Monday, March 12, 2007
Goodnight, Sweet Girl
Well, I think I've been here before. Today, I had to put my dog Stella down. For those of you who were around last year (like there's anyone still reading - bah), you may remember that I had to put my Ben to sleep last year. Well, good old Stella managed to hang around and keep me company for an entire year longer.
Stella and I didn’t have as long together as Ben and I did. When I lived in Chicago, I got involved with a lab rescue group and began fostering labs. I went through about 35 labs (give or take) – some of them were fantastic dogs…..and some of them made me want to make little lab fur slippers out of them.
And then, there was Stella. Stella came into rescue at about 12 years of age. She had been running around south Illinois as a stray for at least a year before the local vet’s office could corral her. I picked her up and pretty quickly thereafter decided that she was the only foster that I just HAD to adopt. She had scars all over her. We don’t really know from what but it was clear she’d had a rough road and I decided she needed me.
When she came into my house, she was known to be a “breast cancer survivor” and probably only had a little while longer to live. So I figured I would provide a nice, safe home for her passing. I was all warm and fuzzy from my magnanimous gesture as I saved yet another “poor” dog.
Well, bah. Stella was from the hood and she wasn’t down with that. She came into the house and immediately scared the ever-loving shit out of Ben. She took no crap from nobody. She taught the cat that he was a lower life form and let Ben know that his penis didn’t impress her (and considering the whole neuter issue, she wasn’t far wrong). She’d seen tough times and living in suburbia wasn’t it. She was top canine and the house better come to accept it.
She insisted on sleeping on the bed with me and Ben. So, of course, I had to get a king size. She and Ben would sleep on either side of me and end up stretching the covers so tight that I couldn’t move. God forbid, they ever tough each other and sleep on the same side. I was uncomfortable but the two of them provided a lovely snoring, chainsaw chorus.
A few weeks after I adopted Stella, I was at a Pet Fair with Stella and the lab rescue’s booth was right next to a pet psychic. (Yes, I know – pet psychic – but it was cool and it was free – so bah on you). Ms. Pet Psychic did a little reading on Stella and asked if there was anything I wanted to know. I asked her to Stella to stop chasing the cat. Stella responded that she “thought she was doing pretty good since she hadn’t eaten him yet”.
That cracked me up. Still does frankly.
She loved tennis balls but was too good to chase them for you. You threw it once; she caught it and then proceeded to shred the crap out of it in 5 minutes flat. The only ball that could stand her destructive tendencies was a soccer ball. She would carry soccer balls around with her everywhere – each of them in various states of decomposition. Ben hated the fact that she would dare destroy a perfectly good ball but if she could have formed the one finger salute with her paw and flicked him off, she would have.
Eventually, she and Ben became friends. She mourned quite a bit when he died. Somehow, that made me feel better to know she missed him too. The POD and I focused all our attention on her, hoping to make her a just a bit happier. In turn, she kept us jumping as well. Over the past few months, she trained me to get up and get her treat anytime she wanted it. I kid you not. She would whine and paw at me until I got up to let her out. Well, she wouldn’t need to go out and since I was “standing by the treats anyway”, I might as well give her one. It took me a while to figure out that her entire intention was simply to manipulate me to the treat jar. Well played, biyatch, well played.
My little “going to peacefully die in my do-gooder home within a few months” baby lasted for an entire 4 years with me. She developed a body that closely resembled an ottoman and banged her food dish if I was ever a little too late with breakfast. She developed a cough which quickly became accompanied with a trumpet that blew out of her ass each and every time she hacked. It was both deadly and deadly funny.
She was probably around 16 years old which is freaking ancient for a lab. When Ben died, I asked her to not to leave me for a while. I told her I couldn’t lose them both in one year. Well, my sweet girl kept her promise and lasted one more year and one month.
And for that, I will always be grateful. Good night, baby girl.