My dog died Monday.
Now don’t get me wrong; this won’t be a sad post that leaves you in tears. This is supposedly a humor blog, although admittedly there’s nothing funny about losing my 13 1/2-year-old Greyhound, Nellie (a.k.a. Nervous Nellie, Whoa Nellie and Naughty Nellie). Her time simply ran out. But it comforts me to know she had a long, wonderful life and left me with great memories.
Yes, 2019 isn’t promising to be my favorite year, having also lost my cat, Tippi, last month. Still, death reconfirms the importance of appreciating what and who we have in our lives while we have them. In addition, the day Nellie died I attended the funeral of Mama Lou (my friend Sharon’s mom) whom I’ve known for 43 years. So yeah, not exactly an uplifting start to the new year. But the sun will come out tomorrow.
Nellie, being a greyhound, was chosen for us from Greyhound Friends For Life. You describe what you’re looking for and they provide you with your dream dog. And boy did they. She was a joy from day one. Well, maybe day two…she vomited during the 2 1/2 hour drive home and then immediately peed in the house. But she caught on quickly and it was smooth sailing after that (sort of).
Nellie was as soft as angel hair and with warm, expressive eyes. She was a 74-pound-red-brindle-couch-potato with a sweet disposition. Easy peasy was her way with people as well as animals, including felines. Not much rattled that girl.
Nellie’s joys in life were simple:
* Dried chicken strips she received as a treat after walks. Watching her devour them, I’m certain her exuberance before walks was for the resulting treat and not the walk itself.
* Running rings around other dogs at the dog park. It was a thing of beauty to watch Nellie run with such speed and grace. Two laps around the park and she was done, ready again for her spot on the sofa.
* Hamburger, rice, cottage cheese and chicken I spoiled her with at mealtime, to the point where she’d refuse to eat her good quality canned dog food when I topped it over her good quality kibble. That dog had me well-trained.
* Eating poop. This was perhaps her greatest joy and one that drove me nuts. I have a large backyard so picking up poop from 4 dogs meant occasionally missing some. When Nellie came back inside chewing, I knew she’d found what I hadn’t. It’s the one thing I won’t miss about her.
* Squeezing into Callie’s smaller bed instead of her own large one. But when she jumped up on MY bed, all my other bed-dwelling pets parted like the Red Sea to avoid being trampled by Nellie’s gangly legs. She’d then flip onto her back and be sound asleep within minutes.
* Nellie was the matriarch of my animal family so the others followed her lead. She loved instigating Callie, Skip and Wally into howling in unison with her, especially when she saw me out front. They could often be heard “singing” from down the street.
Her shenanigans: Nellie once escaped when the gardener left the gate open. She ended up in the kindergarten class down the street. No worries. All the kids knew Nellie. One time she escaped from a vet appointment and was found around the corner in the bakery department at Safeway. At the beach she once peed in a kid’s sand bucket.
Nellie was never aggressive, loved everyone she met and was simply a kick-back girl who didn’t require much to thoroughly enjoy life. Surprisingly, I’m not weepy when I think of her. Instead, I mostly feel grateful to have spent 12 years with Nellie — a big, beautiful, gentle soul who happened to be a Greyhound.