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A Doggone Good Dog

Today I’m kinda sick of writing…it won’t last long…but, honestly, I just couldn’t pull anything out about the WIP, the editing, the contract, etc…

So I’m going to blog about my dog. Not the ones I have now, but the one who will always hold the most special place in my heart.

Gatsby.

I bought him at a flea market. He put his little paw up to the carrier just as I peeked inside. And I spent my scholarship money on him. Yes, it was my last quarter of college and I had no business with a black and white miniature schnauzer, but I bought him anyway.

Best money I ever spent (even if  you count my iphone).

He was the prettiest dog I’d ever seen with a big personality to match his stride. He covered all the ground he walked on. And he loved me like no other male ever could. I challenge my husband all the time to love me like Gatsby did. He gets really close, but the Great Gatz adored me.

I had him for five years. He wore a vampire cape on Halloween, got bones wrapped up under the Christmas tree and wore a party hat on his birthday (in January). In essence, he was my baby. Hell, we even put blinking Christmas lights on his kennel. But then I got pregnant.

I know what you’re thinking…here’s where they give him to some random stranger.

But no.

Gatsby got cancer. I was seven months pregnant when I found a lump in his neck. We took him to the vet, they did tests, sent us up to Columbia, SC to a surgeon and they removed it. It was incurable and they gave him three months. Doug and I were devastated. Seriously devastated. We cried for a whole week, took him off his science diet food and let him eat everything he wanted. What did it matter? He could have cookies and chocolate and beer. He was dying.

Time passed and we had a baby. Baby came home; Gatsby pranced around the crib. We moved to New Orleans. Gatsby came too. I passed the baby to hubbie; Gatsby snapped at him. Now we had a problem. I called my baby brother, Blake. We drove the dog up to Natchitoches to meet him. Will never forget the day I handed my old baby to my brother, so my new baby would get through babyhood without teethmarks. I was so sad.

Gatsby lived with my brother for a whole year. The day he called to tell me that Gatz was too sick to go outside will always live in my mind. Jake had just turned one and I was on the last day of vacation in Florida. I cried all the way from Destin to New Orleans. The only thing that helped was that my brother cried the whole day too.

See, there was just something about that dog. He was so special that I can’t even explain it.  There just aren’t words. He was just love. That’s it.

So now I’m crying and wished I had written something about the dang edits I have to do. Crap. But still, he was worth writing about.

So, tell me. Did you have a special pet that stays in your memory and in your heart?

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21 Responses

  1. I felt your pain in this blog. I think everyone has a pet like that.

    My first was Zeke. He died in 1994 at the age of 13. I could not talk about him or mention his name for at least 2 years without crying. He got me through my divorce. He loved me with the passion only a dog can give.

    Now I have Maggie. She’s a border collie. She turned 14 in May of this year. I never thought any dog would love me more than Zeke but maybe she does. I go NOWHERE without her. To pee. She’s with me. To shower. Yep. Her head pushes the shower curtain aside so she can look in. Out to get the newspaper. Yep. Has to water the lawn in a couple of places as we walk. When she dies, the hole inside will be size of a semi. There will be NOTHING anyone can say or do that will help. But I also know, no dog has had a better like. Food, treats, toys, travel…she had everything. Her only job was to love me, and she did her job well.

  2. I’m so glad you told me about your babies. I had started wondering if my dog post had scared folks off. I knew I had some dog people out there.

    After Gatsby, I swore I wouldn’t let another dog get to me like that. He went through some rough times with me and I think that is why he meant so much to me. I love my dogs now. I really do. But he will always hold a special place for me.

    Thanks for sharing, Cyndi

  3. Great post, Amy. I feel your pain. These little stinkers find just the right spot in our hearts. My son brought home a dog after we told him absolutley no more pets! To top it off, it is part pit bull. We were like, no way! We fell in love with him and have had him ever since. He is the the sweetest dog we’ve ever had. When he’s not chewing up remote controls or socks.

    Hugs you!
    ~D~

    • I know. How do those suckers wriggle there way into our hearts so easily? And so unexpectantly?

      Thanks for sharing.

      Sent from my iPhone

  4. My dog, Stubby, who was like no other dog, loved to run off every chance he got, despite our best efforts to keep him fenced in. He wanted to run wild and herd cats, dogs and people. Sad day when he got hit by a car.

  5. I had a dog when I was a teenager. Found her quivering in a thunderstorm. Mom said she had to go to the SPCA. The weather had other ideas and, by the time it cleared, Sheena had her pawprints firmly tattooed to our hearts.

