I have had dogs in my life for as long as I can remember. We always had a dog or two on the farm and when one would die, another one would magically appear, it seemed. None of our dogs were registered. All were mutts, but all were good dogs, except Butchie. Butchie belonged to my oldest brother and he brought him to live at the farm when he couldn’t take care of him any longer. Butchie had been teased by neighborhood children and learned to bite as the result. More than once he chased the milkman to his truck and our neighbor to her car. I really think the milkman hit him on purpose one day and that was the end of Butchie.
We had a little dog who went under the corn crib and birthed a puppy. My brother, Fred, came into the house one morning and said he heard a puppy crying under the corn crib, but he couldn’t reach it. Its mother had died and it was all alone under there. So I was selected to crawl under the corn crib as I was the smallest one around and bring out the puppy. It was a black and white puppy, almost like a dalmatian. I think our dog had been with one of our neighbor’s dogs that were dalmatians. Anyway, we brought the little puppy into the house and Mother wrapped her up and fed her warm milk with a bottle and we raised her like that until she could eat from a bowl. Mother named her Orphan Annie because she was an orphan. It became my job to feed her and care for her. Orphan Annie grew up to be a sweet little dog. She did have a few mishaps along the way. Like the time we kids were jumping out of the haymow into a bed of straw on the barn floor and I thought Annie should be able to jump, too, so I pushed her and her leg was broken and she was in a cast for several weeks and I was in trouble. Then she was out in the field when Daddy was mowing hay and got one of her legs cut off. She ran around on three legs the rest of her life. Seems that little dog had a hard life, but I think she was happy for the most part because we all loved her.
Through the years I saw dogs come and dogs go. My brother’s favorite dog disappeared one day and he looked for him for weeks and one day he found him caught in a fence. Poor thing had died there all alone. I still feel bad about that. It was hard on my brother.
When I got married, we didn’t have a place for a dog so we had none for a few years. Then we got one that immediately ran away and we never found her. We got a black Labrador and when we moved to where we live now, she was stolen from us. One of our boys was sure they saw her in the back of a pickup truck one day. I hope she had a happy life. So more dogs came and went. I decided I wanted another Labrador so we bought Bonnie. She was registered from a long line of registered dogs. Never having had a registered dog, we didn’t know what to expect, but they are just like any other dog. Bonnie was a nipper at first and drew blood quite often until I broke her of the habit. After that, she became the sweetest dog. Right after we got her, we took a trip out west so we hired a dog sitter. I missed that dog so much the whole trip, even drawing pictures of her and writing about her. I know, I am weird, but I do get attached to my animals. Bonnie loved to jump and play and run races around our old dog, Subaka, who was getting along in years. She was on her last legs when we got Bonnie and, you know, I think Bonnie kept her alive for another couple of years by playing with her. They would chase a ball all around the yard and field for what seemed like hours.
When Subaka died, I decided I wanted another lab. This time we got a chocolate lab and named her Bellelattedah, Belle, for short. The day we brought her home, Bonnie picked her up and threw her over her head. Even after doing that, Belle and Bonnie became best buds. Sleeping together in the big doghouse or under the deck. Wherever one was, there was the other. And then we got Molly Marshmallow.
Bonnie died last week. It was one of the hardest days I have been through for a while. She got up one day and could not walk on her back legs any longer and was gasping for breath, so I called the vet. They could not get her in and sent me to another vet three hours later. Bonnie did not have three hours and I called back my vet and said I wanted them to take care of her “Now.” David and I put her in the back of his pickup truck. Her last truck ride. She loved riding in cars and trucks. I stayed at home and cried. I knew she was dying. When David came home with her collar, I sobbed. The vet said her lungs had filled up with water.
Bonnie will always have a piece of my heart. I will miss so many things about her.
I will miss this sweet face.
I will miss seeing three dogs looking at me through the back door.
Bonnie never became a mother, but her motherly instincts kicked in when we brought Molly Marshmallow home.
She seemed to enjoy the little puppy.
I will miss Bonnie’s sweet smile. She seemed to always be smiling.
I will miss Bonnie smelling the flowers. From puppyhood, she always was smelling the flowers in the garden.
I will miss feeding three dogs on the back deck.
Some people will say, “she was just a dog.” Yes, she was a dog, but she was much more than that. She was a friend, a companion. someone who was with me even more than my husband. She was around 24/7 always ready to come to me and be petted. Never angry, always happy. She was family. She has made me smile so many times and only made me cry on her last day. No, her death is not as important as a grandparent’s, a parent’s, a sibling’s , a friend’s or any loved ones, all of which I have experienced, but she has taken a piece of my heart just like all the others did with her passing. I will miss her the rest of my life.
Good-bye, old friend. I loved you. I don’t know if dogs are in heaven, but I sure hope I get to see Bonnie one day again. Bye.