Friday, April 25, 2008

Goodbye my beautiful little girl.

I knew her even before she was born. Danny's maltese poodle, Rags, got herself pregnant with 5 pups. 4 boys and 1 girl. All beautiful.

Even though he was only 3 months old, Mr Toner - the ginger and white male cat Danny had rescued, watched over the pups like a protective father. Rags, the new mother, had such a lovely nature, and seemed to welcome the assistance.

The first indication that we'd share our lives, was in her 4th week of life. I asked the pups, "who wants to go for a walk?", and even though leaving the security of your mother and siblings to walk where you're not much taller than the vegetation, is a huge step, the little girl immediately followed, eager for any adventure.

My daughter , Susan, wanted one of the litter, and Danny convinced me it would be good for Susan to have a pet. I guess I'm just a pushover, because a few days before Christmas, 16 years ago, this independant, adventurous pup became part of our family. Susan named her Smudge.

Training started on day one. First our budgie, Georgie, taught Smudge that birds are more important than dogs, and deserved respected at all times, no exceptions! Georgie flew like a brick, and would not tolerate being closed in a cage. Consequently his open cage always remained on the floor so he could move around as he pleased. While Smudge was curious about this cheeky little feathered creature, she was soon put in her place. Consequently she's always been very gentle with all birds - even the Hadida's which she loved to chase from the garden. To her, the instruction "don't hurt the baby", meant she should follow the bird around, but never touch it, not even if it flapped. One bird hopped on her back causing her to go down in a leopard crawl in an attempt to escape. Her expression very clearly said "Mom! I didn't do anything, he hopped on me!".

Smudge had me very well trained. She trained me to give her chicken for dinner. She taught me to get up and open the door on command. She taught me that biltong must always be shared with her. Her ears were so good that she could be at the end of the garden, but if I touched the packet in the kitchen, she'd suddenly be standing beside me, waiting for her share. About 3 years ago I knew she had gone deaf, because she no longer heard this, even if she was in the same room. It was however obvious her sense of smell was still working perfectly!

Smudge was always a very busy dog, and seemed to have a purpose in life. She loved gardening and as soon as I dressed for the garden, she'd dance around until we went outside to start working. My job was to find stones, and throw them down the garden for her to retrieve for her little stash which she kept under a tree. The lawnmower was allowed anywhere in the garden, but she'd bark fiercly if it went anywhere near her little nest.

When we first moved into our current house the garden was a little overgrown, with the grass/weeds taller than Smudge. Chasing stones would be done springbok style, all the way to the end of the garden and back.

She was well diciplined, very obedient, and knew she'd have to go outside when I went out for any reason. She'd watch as I dressed, and when I picked up the car keys, she'd go and wait patiently at the back door while I locked up the rest of the house. She stayed in the back garden while I was out. If she were going along on the trip for for any reason, the last thing I'd do before leaving was close and lock the back door with her still inside. On these occasions she'd get so excited, she'd dance and yap at the front door, until we left, clearly saying "Yay! Let's go! Let's go!". I was always very careful not to let on that she was going along until the last minute, because when its time to go, you'd better do that NOW, not in 30 seconds. You don't keep Smudge waiting!

In earlier years she'd sleep outside at night. After sitting and watching tv with me at night, I'd say "bed time", and she'd head straight for the door, and into her kennel. As she got older, and safety became more of an issue in the area, I let her sleep inside, because she was an excellent early warning system.

Smudge only had one item of clothing - a little jacket she'd wear when it was really cold. I know she loved wearing it, because she'd trott around looking so proud. She only let you take it off when she was ready. If you tried, she'd walk forward, so it couldn't come off. However, if she wanted it off, then she'd quickly assist by jumping up until it came over her head, reverse out, then she'd do a little dance of thanks.

The end started at the beginning of this year, when she had a problem with her eye. Medication helped, but couldn't save the eye. She slowly deteriorated, until last week when she started cutting down on her food, and battling to walk. A visit to the vet, revealed that her kidney's had given in. Medication no longer had any effect, and yesterday she was refusing food and water, and was unable to stand up. She seemed to be in pain, and could hardly even lift her head. The time had come to make the very painful decision, so we made one last trip to the vet. A very sad day indeed!

My amazing, amusing, delightful, lovable and loving companion of over 16 years may be gone, but she will be remembered forever.

Thank you Smudge for our time together.


isabella said...

What a lovely tribute to Smudge!
I know I should be sorry for your loss, but instead, I am happy for the wonderful 16 years you had together!
Let's hope there's plenty of biltong(?) where she is...

Inkster1 said...

My heart breaks for you. I was looking at my six-year-old Vizsla today and realizing how gray she has Become.

It sounds like Smudge had a wonderful home, and I'm sure she will never be forgotten.

With kind thoughts from Katonah, NY.

Anonymous said...

Yes, this was a lovely post and a fitting one for your love, Smudge.

Remember, she will be waiting for you on the other side of the rainbow bridge.

CrazyCow said...

Thank you all for your kind words.

Isabella, biltong = beef jerky, and I to believe she'll have all she can eat.

Yes the 16 good years certainly take off the edge.

Jilly said...

What a beautiful tribute to your wonderful Smudge. How lucky we are to share our lives with our dogs and how sad it is when they leave us. I'm so sorry for your loss. Time will help but you probably know that. Thank goodness you were able to let her go - something we can do, thank goodness, for our beloved pets.

Thinking of you... Jilly x

Sonia A. Mascaro said...

I am sorry for your loss... I can feel your sadness... our dogs are always so loved...

What a lovely tribute to your dear Smudge.

My kind thoughts, from Sonia, São Paulo, Brazil.