Today we put our beloved dog, Daisy, to rest. I remember the day I first laid eyes on her at the Humane Society. She was 9 weeks old and was the smallest and quietest of a litter of 7. The entire litter was in the middle of the room crawling over one another and all of them but Daisy crying "Pick me! Pick me!" Daisy was a lot more subdued and looked a little overwhelmed by all the noise.
I picked her out and took her over to the quiet room to gauge her personality. She was a very timid dog and easily frightened, but also very affectionate. The sign on the kennel said that the dogs were purebred English Springer Spaniels and if it hadn't been for the little boy pup who clearly had a lot of collie in him, I would have believed the sign. But I wasn't at the Humane Society to find a purebred. Heinz 57s, in my opinion, made the best pets.
I put a deposit down on her and they tied a small piece of light blue ribbon on her so that I'd be sure to get the pup I selected when I returned to pick her up the following week. I had to wait until they did a background check on me. Except for the little boy, all of the other pups looked almost exactly alike.
Daisy and I bonded immediately, though we had a few skirmishes during her first three years. All of them my fault for not putting things away where she couldn't cause trouble. There was my favorite pair of green suede shoes that she chewed. I didn't close the closet door tightly and she nosed her way in and routed around all of the boxes of shoes until she found my favorite. Then there was the day she found the blue gel ice pack and chewed off a corner and drug it across the brand new off white carpet leaving a trail of blue gel everywhere. I had to get new carpet after she located a small worn part along the seam of the old carpet and chewed on it until there was a large hole. And she cut her teeth on the leg of an antique sideboard. We still have it with all the chew marks.
She had a favorite toy when she was a pup--a little pink rabbit that used to be my son's. Daisy would carry it when we went for her walks. She loved to carry huge sticks--some were the size of small logs--when she walked in the woods. They were heavy enough that sometimes she would almost tip forward from the weight.
I remember the day I "taught" her how to swim. A friend and I were camping at a lake and had taken Daisy with us. She loved to go camping. I tried to introduce her into the water, but she was afraid of it. So I waded into the water and called for her. She was very hesitant, but finally waded in and eventually swam to me. She never went in the water on her own, but she could spend hours swimming after her favorite toy when I would throw it in the water. She did a funny little dance when she came out of the water, wagging her little stub tail while doing a funny little sidestep. Everyone was entertained when she did this.
I was single when I adopted Daisy. When Greg and I got married, it was with the understanding that Daisy would share our bed. Lucky for me, Greg loved her every bit as much as I. I used to call her the "little romance wrecker". She insisted in sleeping in the middle of the bed stretched across it so that Greg and I were hugging our respective ends of the mattress. We were not sorry when in her old age she preferred her own bed.
Daisy was the ultimate chow hound. She would eat everything and anything. Her favorite food was tomatoes. Every once in awhile she would escape out the front or back door. If it was summer, the first places we would look for her was at our neighbors who had vegetable gardens. We'd always find her pulling the tomatoes off the vines or eating the dropped ones. If it was winter, she'd head for the neighbors who had open compost bins.
She loved to be held like a baby while I watched TV. I would rub her belly and whisper sweet nothings in her ears. She would lay in my arms for hours in a trans of pure bliss.
She was my shadow, always just a step behind me. Especially when I was in the kitchen cooking. She would sit or stand right behind me and stare at the floor by my feet. She knew that sooner or later something would fall from the counter and she could grab it before me if she stared at where it would land rather than from where it was falling from. That little trick earned her a trip into surgery. I was making chocolate chip cookies and a piece of the cookie scooper broke and fell to the floor. Daisy ate it and the dough before I could reach it. The vet tried to get her to throw it up, but no luck. We gave it a week and it never passed, so she had to have surgery to remove it.
Daisy was a very smart dog. About 4 years ago, she learned how to pop open the door to the lazy Susan cupboard where we stored cereals, grains, pastas, canned goods, etc. We came home from work to find just about the entire content of the cupboard spread all over the kitchen floor. The pasta, dried beans and noodles, and cereal packages were all pulled apart with a good bit of their contents in Daisy's stomach. From that point on, we always had to put a chair against the cupboard so she wouldn't break in.
Daisy had the sweetest personality. She literally danced with joy when we came home from work. She loved us unconditionally and we returned that love every day. It's amazing how such a small dog could fill up this house. It feels so empty and quiet without her.
But Daisy is in a better place tonight, and I know she will truly never leave us. She will live on in our memories, our dreams and in our hearts forever.
Good night, sweet girl.