For the last few months, I’ve been missing my dog terribly. This isn’t anything really unusual, because I’ve missed her every single day since she passed away about 14 years ago at a fantastic old age. But recently I’ve been missing her even more. I miss her big brown eyes, her soft black nose, her giant ears that made her look like a fruit bat and her thunder paws. And because I have so many good memories of her, I’d love nothing more than to bring another dog into our life.
The problem is that I have serious allergies. I can’t even go in the homes of people who have cats and my time has to be limited in homes with dogs. This really breaks my heart because I love dogs, cats are cute and stuff, but I love dogs more than almost anything else in this world. If not for my allergies, I know I would have been a vet and it really breaks my heart that I could not follow that dream. Sigh.
We got Hager, my old German Shepherd, when I was 16. She was black and tan and my dad bought her for me at the SPCA as a birthday gift. I thought it was great, and loved her from the moment I picked her out of the litter at the SPCA. (I think there were actually 1 or 2 puppies, but litter sounds better!). My dad was driving a topless jeep and I held Hager so tight I’m surprised I didn’t break her ribs. I was terrified she’d jump out of my arms and onto the road! My mom was not impressed when my dad dropped me off at our apartment with a little black bundle of poopy joy. Hager spent her first night In a cardboard box with my hand hanging down inside to touch her, trying to keep her quiet and calm. We weren’t moving to our new house until the next morning so the timing was probably not the most convenient but it didn’t matter to me, I loved that dog so much.
By the time I was old enough to leave home (19), the house had started to collect cats, and my allergies to cats became extreme and I developed allergies to dogs as well. So it meant my visits to home, and my dog, had become less frequent. But Hager was always happy to see me and (according to my mom) start jumping up and down, before I even drove up to the house. Somehow she knew I was on my way. My mom and her husband had a rental place out in the country that they would spend weekends at. I’d come out and sleep upstairs in one of the old dusty bedrooms and Hager would sleep on the small bed with me, which was great because it was really cold out there. She’d curl up to my back, nearly pushing me off the bed, and was like sleeping next to a furnace ( a very furry furnace that farts and snores). We could be kilometres away from the farm and somehow she would know that we were close because she would start to freak out in the car. I could barely get the door open before she was out of the car bounding through the grass or snow, depending on the weather.
The best memories of Hager take place at the “Farm” – she really loved it there. She would run and run and run but never very far from the house. She would chase, and sometimes catch, skunks and spent a lot of time in the bathtub as a result. She never had an encounter with a porcupine, as far as I know but loved chasing anything she could find. There was a slew that we passed on our way through the woods down to the lake and without fail Hager would be in that dirty, stinky, green water splashing around merrily. And shaking it all off on me, of course.
In the winter, we’d go Cross Country Skiing and Hager would run along beside me, or through the trees, scaring the birds and digging her nose through the snow to snuffle for food, or maybe truffles. More often or not someone would end up face down in the snow because she’d jump on the skis and bring us to an abrupt stop. She was such a character – so loving, so happy and so talkative. Dog speak, of course, I have no idea what she was talking about.
For a while my mom lived out at the farm full time and Hager was in heaven. She didn’t need to be chained up or in a kennel because she never went anywhere. She hung out at the house waiting for people to come home, with the occasional detour to the small slew in the field on the property (the non stinky one).
As time went on, my mom and husband stopped spending time at the farm, but by then Hager was getting so old that she couldn’t run very far anyways. Her snout got grayer and she started to have problems with her hips so walking was difficult for her. She was always delighted to see me when I came to visit and would almost knock me over she’d press against my legs so hard with her large furry body.
The day that we took her to the vet to be put down was one of the hardest of my life and I’ll never forget it. Holding her paw while she got the injection and then holding her while she took her last breath was heartbreaking but I wouldn’t have missed being there with her. She came into my life being held in my arms, and left the same way.
I don’t know that I really have a point today, other than to say that I really miss my dog and I want another one so bad that it hurts. And it upsets me SO much that there are people in this world who have dogs who do not love them, treat them kindly or look after them . Ok, so let’s make this my point today – if you commit to looking after something whether it be a dog, cat, lizard, gerbil, fish or snake or HUMAN BABY! LOOK AFTER IT and LOVE IT or let someone adopt it who WILL!
Ps – this is why my hubby and I now have 5 bearded dragons and a frilled dragon. We want to save ALL the critters!