We had gone to the public park to play our weekly league tennis match and decided to take our little “Snocker” dog (half schnauzer, half cocker spaniel) with us so she wouldn’t have to stay home alone. Her name was Smut and we had lost her companion dog about 3 to 4 months back and Smut was beginning to show signs of stress from being home alone all day while we were at work. We noticed that the local animal shelter had set up an adoption center just a short walk away from the tennis courts so when my match was over I walked down to see the dogs, never intending to adopt one. Of course we did. Otherwise I wouldn’t be telling you this. There was a gorgeous 2-year old black Cocker Spaniel that I fell in love with. And since we had Smut with us I went back up to the tennis courts and brought her down to introduce her to the cocker. Instant dislike. But there was a pen set up with a mother and puppies that Smut kept going over to. And one puppy in particular. So we took this teeny tiny little black and white puppy out of the enclosure and Smut licked her face. A partnership was born that lasted until Smut’s death. The puppy was part rat terrier and part Chihuahua and part who knows what. She was white with big black spots on one side and little tiny black spots on the other side and a big round black bulls-eye encircled her white tail. I can still see her running down our driveway with her tail wagging in a circle framed by that bulls-eye. She was never a pretty dog, her bottom teeth stuck out at funny angles, her head had the distinctive Chihuahua shape and was smaller in proportion than the rest of her body – we couldn’t keep a collar on her since her neck was larger than her head and she could get a collar off with no problem at all. And she was all “attitude” and heart. Never a lap dog, she didn’t care at all for being picked up and cuddled, but she did enjoy sitting next to me on the sofa. And she never warmed up to anyone other than Gene and me.
In the last few years she had become totally deaf and arthritis made getting up and down our stairs a chore. So we carried her up and down the stairs (she wanted to sleep on her dog bed in “her” bedroom). She couldn't jump up in the living room chair and stare out the window watching for anything that moved. Moving around became more an act of will than a natural act. And finally, last night, the arthritis overwhelmed her will and she could no longer get up and move about. So this morning we had to make the painful decision to put her at peace. She loved us with all her heart for all 17 years of her life. My life has been richer for her having been a part of it. And my heart is broken.
Joy Journal: Today, I feel no joy. Only pain and sorrow.