Travels with Charley. Do you know the book by Steinbeck? He wrote it about his travels driving across the country with his poodle, Charley. In 1997, taking Steinbeck's lead, I did the same. I took a traveling position with my company and spent the next 18 months traveling across the country with my cairn terrier, Campbell. I did 13 week to 3 month work assignments, filling in for other speech language pathologists at various hospitals and rehab centers. When they went on maternity leave or there was a position not yet permanently filled, I would go in and fill the gaps. And my ever faithful companion in the passenger seat was that terrier.
I bought Campbell in 1995. We lived in my apartment for 2 years leading a normal life and then began our adventure when I accepted this new work position. We started on the East coast of Florida. By the time we were finished we had traveled across the country...until we ran out of country, to California. and then up to Northern CA, close to the Oregon border..traveling buddies for 18 months. Each new state, each new city, each new assignment...Campbell was my constant companion. What adventures we had. He was a great travel buddy.
When I married Mr. Darcy he was none to pleased about giving up the passenger side of the car or the bed, where he had slept faithfully the previous 7 years. I had him for 12 years. During that time, he too learned to love Mr. Darcy. When the twins were babies, he was constantly caught pulling off their socks and for Audrey, he sat through no less than 50 makeovers. Lip gloss included. When he passed away, it was very sad. He had been with us through every apartment, baby, house and new state, up to that point in our married lives, and he been with me through all my single post college years, and then he was gone.
Six months passed and Mr. Darcy offered to get me a new dog. I said no. I wasn't ready.
A year passed. I still wasn't ready...and then one day I realized I was when I saw the cutest little Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in a pet store window in a mall in Paradise Valley while out shopping one day with Mr. Darcy.
That clever Mr. Darcy. He acted like he wasn't paying much attention, but a few days later, that sweet adorable spaniel was under the tree waiting for me...with little red bows on each ear. I named her Duchess and she was my baby and all was right in my pet owning world again.
Duchess passed away today. She was 5. When this weekend started, she was due to have her second litter of puppies this week. We were all so excited and awaiting a new group of little ones to take over the master bathroom for awhile.
Unfortunately, an ill time seizure derailed her labor. An ER vet house call visit, IVs, bags of fluid, and a delivery later, Duchess' litter was 5 beautiful, but all stillborn, pups. The next 12 hours saw us keeping vigil, keeping her company, offering her water and treats and I was relieved today to see her finally napping off and on this morning . I checked her diligently throughout the day and Mr. Darcy called often for updates and all was well until this afternoon; I saw her napping had turned to no movement and I had been told, not asked, to say goodbye to another dear passenger side friend.
We have other dogs. Duke, Duchess' mate, is also considered my dog and he is my other big baby. We miss her together. These are hard life lessons for grown ups and children alike. They remind us that each day with someone or some pet we love is a blessing and even though we hurt, life goes on.
Duchess, left and Duke, right, summer 2011.
I will miss my dear sweet little friend. Who followed me around house and yard and slept on the floor on my side of the bed. What a good little dog you were, and like Campbell, you will always be in my heart.
**I was going to post on St. Patrick's day today~~I had a post scheduled to post to share one of my favorite soda bread recipes (Breda's power bread) and tour you about the Irish memorabilia we have here at Brighton Park. That post has been rescheduled for later this coming week.