Just a few months after we got married, Ryan and I welcomed our first “baby” – who just happened to have four legs and a long tail. (Read more about Toby here.) He was only six weeks old when we brought him home, and clearly hadn’t been with his littermates long enough to learn proper playtime etiquette. And for six months, he tortured me with his razor sharp puppy teeth. It was time for a pal, and we hoped to find one who could teach Toby the ropes.
One day, my mom showed me an ad in the newspaper for a one-year-old female Alaskan Husky/German Shepherd mix and agreed to come with me to check her out. When we arrived with Toby in tow, we met her owners’ grown children who were fostering her till they could find a new home. She came from Sonora, and her elderly owners “suddenly became allergic” to her. <Ahem!> When they brought Snickers out to see us, my jaw hit the floor. I had never seen a more beautiful dog, and I was in love. Within about ten seconds of their first sniff, she had Toby on his back and we knew she was the one we needed.
We quickly learned that the owners’ allergies had nothing to do with dog hair, but were more likely caused by her ability to escape a secure yard with a level of skill that could put Houdini to shame. Eventually we figured out her strategies and she figured out it was best to just stick around. When we moved to Illinois, our yard had a four foot tall fence and I was terrified she’d take off as soon as we left her unsupervised. To our surprise, she was perfectly content to stay home. See, she was the Queen of the Universe and as long as she could survey her kingdom, she was happy as a clam.
Despite what this picture may lead you to believe (and despite the fact that she was a husky), she hated the snow. She preferred to watch the world go by from the warmth of the living room when winter rolled around.
This brave girl was as gentle as she was fierce, and loyal to a fault. She was surprisingly and tolerant of and patient with “her” babies. She was expressive, and silly, and diligent. And I’ve been typing and re-typing all afternoon trying to find the words to describe our special girl but she was really something you just had to experience in living color.
Over the years, though her mind was still sharp, her body began to weaken. She was plagued by hearing and vision loss causing her to bump into walls, furniture, and people. She was medicated daily for arthritis, and as her pain increased and her senses failed, she began to lash out in anticipation of being bumped or stepped on. She was frail but still mighty and even with rotten teeth, her bite was big. Ultimately, it was best to end her suffering. She taught us a lot about training and communicating with animals, and she served as protector and comforter for 13 years.
Sleep well, sweet girl. You were loved and will be missed!