    She saved my life. Talking to her, hugging her, knowing she loved me above all things kept me afloat despite the ankle weights life kept attaching to pull me down.

    Couldn’t take her when I married, and was at work when my sister called to tell me cancer had claimed my beloved pet. Place had no meaning. I sobbed.

    We’ve always had dogs, but Sheena still holds her place. Rogue, Gus, and Frosty all have special places as well later in life’s walk—they were mine despite the hubby and kids. Loki belonged to dh. Crystal, to youngest daughter. Now we have Wicket, Beau, and Hunter—who is pushing 15 and not doing well, but he’s hanging in.

    Dogs are so territorial, I guess it’s not surprising they leave their marks behind when they go.

  6. hey, there, Amy, don’t feel lonely. I’m here, but actually having fun with my writing today but now I simply have to stop and get lunch for kids and start them on homeschooling (I’m sooo behind) and I’ll pop back in later. Love dogs.

  7. darn, pictures, I’m trying an experiment to see if it shows up this time, if not, who knows. Heck, I tried to post to Autumn’s blog the other day and kept managing to lose the whole post, one day I’ll get this figured out. 😦

  8. Ooops…I posted under the RSS banner–I don’t know how that happened unless my tears clouded my vision. You so made me cry! I am so happy for the life you had with Gatsby and so sorry for the sadness that goes along with loving your pets. Miniature schnauzers are the absolute best. Our first “baby” was a silver and white miniature schnauzer named Precious. We had her for 12 years and no other dog will ever take her place. Ever. I grieved…really grieved when she died. She had severe pancreatitis when she was seven and we thought that would be the end, but she was a tough cookie. She lived 5 more years. Good years. As if she’d never been close to death. The last six months or so she developed kidney problems. Again, we thought this was the end, but the vet taught me how to give her “puppy dialysis” at home. She rebounded until right before we had to make “the decision”. The vet put her in the hospital a few days before the weekend, but he called on Friday to tell us she could come home for the weekend. However, he was emphatic that we call him at home if we needed anything over the weekend. Because we had a wonderful vet, I didn’t think anything about his insistence–until Saturday night. He’d always told me we’d know…and we did. As much as I didn’t want to let her go, I loved her too much to let her suffer. It was the most difficult decision I’ve ever had to make and I’ll never forget that night. Or her. And, now I’m crying again. That was three years ago. Two years ago, we adopted another miniauture schnauzer. Molly was three years old when we got her and was rescued from a puppy mill by a shelter and was unsocialized (stil is to some degree). She terrified of human contact. These past two years have been trying and having her is nothing like having a new puppy, and there will never be another Precious, but she’s a special little girl who’s had a rough life. Right now, I have enough love for the both us.

  9. I love all the dogs I’ve had and still have, but my true loves will be with my horses.

    Jack was my first horse who was bought just for me. chocolate brown coat with a white backend that was softer than any pillow ever dared to dream. When it rained and he was in the barn, he would let me climb ontop of him and just lay there for hours and nap with my head on his rear-end. He was blind in one eye, having rolled as a colt and a stick jabbed him.

    When i got him, he was barely trained, but I worked with him and he just loved it. When i got home from school, I could go to the gate and whistle for him and he would come running, from acers away.

    I grew older, cheerleading took over my life and I just didn’t have time to ride him like I used to. My parents gave him away to a friend who had kids and I hope they loved him as much as I did.

  10. Gwynlyn –

    Never thought about their being so territorial transferring to why they make such an imprint on our hearts, but I guess you are right.

    You’re always right, aren’t you? 🙂

  11. I think you got it right, Di.

    Now I can see you! And I know how it is playing catchup. I’m just now caught up. Wait. I better not say that!

  12. Awww…June. See. I just love the terrier spirit. They have such great personalities, but they can have issues and need doggy psychiatrists. We had a mini schnauzer who was so anti-social. She wanted to stay by herself in the laundry room.

    She was sweet, not mean, but didn’t really need to be with us.

  13. Keri- I love the mental picture I get of you napping on your horse.

    I guess that mean’s you’ve been pretty close to a horse’s ass and can recognize them quickly 🙂

    Sorry, couldn’t resist!

  14. Ok, I’m back. Finally. You know I was having a really good day until the kids woke up (bad mom! shh!) Today has been one of those days….re: kids. But it was such a good writing day til they woke up…. whine.

