And Then There Was One
As a responsible pet owner you learn early on that of all the things you have to do for your furry friends, knowing when it's time to say good-bye will be the absolute heart crushing worst thing you will have to do. Last night was that time for us when we made the tough, but correct, decision to have Mabel put down. She would have been sixteen in July.
I don't want to focus on all the things she had wrong with her but the list was extensive. Frankly it is a wonder that she didn't pass some time ago with what all they found yesterday. She was not only the funniest dog we ever had but apparently the toughest too.
I loved the way she would come bounding into my office, ears flying, tail wagging, and eyes lit up like she just discovered something wonderful. When I would follow her to see what she wanted it was, more times than not, for me to open the door to Grandma's part of the house so she could start getting the twenty treats a day she would talk her into giving.
Anytime she went outside her routine coming in was the same, race as fast as she could from outside to leaping over the threshold of the front door, a quick left thru the dining room, down the hallway, and leaping once again over the doorway to Grandma's to let her know she was ready for another treat.
We of course spoiled her too. We needed to because we tortured her with Christmas costumes, or making her wear a birthday hat. She would sit there in frozen fear each time we dressed her in something hoping that if she didn't move it would all be over soon and she could get some food in return. We are pretty sure he didn't hold a grudge against us.
She loved the snow when we lived in Chicago. She would not even wait for us to shovel her a path to the yard, she would just plow her way through it until she was, in her opinion, far enough away from the door to do her business. Sometimes it was twenty feet, other times it was twenty inches. If she was just out there playing, she play until her feet were frozen and we would have to come rescue her, warm up her feet, and then she was ready to do battle once again with the snow.
Since I've retired she would walk a path between my office and the family room couch every day after lunch trying to get me to lay down on it so that she could join me for her nap. Most times I would oblige her because at this point in her life if she didn't get her needed twenty three and a half hours of sleep a day she was just impossible to be with. A girl needs her beauty rest you know.
Waking her up to feed her in the morning or in the afternoon was a joy. She was a bed lover. Once she woke up she would lounge around, rolling around on her back, wanting her stomach rubbed, maybe rubbing her eyes, and of course she wanted kisses galore. We were always happy to give her as much love as she wanted. Then when she was finally ready, she wanted you to pick her up and place her on the floor, especially these past few years as arthritis set in and it was harder for her to jump up and down.
The day after we got her, our friend John Markiewicz came by during his lunch break and saw this pictured above as he walked into the house. His first comment was "She has Rhino legs!" He was right. Her feet and legs were not in proportion to her tiny body yet.
She used to love sleeping in a bed under my desk when she was young as I worked. She loved being under things her whole life. She would sleep with her head under a chair or a table or a bed most times. At night she would get hot so she would sleep by herself at the foot of the bed, occasionally laying her head on my feet if she got cold. She loved to get and give kisses and she loved being held.
Once we moved to Palm Desert her favorite pastime was to sit on one of the bar chairs, with me standing there to make sure she didn't fall or jump, and watch the golfers go by, sniffing the desert air and noticing every bird, dog, or leaf that went by the house. She would stay there for hours if I let her, and sometimes I did.
I know you're not supposed to have favorites but of all the dogs we had, she was mine. Buttons was the best trained dog we ever had for sure, and the others all had their charms and loving quirks that we miss. Zippy was a wonderful mother dog to every one of them and with her patented head cock in every picture she was a star.
Mabel was just different. She was weird. She would not eat pretzels for example. Who knows why? She always ate her meals sitting on her butt. Why? We don't know. She was crazy for pasta. It didn't even have to have sauce on it she loved it just as much plain. She knew when we were having it because she would spend the entire meal running around the house waiting for us to finish so she could get a Rotini or two.
She was a devil. If her sister, Ellie, was laying someplace she wanted, she would stand over her and lick her face and head until she moved whereby she would plop down and I swear, smile at us.
She loved people and most people loved her back. Our new neighbor Jenny was an instant hit with Mabel. We don't know why but from the first day she saw her she would go insane every time she saw Jenny outside. We would bring her out there and of course Jenny would give her a biscuit which further endeared her. It was like she knew Jenny from a previous life.
Her personality, her crazy body, her bright shining eyes, her ears flying in the wind, and of course, her heart, were all part of what made her so special. I/we, are really going to miss that dog. Thank you for being a part of our lives Mabel. We love you so much and are going to miss you like crazy.