The oldest memory I own is the day we got our puppy, Mitzi. I was not quite three years old but I distinctly remember taking her to my grandmother’s to show her.
Mitzi was with us until I was 17. I was sick and home from school the day she passed away and that was my first introduction to the sting of death. She was the personification of why I believe every child should have a dog. She was sweet, loving and if it is possible, she was a humble creature. Mitzi was definitely an ‘outside’ dog and really did not like coming in the house except when it stormed and the 14 or so years we had her, she was definitely part of the family.
Fast forward to about five years ago when the idea of getting a dog for the girls started percolating and I received a call from a friend who knew the status. She called me and said, “I know you told me you are just thinking about a dog but there is a ‘Jackapoo’ at my vet’s office and she is up for adoption.”
Since I work from home, it was easy to sneak out and try to see the puppy on my own. However, for some reason, that did not happen. Lane met me at the veterinarian’s office and when they brought out Coco, she was shaking like leaf and before they could put her on the table, the directive was set. “We are not leaving this baby here.”
Since Mitzi was an outdoor dog, I grew up thinking that is where they belonged. I was never much of a fan of indoor dogs and was determined that Coco would carry on Mitiz’s fine tradition of keeping our back door free from intruders, twenty four hours a day.
To make a long story short, we brought Coco home and she went from being an outside dog, to a ‘she can be in the basement only’ dog to sleeping on our bed that first night dog. I caved like a house of cards all in about five hours.
Coco was a special dog in many ways. She not only melted my heart but renewed the love my parents had for our beloved Mitzi as well. I will never forget how Coco would greet me when I had been away on business for a few days. She would spin like a top until I could reach down and pick her up. I will never forget how she would love to share a nap with me, in my lap, on my big ‘Daddy’s Chair’ on Sunday afternoons.
We lost Coco a few years back and I still miss her terribly. I have a picture in my office of her sitting in the garage, looking up the road just waiting for Lane and girls to come home. I took it with my Blackberry on a whim and have no doubt it is one of the finest photographs I have ever taken. It has been said that ‘Dogs’ lives are too short, which is their only fault, really.’ and that was truly her only one.
I believe I made it about a week before I knew what I had to do. I had to get a new puppy. No dog could ever replace Coco but I knew that a new one could replace that new ‘dog shaped void’ in our lives. So, once again, I headed out the door just to look at puppies and once again, I was an easy sell.
Two years ago this week, Sophie moved in with us and the joy that little pooch has given me is immeasurable. Instead of spinning, she likes to stand up on her hind legs ‘reaching’ for me. Like Coco, she loves to play tug of war’ and chase her rope ‘bone’. She loves to chase any life form larger than a stick of butter and has successfully kept our home free from all direct chipmunk, squirrel, deer and/or bear attacks and for that, we are grateful. Like everyone else under this roof, Sophie is not without a nickname or two and I am so thankful God has blessed us with our little ‘Choochee’.
Today was a pretty tough day but now that it is almost over, I will try to bury that which I don’t want to carry over to tomorrow and I will spend a little time with Sophie before turning in. In doing so, I am reminded of the old saying that one reason a dog can be such a comfort when you’re feeling blue is that she doesn’t try to find out why.
Happy Birthday Sophie…