    Dogs. My first husband wanted a Whippet, goodness knows why but he thought it’d be fun to have a sleak fast dog and race her–only for fun, no pro tracks close to us for Whippets. We ended up with one that was a year and a half old and casualty of a divorce and for a while she was quite challenging. We did do the race thing for a while, drove two hours on way every week to reach an amateur club or something, with three very small boys in tow, until our car gave up. so then she became just a pet. and she turned out to be a really good dog, even though she was skinnier than me so I was jealous of her. 🙂

    By the time my husband and I divorced, she was really old and could barely walk, and though I hated to, since I was the one who was leaving and moving 1600 miles away, I left her behind. I just couldn’t put that kind of strain on her. By the time I decided I was a Texas girl born and true and couldn’t stand to be gone from my state and headed home, she had died. I think she was just waiting until I was gone so I wouldn’t have to see her die–actually she ran off and died somewhere else, first time she’d ever run off. Was very sad but not as traumatic as if I’d been there.

    Now, it seems like every stray in the world finds me. Cats and dogs. I really would like another whippet, a greyhound and an Italian greyhoud, I think that would be really cool (but might send me back to my anorexic days with three skinny dogs around), but I can’t seem to ditch the strays. At one time I had 8 dogs, 5 cats and 10 people living here. (I color my gray by the way, but you can see why I have it, right?) I finally found homes for the dogs, and a couple of cats, and two of the people, and was thinking ok, here comes my three skinny dogs, no more dogs til i get them when…another stray came up. And boy was she pathetic. Rib bones, neck bones, hip bones, I’ve never seen a dog so skinny who was not born to be that skinny.

    She seemed to have somewhat of a Collie face but was a short little dog so I thought she might be some sort of deformed Sheltie or a Sheltie/Dachsund mix. Imagine my surprise when I fed her and got her all filled out–she was a Corgi! Which, btw, from what I’ve read is a little fairy steed and I have a fondness for little fairies, keep hoping one will visit me and sprinkle magic sell your book and hit the NYT fairy dust on me. Not yet. sigh.

    So…turns out she had heartworms and so we’ve been through TWO rounds of treatments and I have to take her back now and get her retested but I can’t find a home for her anywhere, and so it looks like she’s my new dog and the skinny dogs will have to wait. And now, my daughter moved and took her dog so the little Corgi is in the backyard by herself and I feel sorry for her. So…either get another dog–NO! Or bring her inside and I’m inclined to shout no there too, b/c I live in an 80 year old house that leaks dirt as it is and to have a dog that sheds a whole lot…hm, maybe I could at least get a house cleaning fairy to visit??? Darn, all that vacuuming, I am not looking forward to that but I just about can’t stand to leave her outside much longer. I’m trying, really, I can have a hard heart if I try really hard, but….argh.

    If someone loves Corgis and wants a sweet little dog…I need to get her retested and cross fingers she’s heartworm free. She’s a real trooper though, and very, very, sweet. And I guess I’m glad I have her, fur and all (grumble, grumble) even though I was looking forward to skinny short haired dogs. (smile.)

  15. Di,

    She sounds like the perfect little dog. I’m a sucker for all animals too. But, girlfriend, you win!

    I loved hearing about your menagerie of pets…and kids.

  16. Amy, see now, the husband would have said spending that much time on my horse’s ass is the reason I am one.

    but I like yours better 🙂

  17. Amy, I only wish I was “always” right, but it’s kinda cool to keep the world fooled. 😉

  18. The dog that is closest to my heart was Hei-se, a black pug. She was our last dog, and when we moved to the condo, four stories up, she didn’t make the move with us. She was 16 years old, nearly blind, deaf, and arthritic, and it wasn’t fair to make her move. I held her in my arms when she had the final injection, and she was warm, loving, and endearing to the end.

    If we ever move, I’m getting another pug.

  19. Amy, I’m late as usual, but your post not only brought tears to my eyes for you, but for my beloved Teddy. He was the best dog in the world. I had him since he was six weeks old and he thought I was his mom, which was fine since he was my baby.

    I still have his pictures and last year was the first year I could put his ornament on the tree. It’s been 5 years and writing about him brings tears to my eyes now.

  20. II had a BIG cat named Tazzy. She was with me while I lived with my grandfather. Future hubby would come over to visit, and he loved to tease and scare her. He would get a piece of tape and make a loud whistle with it, and she would run to the other side of the house and hide.
    She was also scared of her reflection in the mirror. She would curl up in bed with me at night, and she always waited for me at the door when I got home. She cried when I wasn’t there. I miss her so much. Something happened to her, and I have never been as close to an animal as I was to her.

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