept with me) and told her to ‘get it - get the mouse’, she didn’t move. Finally I got up and turned on the light to see what the disturbance was. One of the rats had gotten out of it’s cage and was sitting nearby looking at me. She knew better than I did, she wasn’t going to eat her pal.
I decided that I needed a Guinea pig, his name was Cookie, he and Princess became fast friends. I would leave his cage open and he would come out and play with her, she was always gentle with him, letting him run all over her. She would give him kisses when he nuzzled her nose.
Sometime during her 5th year she decided I was no longer producing children for her to baby-sit, a wandering male decided she looked ripe for the pickings. I nick named him ‘Ugly Dog’ because he was really not pretty. I chased him off every time I seen him hanging around the yard. She didn’t ‘sit on it’ this time and she became pregnant. She gave birth to 5 lovely pups, and ‘Ugly Dog’ now became ‘Romeo’. From time to time he came to visit but I still chased him off.
I decided that if I was going to help my sister in law perfect this breed I was going to have to get a male. I put in my order for the next litter. King came to us at the age of 4 weeks. He was white, but more of a creamy color rather than the solid white of my Princess. He grew quickly but seemed to have a problem understanding the concept of outside. His body grew faster than his bladder and my carpet was stained with what I termed ‘wizzle’, that is urine that comes out as the dog is running. Circles, lines a drips were embedded in my carpeting. I informed Princess that I got him for her, he was her mate and she needed to help me potty train him or he would have to go, I was giving her 1 week to get him trained. She seemed to understand my directive, within 5 days he was trained. She did this by going to the door every ½ hour and asked to go out. I’d open the door, King would bound out go potty while she watched, they’d both come back in. I was amazed, she actually seemed to know what I had said. What a girl I had!
My husband came in one day with a baby raccoon, it’s mother had abandoned it during the destruction of a building nearby, the other 2 babies had already died. We named him Rory - The raccoon. Princess decided that he needed mothering, and she did her best, she even tried nursing him. We did our best by Rory, but he did not survive without his momma.
From time to time the kids would bring in wild animals, Possums, ground hogs and anything they could find, all of them babies. In the home she seemed to differentiate between inside and outside. Inside the house, the animals found a warm welcome from her. Outside was an entirely different matter. Every so often, during an escape she would bring home something she felt would feed the family. I suppose she felt she was doing her part to provide. I always tried accepting the gift graciously, as much as one can accept a dead animal placed at their feet.
During the summer months it became a game for the kids to see who got up first. Whoever was first up, got the morning bath that Princess provided. All the child would have to do is lay down next to her and she would begin the washing up process. Starting at the face, she would wash away the dregs of sleep, then moving on to the hands and arms, continuing until the tickling of her tongue would cause them to burst out in laughter. Each and every one of my children got at least one ‘Princess’ bath per week.
When King became old enough, Princess and he mated and had 7 wonderful pups. They were all white. She made an excellent mother, she took very good care of her pups and allowed anyone to view them, provided she was petted first. Though they had no papers I was able to sell these pups.
Protection at it's finest
I was the Alpha, she was the Beta, I’m not sure where everyone else came into the picture, but King was somewhere at the bottom of the list. One morning I had gotten the kids up, ready for school and we went out to wait for the bus, before the bus came I knew I was going to be sick. My head was pounding and I could feel the vomit rising in my throat. I went into the house, and just laid down on my bed. Princess gingerly got into bed with me. The pain was so intense I wanted to call an ambulance, but couldn’t get off the bed to do so. I remember the first jostling my bed received, I opened an eye and seen that it was King trying to get my attention. I groaned at him, unable to move, Princess gave him a severe warning growl. Later in the day, King again bumped my bed, this time Princess came to my defense in a manner that I have never seen her do. She leapt off the bed and went after King, she was telling him in no uncertain terms that Mom was not to be disturbed. I managed to survive the day, and of course so did King.
Only one other time did she feel the need to show her protectiveness, I had to be somewhere else so this is how it was retold to me. My friend was at my home watching my children, about 3 am some men came knocking at my door. There was a pretty bad ice storm outside and they wanted to use the phone. Princess got in between my friend and the door, and emitted a growl that was sure to dissuade even the most stubborn of possible intruders. My friend told them, “Even if I were to say it was ok, I don’t think you’d get past this dog”. They left, no harm no fowl. My friend felt very protected that night. Princess was just doing her duty in protecting her family.
Our landlord decided that it was time we move, he wanted to do something else with the house, so we had to find something and quick. We were able to purchase a mobile home and have it set up in a nearby park. The downside to this was we would have to find homes for our animals. Princess was the choice I made to keep, she had been with us 6 years and I could not do without her, our cat Satin was also coming with us. I put an ad in our local paper and soon King found a new home, as did the other animals. I would miss them, but I had no other choice.
After we were all settled in, we discovered Princess was pregnant for the last time. She had 8 wonderful pups and when they were old enough we found them homes. I was sad to see them go because they were part of King as well.
I’m not sure if it was age, or she’d just out grown it, but Princess finally quit trying to escape. She was content to be let outside, do her business and come back in. Every now and then she would get a flea, she would lose patches of her hair, and a quick visit to the Vet and she was all fixed up again. Though the kids were growing, she still liked giving them morning baths.
