It’s Always Too Soon – Goodbye Boo
She would come up as I worked on a blog post or other project online, put her paws on my leg and wait. When I got to a pause part I’d give her a hug as her tail wagged, and the corners of her mouth turned up in a smile unlike most other dogs.
I always said someday I should get a picture of that smile, but someday will never happen. After a mysterious but short, hard hitting illness Blue – I called her Boo – is gone. While it was hope against hope that she’d rebound, am grateful to Dr. Alexander of Farmstead Veterinary Medical Center for easing her last hours.
I know animals are mortal. Be dogs or rabbits or cows or horses…or people…we are all going to die someday. And like most animals that we have for an extended period of time, Boo had a story.
Fall of 2006 a former neighbor had her chained to the back deck. She came in heat and although she was confined, none of the roaming males were. She had a litter of puppies – five from what we could tell – and as they hit the wandering stage she was concerned as they could get away from her. As puppies do, they explore, and she couldn’t so she’d bark. And bark. And bark. The then-neighbors couldn’t grab the puppies – when one tan one was grabbed a shrieking ensued that meant dropping the puppy, who scattered away. She was then turned loose to shut her up, so she could be with her pups.
And as puppies do they explored, and found things to chew on and play with.This didn’t endear them to some, who threatened to shoot them.One of the pups was run over, and the driver didn’t even slow down let alone stop. I started leaving feed out and slowly grabbed the pups. The first one, friendliest, was easy. Second one was smart enough to know a free meal was a good meal – dubbed Girl because we couldn’t keep them all, so not naming her would be easier to let go. In time I laid hands on the screech monster, Honey, and a very shy Lady. With her pups corralled she started hanging around but was too afraid to be touched herself. We’d seen people throw things at her and swing at her walking by, so she was wary.
Indeed first time she thought I cornered her she was in such a panic she ran headlong into a 6′ chain link fence she’d just walked around. The ex neighbors moved out and her old home was no longer home. She was in heat again and several boys were hanging around, so with time and patience sitting down and hand feeding her, I got a leash on her so she could be confined and not get pregnant again.
She wasn’t happy but had her half grown pups. Somehow as things happened to the pups she and Girl were the last and the bond between them was pretty strong.They were my road buddies when I’d go to Illinois. If I was down Boo was the one nudging me and benefiting from hugs. The little blue heeler beagle cross was “my dog” – she liked everyone but wanted to be where I was.
More often than not she was, either as a “take a break now” distraction or patient road buddy on trips to Illinois. Wherever I was working she wasn’t far away. When Queenie came the two seemed to “get” each other, and settled into life as one of the few she’d buddy up with other than Girl. She’d get along with everyone, although Missy had a longstanding dominance issue with her. She was a clown in a dog suit.
She came along after Troy was killed, and recently losing my Gael also. She wormed her way in as if expecting nothing but appreciating everything. She was pretty much a lap dog after my mom died, and always rightthere when she sensed I was feeling down, even more than the others.
Now Girl sits by my feet, not understanding the tears but in position to ‘protect’ me. Unaware Boo isn’t coming back she’ll go on, but it’ll be harder for me to get over the little mischievous, independent and big hearted spirit no longer here. There’s other dogs, and there will be other losses and be other tears. Crossbreds are not always healthier than purebreds,as many claim, but love doesn’t have a pedigree. Sometimes it just shows up and takes a place in the corner of your heart, asking no more than a cushion, kindness and a warm spot under the blankets on a cold night.
Just a few nights ago I shot a picture, unaware it’d be the last. It’s always too soon to let them go, but we don’t always have control of that. But the picture of her little smile is just in my memory, as many little things “just Boo” will be.
She was just a discarded, unwanted mutt to some, but became an unconditional shadow. She will be missed.