It’s been weird for me to take such a long break from blogging. Usually, I find solace in writing, but for the past month or so this hasn’t been the case. I knew I needed to update all of you wonderful readers (at least the ones who were patient enough to stick around), but I just didn’t have it in me.
After 16 happy years, Miss Desi has passed away. We adopted her when she was 1-2, and I was just 8. Since then, she has been an irreplaceable part of the Smith family. She has played the role of a loyal friend and dutiful guardian. She has made us laugh and made us cry. She was my best friend at a time when I had very few, and I always called her my ‘other sister’. Michael even says she’s the dog who made him a dog person.
I couldn’t have asked for a better childhood companion. It was incredibly difficult watching her age. My respect for my parents has grown tremendously. They worked so hard to make her comfortable and brought her back from the brink on multiple occasions. It was only when she seemed to be in pain more often than not that they followed her into the back room of our vet’s office for the last time. As difficult as it must have been watching her take her last breath, it would have been harder on her to die alone. I cannot thank them enough for being there for her. I know my sister and I wish we could have been, too.
My mother actually sent me some of her own thoughts to post – something I never thought she’d do. My parents have always struggled with my willingness to share my life online. So, for them to show a very vulnerable part of themselves on the blog is incredible to me. But I believe it’s a wonderful way to honor Desi’s memory.
From my mother:
Good bye to a dear friend…
Recently we had to say goodbye to a beloved member of our family. She had been a friend and constant companion for 15 years and we would like to share something of our wonderful friend:
Top 10 Things About Desi:
1. She was a kind and gentle soul
We chose to adopt Desi from the Humane Society because she was such a sweet and loving dog and to her dying day she never stopped showing her appreciation. She never snapped at anyone and was happy to share with everyone. She treated everyone with kindness, respect and tried so very hard to please us all.
2. She was so smart
We could show her a trick and within a couple of tries she would have it. She seemed to be able to do anything we asked and had an amazing repertoire of things that she could do on command. (In all honesty, we ran out of ideas of tricks to teach her long before she was too old and tired to learn them.)
3. She loved to play with the kids
One of her favorite things to do was to climb the ladder on our girls’ playground fort so that she could see over the privacy fencing. Occasionally someone from work would tell me they drove by and saw her sitting up there all by herself just watching the world go by. When she got tired she would just come on down the slide. Sometimes, when she was out playing with the girls, she would slide down and just plow right over them on the slide because she was so much faster. One time they came in complaining because they were trying to play hide-and-seek with their friends and Desi kept pointing out the hiders to the seekers.
4. She loved to dress up
Some of our fondest memories are of her on Halloween. She would either “dress up” and trick or treat with our girls or she would “dress up” and pass out candy with us. Every time the doorbell rang she was up and trotting to the front door. She would greet all the children in her gentle way and even the smallest of the trick-or-treaters would pet her and giggle. The costume never came off until the end of the night when we took it off. Near the end when she could no longer hear the doorbell we would tap her and tell her each time they rang the bell and she would jump up and trot to the door happy to see the children.
5. She loved people
She never met anyone she didn’t like and expected them to like her, too. She would always go out of her way to go over to another person to say hello.
6. She liked to tease us and had a sense of humor
I know some people don’t believe that dogs can think at a higher level but I swear she would tease us at times. We would tease her by touching her paw (she really didn’t like it when you messed with her feet) and she would pretend to ignore us. Then when we looked away, she would come over and bat at us with that same paw. When she would do something slapstick we would laugh at her. She always took it in stride, never got mad and almost seemed to be sheepishly grinning herself.
7. She loved going places
She was always ready to jump in the back of our SUV and go. One time we had the car packed completely full with the exception of a small space of about 2 square feet near the roof. Before we could stop her, she jumped 5 feet straight up and squeezed herself into that spot while we stood around with our jaws hanging open. At the end when her back legs were not working very well we would lift her in and she would get so mad because she wanted to do it herself.
8. She loved having her picture made
No matter what she was doing, if she saw that you were taking pictures she would stop and look directly into the camera. She would stay in place and pose for a very long time as long as you were taking pictures of her. It made it so much easier to do “family photos” or even pictures with other dogs because you knew you could count on her to “ham it up”.
9. She was an “easy keep”
She was happy to eat whatever you fed her, was very rarely sick and never complained.
10. She was very calm and easy going
Nothing ever seemed to faze her. Other dogs might be freaking out at the summer thunderstorms we get here in Florida or the fireworks that are inevitably set off every July fourth or New Year’s Eve and she would just look at them and seemed to be saying “What’s your issue?” My mother asked if the move we made within the last year bothered her since she was pretty much deaf and really couldn’t see all that well. I answered that she took it all in stride as she had always done even though it must have been much more difficult in a strange place without all of her senses to rely on. I believe it was because she trusted us to watch over her.