Libby 2002-2013 Libby was a supreme athlete with a heart of gold. The photo of her playing with two different balls sums her up perfectly. She came to us because the person that owned her mother was trying to get rid of the puppies instead of sending them to the pound. We accepted her sight unseen. She had a hernia, demodex mange and part of her ear had chewed off when the mother dog was cleaning her puppies. She came to us at a profoundly small 2.4 pounds! Suddenly our 10.9 lb and 24 lb dogs seemed enormous. Tippy was such a saint he took her under his wing and let her take out her puppy energy on him. She would run up to him and chew his ears, he’d turn away, then she’d run around to the other ear, he’d turn away, and so on. Sometimes she would run under him from one ear to the other. When she wasn’t chewing on her sibling, she liked to chew on shoes and chew the legs of wooden furniture. One of my co-workers said his dog stopped chewing everything in sight after he bought miniature tennis balls. That almost happened for us. They were instantly her favorite toy. She had her own rules for playing however. You could throw the ball to her and she would almost bring it back to you, but not so close to you that you could pick it up and throw it to her without having to get up to go get it first. She also liked to bring them back to the couch you were sitting on, but instead of bringing it to you, she would stick her ENTIRE head in between the cushions and stuff the ball deep into the couch so that you would only know it was there if you watched her put it there, then she would turn and look at you impatiently waiting for you to dig it out and throw it for her. We had a New Year’s Eve party once and the adults took turns throwing the ball for her. After 5 hours, she was still willing to play, but it was all of the humans that didn’t want to play anymore. In that case, she would stand on the couch, drop the ball onto the couch where her foot made an indentation, then lift her foot so the cushion popped back up, causing the ball to go bouncing across the hardwoods. I’m telling you, Libby wanted to play with the tennis balls 24/7. She nearly did for 11 years! She played with the balls until the felt literally came off, and even then she would toss the yellow felt pieces. She took the balls to bed. If she lost one in the covers, she would chew through sheets and blankets to reach her ball instead of just going under the covers and bringing it back out. It was embarrassing the number of sheet sets we have that have miniature tennis ball-shaped holes in them! Our friends knew why so they didn’t mind. She was afraid of the most random things and brave at unexpected times as well. She was afraid to go for a walk if a plane was flying overhead, if any package was sitting on our front porch (especially if phone books were delivered that day!), and she was afraid to pick up her tennis balls if they rolled past the air vents in the floor. She was brave enough to go into the surf at the beach when our other dogs would not, and she trotted around in art galleries and all over Aspen on a stop of our road trip. She hasn’t done that before or since. She loved the trails in Crested Butte, CO. Six weeks after Klunkers died, we thought Libby was depressed at being the only dog. We took her to the vet and they diagnosed her with kidney failure. She got lactated ringers for 11 months. She was definitely a Daddy’s Girl and she passed away the Monday after Father’s Day. She definitely hung in there on purpose.
Bella 1990-2006 She is the reason I am a dog person and she is my first roommate. This tiny 10.9 lb lady made my house a home. She may have been small but she was capable of everything she wanted to do. I got her when both of my brothers had Dobermans so she started out tough. She got out of my parents’ fenced backyard every time we put her there. My parents set up a video camera and discovered she was CLIMBING the fence, not digging out of it! When visiting my Granny once, I clipped her to Granny’s outdoor leash. I came outside later and she had chewed through the leash but was still sitting under the shade tree where the leash was located. She did not like to be controlled at all. Even when she was in my apartment, she loved to sit on the back of the couch and watch everyone go by outside the window. She would decide that she did not want to go for walks anymore, and she would stop walking and flip over on her back. You would have to pet her until she would stand up and start walking again. She would literally let you pull her leash with her laying down and she would not get up. She used to carry her Milkbone treats out with her for walks and bury them in the apartment complex. Once I thought she was digging up one of her bones, but it was a dead squirrel that she brought into our apartment! After our wedding but before our honeymoon, we came home to take wedding pics with her and Tippy. She went on trips with us, but not that one. She did not like riding in hotel elevators. She would jump up on the door just before it was going to open. When we moved out of state, she rode on the dashboard of our UHaul and 18-wheelers honked at her for the hundreds of miles of our journey. One day I came home and her back legs were just dragging behind her. I rushed her to the emergency vet. They said she would need surgery and could not guarantee she would walk again or survive the surgery. My instincts kicked in and I said make her comfortable for the night and we will go to our regular vet tomorrow. The regular vet put her on pain killers and anti-inflammatory medicine after doing x-rays. $180 for that plus a few acupuncture and massage treatments and she had 3.5 more years of running around enjoying life and ruling the roost here. When people would meet all of our kids, they would assume she was not the oldest because she was so spunky. Our nickname for her was Sparky because she always had so much energy. She had urinary stones removed regularly, a luxating patella, and once was diagnosed with the slowest growing, least invasive cancer, and it was remedied by just removing the tumor. She was basically healthy all 16.5 years except the last 3 days. I took a day off work after she passed because she literally changed my life for the better and I needed to process that she was gone.
