When I was much younger, my siblings and I used to beg and plead with my parents for a dog. They would always give the standard parental answer of "We'll think about it." or "We'll see." Year after year passed, and it never happened.
When I was fourteen years old, I went through a year of hell. I was in and out of the hospital with unexplained pain and sickness. I was scared, and I was frustrated that no one could figure out what was happening to me. I went back to the emergency room one last time that winter. My appendix had ruptured and I was sent in for emergency surgery. In recovery, my dad asked me if there was anything he could get me. My response was to ask him one last time for a dog. He couldn't say no.
That summer, I picked out an adorable little brown and white shipoo. She was running around, wrestling all the larger puppies to the ground. It was love at first sight. Even my timid six year old brother felt confident holding this little ball of fur. I named her Buffy, after the vampire slayer. She slept at the foot of my bed for years until I got married and moved out. I missed her, and I missed the way that my bubbie would feed her mashed potatoes every night at supper. How we had to be careful as to where she was groomed due to the fact that she knew exactly where she lived and had actually escaped the groomer and run home across four lanes of traffic just to get back to us. I missed the way she rarely kissed people, but always had one for me.
Now that I have kids of my own, I looked forward to them getting to know her, even though she was a lot older, a lot crankier, and had a lot less patience for children. I willfully ignored the fact that she was seventeen years old, had cataracts, arthritis, bad teeth, and a whole host of other issues. To me, she was eternally a puppy and would always be there. She was a direct link to my childhood, and I had so many memories of my bubbie petting her, caring for her, and speaking to her when she thought no one was looking.
This morning, I got word that she was at the vet's office and I had until noon to get there if I wanted to say goodbye. All the issues I was pretending didn't exist had caught up to her. She was in pain, and there was nothing they could do. I drove down there, and held her with my brother as she peacefully passed away. I will always love her, and I will miss her terribly. She was an amazing dog. Stubborn, some said untrainable (refused to sit, lie down, stay, or anything), loved to sit quietly and get pet, loved us all, and was loved in return.