Friday, February 5, 2016

Good dog, Georgette!

The house is so quiet today. No tip-tapping of too-long toenails on the hardwood floors. No heavy thud of a too-old doggie body thumping on the floor in exhaustion from following me around all day. No barking - heh, just kidding. She never barked. My always-quiet, very stoic, sweetly loyal little shadow, my Georgette, is no longer with us.

Georgie came into our lives when she was just a puppy - a bundle of warm, black, furry, tumbling goodness. It was a perfect fit from the start - the kids were still little, I was ready for a puppy (or so I thought!), and she blended seamlessly into our busy lives, accompanying us on road trips, camping, everywhere.

Poor Georgie had a lot of...shall we say...mishaps, along the way. When she was newly-spayed, she got bored with her forced convalescence and followed her dad up the stairs and into the bedroom where he had carefully removed a window screen so he could go out and clean the gutters. Georgette took one leap onto a bin full of toys and another right out the window. Too late to save herself, she realized she was on the slanted slope of the roof and no amount of sharp dog claws was enough to save her eventual tumble to the ground. Shocked, we rushed out to check her welfare (letting out a string of expletives along the way) and found her to be cowering and bleeding slightly. Worried she'd split her belly open since it was shaved and held together with recent stitches, we rushed her to the emergency vet. The diagnosis? An abrasion on her chin. That's all. Superdog flew from the second story and lived to tell about it.

The injuries continued and included a torn ACL, injured hips, and even paralysis but the dog with nine lives continued to bounce back. Along the way, she was the most loyal, playful, happy dog ever. She loved to play outside with the kids, and never had to be restrained on a leash, because she was so good about staying close. She loved car rides and beaches, walks in the woods and apples. She was a great companion and never more than a few steps away at any time (ok, she was usually underfoot, but you get the picture!).

For years, she slept next to my side of the bed every night. I bought her many dog beds over the years but she never liked any of them and preferred the plain carpet and snuggling with her pink, fuzzy blanket. She would push and scrunch it around and most mornings I'd wake up to see her clutching it in her "arms" like a little kid. We went on a long trip last summer and when we returned she took to sleeping at the foot of our bed for some inexplicable reason. Two nights before she crossed the rainbow bridge, she slept next to my side of the bed again; a precious goodbye.

Even in her advanced age, she would suddenly burst into playfulness, crouching down and waiting to spring up and run in circles. She could jump like a basketball star until her old hips betrayed her. The kids would spend hours throwing snowballs or tennis balls into the air, watching her jump to catch them. Even water from the hose would make her leap into the air like a gazelle.

One of her best qualities is that she never barked. Sure, when the doorbell rang, she'd announce her presence (until she got too old to hear it), but, unlike other dogs (I'm looking at you, Shade), she never barked incessantly. The downside of that is she also never announced (loudly) her intention to relieve herself so potty training took a full three years (I shudder to think what the floor looks like under the carpet) and she had a lot of accidents in the house if we weren't on top of letting her out regularly. But she DID communicate - she would come up to whomever was sitting closest to the door and look at them pleadingly until they let her out. Unfortunately, this telepathic communication is lost on teenagers so only mom could read her signals. Hey, she tried.

She was a super snuggler, and was always up for a cuddle with whomever would join her on the floor. When she could, she jumped up on the couch for snuggles, but eventually she lost that ability, too. Her old eyes clouded but she could still see into your soul. Her ears lost much of their function but she could hear an apple slice drop on the floor from the other room. She was a vegetarian. Not kidding. What kind of dog is a vegetarian? Meat made her itch and she would bite her feet in frustration. Once we figured it out, the only commercially available (read: affordable) food was salmon-based so her breath was toxic. It could peel paint off the walls. It was a daily struggle to reconcile that sweet, always-a-puppy face with that dragon breath. But we managed.

Everyone's dog is a good dog, but Georgie was really one-of-a-kind. She was chill. She was the best hangout buddy, car ride companion, walking partner and counselor ever. She was there when no one else was, quietly offering what she could - quiet companionship. She was a part of our life for nearly 14 years and we already miss her every day. Good dog, Georgette! Rest in peace.