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A Faerie's Farthing

Flitting through the internets looking for sparkly bits. All content mine and not to be reproduced without permission.

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Saturday, December 24, 2005

R.I.P. - Best. Dog. Ever.

R.I.P. - Best. Dog. Ever.

I had to put my baby down today. Okay, she was 14 and not technically a "baby," but you know how it is with pets. She was recently diagnosed with oral cancer and things turned south real quick. You always know it's an eventuality, but you're never prepared for it. But this is not about being sad. This is about what a wonderful dog she was. And she was the greatest.

Since both of her parents were mutts, I've always figured that made her a purebred mutt. The best description would be border collie-lab-setter. And she had the best of all those worlds. Even as an adult dog, her hair was luxuriously soft and so very wonderful to pet. Here is a picture of her at roughly age 9 wearing bunny ears.

She was a spoiled little beastie, but she deserved it. I really did get extremely lucky - you never really know how a puppy will be as an adult dog. But she was just the sweetest, happiest thing. People always commented that she smiled a lot. I actually had her trained for off-leash really, really well, so I took her most everywhere with me. It was always heaps of fun. The best thing, though, was when I would ride my bike down the street and she'd run along with me on the sidewalk! We both loved the hell out of that.

We hiked a lot, too; she was a great hiking dog. She'd always run way ahead of me on the trail (or off of it - she loved hikes) and would then poke her head back around the corner to make sure I was still catching up. Secure in that knowledge, she'd tear right back off again. And so we hiked.

She also loved water. The first time I ever took her to a lake, I could barely get her leash off before she was jumping in. She would fetch a stick from halfway across a river and swim back to you with it. She definitely preferred rivers and lakes to oceans though; not really sure why.

Even though I've always considered her to be the quintessential dog, she did have some very un-doglike habits. She was never one to stick her head out of car windows to slobber in the wind. Thank goodness. She also loved fruits and vegetables of all kinds, which I fed her often.

This all started when I was trying to train her as a puppy. If you've ever been through dog training, you know that "stay" is really a very abstract thing and one of the hardest to teach. One day, though, she was doing it perfectly and I really wanted to reward her with one of her carob treats, but they were in the other room. I knew that if I left her field of vision, all would be lost.

As it happened, the only thing nearby was a canister of raisins. I figured they were small and brown and sweet; maybe she wouldn't notice. So I gave her two or three and told her what a good "stay" she was doing. She scarfed them right up without a second thought. Later, I gave her a few more just to see if that was a fluke, but she ate those too.

So I was really curious to see what else she might like and made a point to always test new fruits and vegetables. I think about the only things she ended up not liking were lettuce and mushrooms. She actually didn't go for as many fruits as she did vegetables. She liked apples, pears, strawberries and pineapple well enough, but her absolute favorite was cantelope. I always gave her my rinds, making sure to leave a few healthy bites on them for her. For hours afterward, I would find shredded melon rind all over the place, most of it scraped as clean as dog teeth can get it.

Over the years, I learned that she was moody about cucumbers and zucchini, sometimes eating it, sometimes dropping it in the middle of the floor. Tomatos were one of her favorites; she definitely liked organic romas the best. Her other favorites included pickles, avocados, red peppers, asparagus, peas, all kinds of beans and carrots. She LOVED carrots.

But I think her favorite of all would have to be broccoli. It had to be steamed though; she wouldn't touch it raw. I'm sure that dog ate more organic broccoli than any human I know, except myself. I couldn't think of having broccoli without sharing some with her. She would smell it steaming and not leave the kitchen - by the way she acted, you'd think I was cooking steak.

It was a wonderful 14 years. Pets are truly good for the soul; she taught me so much. I already miss her.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your sweetie is waiting for you at the Rainbow Bridge. I think ALL dogs love veggies and fruit, people just don't know it. I have an 11 year old Basset who LOVES bananas, carrots and apples. My lab mix (kind of looks like your baby) is 9 and would live on raw brocolli and any other veggie I have. I used to work at PetSmart and used to hand out carrot sticks to dogs...the owners always looked a little confused, hehe.
My thoughts are with you, but know that your baby had it good, and knew it!
Kify (from DailyKos)

8:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know which is worse: not having critters or having them pass on.

7:10 AM  

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