As it happens, conflicts with people will arise, I am not any different than the rest, no matter how I try to avoid it, conflict manages to find me. One morning I let Princess out for her usual business, and in a short time called her to come in. She didn’t respond. I went out looking for her, it had been a long time since she took off and I was surprised. I looked all over the neighborhood, getting into my car driving around. I had no luck, I was heart broken. The day passed, the kids went out looking for her, she was not to be found. I called the shelters to see if someone had called or brought her in, they had no answers for me. Early the next morning I began my search yet again, I went up to the nearby convenience store, the lady there said she had seen a white dog running down the road the day before going toward our home, but had almost gotten hit by a car and she lost sight of her. She said that she seen the dog being let out of a van, in the middle of the road and described the van to me, yes I knew who it was. It was someone I had conflict with. I was angry, but my first priority was finding my girl. I had told everyone I knew she was missing and to be on the look out for her. I had to go to work, I was the manager of a store and I needed to be there. On my way I received a phone call on my cell. My friend was following my dog! The pound had her in the back of their truck and she was looking out. I quickly turned around and went to rescue her.
I was able to retrieve her for only a $20 charge, since all they did was pick her up. They explained that she had sat on someone’s porch day and all night, they hoped she would be found or would leave, and when she didn’t they called. After I picked her up, I stopped by their house and thanked them for calling, I was glad to have her back. I was to later find out that the reason she was let out of the van was the destruction she was doing inside of it. Apparently when she realized she was being taken away from home, she started tearing things up. The reason they took her? To hurt me, and it did, more than they will ever know. She was not only my pet, she was like my child and how could anyone take a child away from it’s mother?
Free at last
I needed to get away from people! We found some property and were able to put a home on it, there is 4 acres, plenty of room to run. She was happy out here, for a while, as the saying goes "nothing good ever lasts". The fleas got to her and we spent a lot of time trying to get rid of them. One of our neighbors had a Great Dane who liked to sleep in our yard, I didn’t mind so much except the Dane had mange. From what I understand mange is very contagious amongst dogs. As it would happen Princess did get mange. After many trips to the Vet, he finally told me there was nothing more he could do for her. The shots no longer worked, she needed to gain strength back, if she could do that then her body could help fight off the effects of the mange.
I refused to give up on her. I changed her food, in the hopes that a better dog food would help give her strength. I spent time on the internet looking for different ‘cures’, ordered items that would work for a short time. I’d give her baths in smelly solutions trying to kill the mite that was deep in her skin. She lost most of her hair, and had gotten little pustules on her skin, that from time to time would break open. The kids complained of her odor, I never noticed. I just wanted to help my girl. She was there for me all these years, I had to be there for her.
We plugged on, she continued to tolerate all her baths, even if she did get a little sad. She would lick the tears from my cheeks as I cried, knowing the baths caused her pain. At night she would groan, I tried telling myself it was just arthritis, that she was getting old. Every time my parents came to visit, they would tell me that I was doing her a great injustice keeping her with me. I would cry and tell them to stop talking about it, she would be fine. I just needed more time. We could get through this.
Finally the day came when she had almost no hair at all on her body. Her head and her back still had hair, but the rest of her was bald. At times she felt feverish and seemed to shiver from cold, yet her skin felt hot. She’d spend most of her nights groaning now, I knew she was in pain. I was helpless to do anything about it. My parents came over on a Sunday in February almost 12 years to the day I got her. My Mom said what I was doing wasn’t fair to her, she was in pain and her Doctor could end her pain. I told her I can’t do it! I just can’t, I love her too much. They knew Princess and had witnessed many of her antics and all of the good things, they loved her too, and they could see she was in pain. My Dad said that he would take her the next day.
The next day arrived too quickly for me. I got up in the morning and couldn’t find Princess, I thought my Dad had come for her and didn’t tell me. I went into a panic looking for her. I finally found her in my youngest daughters bedroom, something that she had never done. She was covered up with a blanket. I woke her up and gave her a hug, I knew it wouldn’t be long before Dad got there. She went into my son’s room as if to say goodbye, he worked nights and was sleeping. The other kids were in school, they wouldn’t get to say goodbye.
Dad arrived and Princess seemed to know what was expected of her, she even got a little pep in her step as she voluntarily jumped into the back of his truck. She always did love to go for car rides. After Dad left, I realized that I didn’t get to give her that last bath, I called the Doctors office. The lady there talked me through it, said what I was doing was the right thing. I asked her “How come it doesn’t feel right?”
After it was all over, Dad stopped back by to tell me that he had sat with her during the entire process. He said she was a good girl and she just went to sleep, no more pain, no more suffering. I was glad that she had someone who loved her to sit with her, since I was unable to do so myself.
The things I learned from loving this beautiful creature were; appearances can be deceiving, good can be bad and bad can be good. Just because I don’t appear to be listening, doesn’t mean I’m not. There is always room in my heart for more, and lastly family always comes first.
Since she has been gone, it seems as though a piece of my heart is missing, I wonder how long this will last, it has been 5 ½ years and the pain in my heart is still as fresh today as it was that Monday in February.