Tippy 1994-2009 This rare gentle heart is Tippy. Three different vets in three different towns asked us to make him a hospice dog. He was that gentle, but I don’t think he would have handled the emotions very well. When he was born he was black with white or brown tips of his toes, tail, chest, chin and eyebrows. The Schnauzer part must have taken over at some point because he looked like this most of his life. Someone stopped me on the street and asked his name. When I said Tippy, the man misunderstood and said “Hippie? Cool, he looks like a Hippie”. The college made him one of the faces of their vet school. Tippy and Bella went with me to bring your daughter to work day in 2001. He loved to do freestyle dancing and loved to sit up on just his back two legs then balance his front two legs in front of him. He could sit like that forever. He was injured as a puppy so his back leg was never really straight. He had a luxating patella and frequent urinary stones. He eventually had to go on insulin. In a terrible twist of events, I was out of town for work in 2009 and his pancreas quit working. I wanted to leave immediately to go be with him, but the vet said it is painful and the most kind thing to do would be to let him go now. I talked to him on speakerphone but it is not the same as being there and supporting him in that difficult time. I pray that he knows I would never leave him like that intentionally. Part of his legacy is Libby. She came to our house as a hyper ball of energy. Tippy would let her wrestle with him even though he was 24 lbs and she came to us at 2.4 lbs. She was so small at that time she would chew his ear, run under his belly, chew the other ear, and so on. If Tippy was lying down, she would chew one ear, run around his body to the other ear, and so on. He taught her to calm down. People that met our kids would always remark that they had never met dogs that didn’t bark before. Bella taught that to Tippy, and he taught that to Libby. Maybe that started because Bella came to us with a cat?
Prancer adopted 2004-2005 I have never met a human or animal that loves life as much as Prancer did. She exuded joy in every single moment. One of my favorite memories of her is bringing home 10 dog toys from Target. I set the bag down and moved on to something else. Prancer sniffed out what was in the bag and one by one, she took each toy out of the bag and carried them into the living room. We had toys with price tags on them all over the floor. She is profoundly bow-legged so it was hilarious watching her run from toy to toy and hop around playing with her favorite ones. The photo above is part of that moment. Prancer and Klunkers were part of a package deal at the rescue. When we first brought her home, she galloped around the yard every time we took them outside. She loved to run. I still had my film camera then, but I will look for this great photo of a huge smile on her face when she was running across the yard. If there was anything that she could jump over or climb on, she would use it as her agility course. She came to us with patches of hair missing. Turns out she had Cushing’s disease. She took a pill once a week that helped that. Someone was not nice to her at some point because the end of her tail was bent at a 90 degree angle. I wanted to take my parents on a once in a lifetime trip out west. Dad passed away before we could go, so my husband and I took my Mom. We had a friend’s wife that was going to watch our dogs while we were gone. She did not notice that Prancer went from 16 to 11 pounds in 2 weeks. We flew home at night and I was scheduled to do the Atlanta 2 Day Breast Cancer walk the next day. My husband rushed her to the emergency vet. I should have just gone too. I called every hour and maybe slept 2 hours that night. The vet said she was an old dog at the end of her life. We had just adopted her 13 months earlier and the rescue said she was 3 years old! We were not prepared to hear this. The vet tried to flush her kidneys in order to give her more time. They kept her 3 days trying to save her. We picked her up and she was so full of water that she sloshed like splashing water in a tub on the way home. She stayed with us that night and we were supposed to take her to our local vet for a re-test the next morning. It was supposed to tell us how much fluids we would need to give her daily. Unfortunately she failed the re-test pretty badly. Her body was producing toxins faster than they could be flushed out. It was time to say goodbye. We just did not get nearly enough time with this precious soul. By trying to spend more time with my parents, we missed out on more time with Prancer. It hurts that we thought we were going on a once in a lifetime trip that would mean wonderful memories, then we came home to this heartbreaking moment. She was only with us 13 months and we missed her last two weeks by being away and we missed an additional 3 days while the vet was trying to save her. We only had a few visits those last three days. I am haunted by wondering if she thought we left her in her time of need. I am comforted that she spent her last night under the covers like normal, curled up next to me. Before we left for that trip, my Mom watched the dogs while I was at work. She called to say Don’t panic, but I think I lost Prancer. Now, they are indoor dogs and my front and back yards are fenced so losing her would be hard to do, but I was still concerned until we found her. I instructed her to double check all of the beds because Prancer liked to burrow under the covers and just sleep there all day. Sure enough, that is where Mom found her.
Klunkers adopted 2004-2012 Losing Klunkers was a particularly devastating thing. It is still hard to talk about and it has been 3.5 years now. I will share more about him I promise you. He is worth remembering.