Memorial Day is a day of remembering those you loved and lost. Along with the “human” family and friends, I find myself thinking of a very special companion of the 4-legged variety that I treasured and miss so very much! PUDDLES!!!
Puddles came into my life when she was about 9 months old. She was on her second home, neither of which treated her well. The first home named her Puddles because she peed on the carpet and wouldn’t let her come in the house (hey – she was a PUPPY – that’s what puppies do until you train them not to do it!!!! duh!!!) – then, when she started to get bigger than they thought she would be, they gave her to her second home, who only planned to keep her until they found her a home, so didn’t invest any training or love time with her – they left her outside and pretty much ignored her. I was asked several times if I would take her and I kept saying “no” – we had dogs and I didn’t want to take on another one. One day I stopped in at her home to run in for a quick minute to drop something off. I left my car door open while I went inside. When I returned to the car, there was Puddles – sitting oh so comfortably in the rider’s seat just waiting for my return. It was as though she was “choosing” me over her current situation. I just looked in and said “this is a trial basis, honey…” and went in to tell them I was taking her with me.
When we got home, I tried to clean her up – she had been living under old cars and was filthy, heavily matted, and covered with grease spots. While trying to figure out the best way to get her cleaned up, I discovered that along with the massive amount fleas, she was COVERED with fully engorged ticks – I pulled over 75 off that night and realized there were more caught up in the mats that I knew I wouldn’t be able to get through. So, I decided that a professional groomer was needed and a vet to be sure she was OK after having that many parasites draining her little body! So, I got her an emergency appointment and All Animals began their life long connection with her! They cleaned her up, groomed her, got rid of all the parasites, checked her over, and got her caught up on vaccinations that were never started. Of course, the parasites had taken their toll with her – they said that if we had not intervened when we did, she might not have lasted much longer. When I picked her up at the end of the day, she was GORGEOUS!!! I was shocked that such a beautiful girl was under all those mats and dirt!!! And she was happy – dancing around like an excited little girl with a brand new party dress! So, we nursed her back to health and began a long hard road of training and rehabilitation! She had been left to be wild, but was still loving, appreciative, and quickly became devoted to me. She was a handful for the first year or so — chewed up everything, dug up carpeting and woodwork, and had major separation anxiety (duh – wouldn’t you after being treated the way she was and now having a good home/family? Every time we left the room, she thought we were leaving her forever)!!! But, she was smart and soon turned into a wonderful little girl…..Duly crowned “Her Royal Highness, The Princess Puddles Pritt” and lived the rest of her life as a pampered princess – queen of the roost!!!!
When the two families that originally had her first saw her all groomed and behaving, they were shocked and immediately wanted her back — of course, I said NO WAY!!!! They said she was untrainable, so they threw her outside with the trash and ignored her – no way was I going to give them a second chance!!! Besides, the day she got in my car to go home with me she stole my heart and there was no going back from that point forward – the fact that she was pretty under all those mats and parasites was just icing on the cake!!! LOL
Through the years, she went everywhere with me – she was my traveling buddy and she loved to travel. She was as much at home in a car and hotel rooms as she was in her own living room! She considered it her job to keep me awake as I drove, too! If I got tired, I would sing or talk out loud to entertain myself. She would sit in the rider’s seat and look at me and listen intently as I rambled on and on with story after story – most of which she heard a million times, but always acted as though it was the first time and it was the most interesting story she ever heard!!! As long as I talked or sang, she would sit there looking at me and listening – sharing in the activity! Once I stopped, she considered her job done and would get in the back seat and lay down to sleep and rest for her next “shift”. If I started talking or singing again, she would get up and sit in the front rider’s seat to do her part!
Puddles LOVED Christmas!!! She really got into having the tree all decorated and having presents that were all “her’s” — she would reach into her stocking and grab out something and drop it and go grab the next thing and so on until she had a whole pile of stuff to choose from!!! If I said a wrapped gift was for her, she’d get all excited as I tore it open and practically grabbed it out of my hands when it was open!!! But – she didn’t tear open any presents until I told her it was for her — she just sniffed them a lot and waited until she knew it was OK.
There are many, many stories I can tell about our life together – but I’ll just keep them in my heart and not ramble about them here!
We almost lost her about 4 years before her final days — a huge tumor on her spleen gave us a few weeks of torture trying to figure out what was wrong with her. She was in and out of the hospital several times and tests kept giving conflicting messages! Finally, Dr. Cindy called me one day and said that she was declining rapidly and wouldn’t make it through another day. She wanted to go in and see what was going on and if it was fixable, fix it – and if it wasn’t, then just not wake her up and let her go. Ronald and I went and sat with her while she was prepped for surgery and waited in the waiting room for news – preparing ourselves for the potential that we would need to give permission to let her go! When Candy came out all smiles and said that it was localized and all they had to do was remove her spleen and it looked good that she would come out of it OK – I sobbed and hugged her —- I got another chance with my wonderful princess!!! I treated every single day of the next four years as gifts from God! During that time, she developed a heart condition (which we treated with medication), slowly declined in her ability to see and hear very well, and began signs of dementia that confused and disoriented her. She also had arthritis, which we treated with vitamins and pain medication. When the tumors began to come back, Dr. Cindy and I talked and we decided to ignore them – that she wouldn’t make it through another surgery like that. So, we kept an eye on it and said that when her bad days out numbered her good or if the medications no longer kept her comfortable, that I would know that it is time to let her go dance with the angels! After a gradual decline, I realized that the time had come………….I didn’t want to wait too long and have her suffer at all or get to a point where she totally lost her sight or awareness of her environment.
Once the decision was made, it was a huge weight off my chest – I was sad and depressed all week, but took comfort in knowing that I was doing the right thing at the right time!!! Throughout the week, Puddles and I did a lot of cuddling (as much as she would allow – she had gotten so that she didn’t want to be touched, much) and I treated her with things she used to love, but couldn’t have anymore because of special diets or energy levels. We shared bowls of popcorn, went for ice cream and Chicken McNuggets, and took rides in the car…….she was excited and happy a lot during the week!!!
Then, Friday morning, April 20, 2007, we went to All Animals for the last time! Everyone there is always so wonderful, but were especially so that day! They had cared for Puddles all her life and she was special to them, too. They were busy that day, but Dr. Cindy sat with me as much as I needed and gave me all the alone time in the room with Puddles that I wanted. She made it a peaceful experience. While she was sedated, I was able to hold her and rub her longer than she’s been comfortable allowing for quite some time – that was so nice!!! I was also extremely touched that Candy came in on her day off to say good bye to Puddles – that will be a warm memory for me for as long as I live!!! It didn’t last too long, but it was a beautiful send-off for a beautiful princess!
Now, she is creating jealous girl doggies all over heaven by stealing their boyfriends —- everyone loved Puddles!!! And Midas, Easy, Jake, and Sassy were all with her in doggie heaven running and playing together again!!! I’m sure she’s bouncing around like a puppy all young, beautiful, and playful once again!
I will miss her and she will remain in my heart forever!!!!
Her Royal Highness, The Princess Puddles Pritt – April 20, 2007 – 16 years, 4 months old. May the angels continue the pampering for all eternity!!!!