Copyright Joanne Kidd

Saying Good Bye. . .

At some time, when I least expected it, I became one of people who actually cooks for their dog. In this case, it's a 15.5 year old Jack Russell terrier, Cassidy (aka Cassidy-Wassidy, the Little White Dog, Cass-i-DEE, and damn-it-Cassidy - a name she acquired after shredding the front of not one..... not two..... but THREE sofas when her ball would get caught underneath).

This "little white dog" (as our song about her goes) has been a bundle of energy, joy, and exasperation in our house since she was six weeks old. She has been my daughter's best friend, and then my little companion when my daughter left for college a couple of years ago. She has ruled the roost, been the queen, guarded us from postal workers and stray cats, and has even stood her ground with my husbands German shepherd/alpha dog/control freak.  In any case, I can't remember much of what it was like around here without her.

I took my daughters to the move "My Dog Skip" when it premiered years ago, and remember doing that shaking "gasp-gasp-gasp" cry that not only brings tears, but brings you to the mercy of your own sniveling, face-dripping, public humiliation. The kind of movie-cry where your nose and eyes seem to be having a race to see which one can drain the most out of you, and the kind where the sleeve of the person next to you begins to look very inviting. The relief at that time was that the manly-man in the row behind us was also getting a little noisy in his nose-drip prevention. When the lights came up there was no denying the impact this movie had on me - much to the delight of my daughters, as they pointed out my soaked and smeared, mascara-run face. It felt like "The Lion King" all over again!

After watching that movie, I remember thinking that Cassidy would NEVER run out of her energy like Skip did. Now I'm seeing a parallel story line from that movie and I am doing whatever I can to prolong that sad ending where I have to say good-bye to my little white dog. Just like in the movie, one day she just couldn't quite jump up on my daughter's bed any more. Before long she couldn't even do her trick of jumping up in my arms when I clapped my hands. When her snout began to go white, she began to also  show her age.

Last year, around Christmas, Cassidy had what we believe to be, a doggie stroke. She lost some of the use of one of her hind legs, but eventually forgot that it didn't work as well as the others.

A couple of months ago Cassidy began to reject her doggie food, so I started enticing her to eat by giving her people food. Now I'm actually cooking her favorites for her and making her little doggie meals!  THIS - from the person who wouldn't allow her own children to be picky eaters, to the point to where they were the only kids in town who not only ate, but asked for rutabagas and Brussel sprouts! (Brussel sprouts were especially fun on "giant" night. You know.... Cornish game hens, sprouts, and baby corn. Broccoli is good on giant night too. Giants love to ravage the forests and eat the trees!) (Giant night was also "bad manners night.")

I know my little pal Cassidy will not be around too much longer, but as long as she's not in pain, I'll enjoy her stinky-breath company for as long as she lets me. For a dog I was told I "wasn't allowed" to get, she sure has brought a lot of life into this home, and we have centered ours around her.

Cassidy may not have ever learned that barking at waves didn't stop them, or that every ball in sight did not belong to her, or that there was an end to the leash - but what she did know how to do, she has done exceptionally well. She has loved us unconditionally, she has entertained us endlessly, and she has shown her loyalty every day.

November 28, 2010
That sad day finally arrived and I said a final good-bye to my little Cassidy this morning.



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