From the cat who literally swallowed the canary (and then threw it up on your aunt's antique Persian rug) to the dog who ran away, we at the Stiletto Gang put our collective heads together and thought: what could be better than walking down memory lane with thoughts of some of our favorite--and not-so-favorite--pets? Join us for the next two weeks as we reminisce about the animals we loved and those who loved us.
By Evelyn David
Neither my husband nor I had ever owned a dog before so our expectations were primarily based on watching years of Lassie episodes. I thought Snickers would follow me from room to room, come when called, rescue me if I fell down a well. Instead, we got a dog who clearly considered us her intellectual inferiors. Don't get me wrong. She was a sweet animal who, when I had a baby a few years later, was as gentle as a lamb around this new interloper who pulled ears and tail. She never so much as growled at us no matter what the provocataion, but there was always a certain distance, a sense of independence. She was the first to dash out any open door. We would chase after her and she would race ahead, stopping occasionally to look back to see if we were following. Once when we couldn't find her, having scoured the neighborhood calling her name, offering treats, we returned to find her sitting on our front porch, with a look of disdain that we hadn't been able to keep up with her. We incorporated a similar scene in our mystery ZONED FOR MURDER.
I realize just how independent Snickers was, now that we have Clio, another Irish terrier. Clio too is sweet, but to be honest not too bright. At 40 pounds Clio believes she is a lap dog. She is happiest when stretched across one of us, with her belly being scratched. Snickers just wasn't that kind of dog.
When Snickers was 13 years old, she had arthritis, was going deaf, and was slightly blind. Our vet, the kindly Dr. Thorndike told us, Snickers had outlived "most of her classmates." Still I was unprepared when one morning, Snickers had a stroke before my eyes. She lost control of her legs and bladder. I rushed her to the animal hospital and Dr. Thorndike gently told me that the time had come for us to be loving pet owners. He predicted that Snickers would have more strokes over the next few days and be increasingly in pain. We couldn't let that happen. We made arrangements to have her put to sleep the next day, after the kids said their goodbyes. It was a long and emotional night, but Snickers seemed comfortable and had regained limited use of her legs. She ate very little, slept nearly round the clock.
Despite her independence, Snickers was, from the day we met her, fiercely protective of her family. So she was that last morning. My husband took off time from work to go with me to the vets. I carried Snickers out to the driveway and put her down to open the car. She stretched out on the concrete for a moment until a sanitation man came to the back of the house to get our trashcans. I watched as Snickers drew herself up, on shaky legs, and then barked with a clear message, "This is my family. I'll protect them."
I reassured Snickers that all was fine – but she watched, growling softly, until the sanitation man had left the area. We lifted her into the car and she settled back down to sleep.
The selfless, devoted, protective, let me say noble character of Snickers taught me a lot about parenting. She loved without question, if on her own terms. She was the fierce defender of this family and asked nothing more than kindness, food, and shelter in return. We got so much more.
Dogs, like people, come in all shapes, sizes, and temperaments. But what they give to their families is the unconditional love that each of us needs. How lucky we were to have Snickers in our life.
Thanks old friend.
I Try Not to Drive Past Cemeteries- Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
The Dog Days of Summer in Lottawatah- Kindle (Exclusive at Amazon this month)
The Holiday Spirit(s) of Lottawatah- Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
Undying Love in Lottawatah- Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
A Haunting in Lottawatah - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
Lottawatah Twister - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
Missing in Lottawatah - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
Good Grief in Lottawatah - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
Book 1 - I Try Not to Drive Past Cemeteries (includes the first four Brianna e-books)
Book 2 - A Haunting in Lottawatah (includes the 5th, 6th, and 7th Brianna e-books)
Murder Off the Books Kindle - Nook - Smashwords - Trade Paperback
Murder Takes the Cake Kindle - Nook - Smashwords - Trade Paperback
Riley Come Home (short story)- Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
Moonlighting at the Mall (short story) - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
Love Lessons - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords