I lost my favorite girl on November 26, 2010, at around 5:15 PM. She was the most wonderful friend and confidante, that perhaps, I have ever known. She never told a secret that I had shared with her, never hesitated to offer a shoulder to lean on when I could bear no more weight, she was as good of a babysitter as she was friend. I loved her immensely.
I remember that freezing cold Spring day when we all piled into the car to get her…a birthday gift from Ian while he was home from the Navy on leave. “You will need a dog to keep you safe, Mom, now that I’m not here.” Watching that furry, floppy-eared goof on what was one of my best birthdays -ever- I could never imagine, then, the role she would play in my life. As time passed, her keen powers of observation showed her what was acceptable and what was not. She was an eager, willing student, too! I used to say that Loose-E knew what kind of day I was going to have before I did! Ever alert, she was also a beautiful representative of her breed, often commanding comments on her beauty from those around her. She would be by my side, years later, on another, most horrible birthday, as I buried my beloved Ian…somehow, she sensed I bore a pain like no other, she sensed that our lives would never be the same and as she respectfully sniffed the flag that had draped his coffin, she thought to pick up a bone to give me to toss, then thought better of that and put it down, resting, instead, at my feet. She gently licked the tears from my cheeks whenever they would show up, never anticipating her usual head pat or ear scratch, in exchange.
After thirteen years together, our movements were synchronized about as well as two moving beings’ can be. I credit Loose-E, of course, for her momentous powers of observation that enabled her to appear to be constantly Velcroed to my left leg at all times. I sure don’t know how she managed it, but she did. In later years, of course, it would be my turn to patiently stand in place, as I stood to move, but waited a minute or two, for Loose-E’s old bones to assume their rightful place at my side. I repeated this vigil, even after she was gone, for quite some time. Yes, after thirteen years, we had certainly choreographed our movements to perfection, without needing to even think about it. I honestly never thought that I would ever have that experience again, but one day…….Lilly arrived!
Miss Lilly originally came to work as a stabilization dog for my daughter, Daney, from a sanctuary in Florida that was closing its doors. However, it was immediately apparent that was not going to work out, simply due to Lil’s short stature and Daney’s instability. Unlike most new dogs at intake, who need time, patience, and quiet to decompress and learn the ‘lay of the land’, Lilly loved everyone immediately, especially Gabe!! Just about the only thing that Lilly did NOT take a liking to immediately was physical therapy & the equipment that came with it….so we put that on the back burner, for now.
Even from the beginning, Lilly had the uncanny ability to judge what noises in our home were acceptable and could be ignored and which were not and would require adult intervention, without the benefit of ever living there!! On her first night, she gently nuzzled me awake, when a litter of Dachshund pups, squeaking wildly from the isolation room below us, were louder than normal. Once I reassured her that that is how they always sounded, she rolled right back over onto her back, snuggled her head into my armpit, and assumed the position that we have come to make our nightly routine. Later that week, the exact same pups were doing the exact same squeaking, but this time, Miss Lilly decided to waste no time, taking both front paws and digging the covers off of me, so I would immediately go down to check on them (I must admit, I had checked on them a number of times that night, already) and sure enough, water had just begun to creep into their room! How did she know???? Perhaps I will never know where her unique intuition comes from! Lilly also appointed herself the personal escort of a little, Doxie boy who is so shy, he can hardly move around the house. She dutifully walks beside him, as he passes the ‘scarey dogs’…using herself as a buffer. What a wonderful friend!! Later, they snuggle on the bed and doze off into doggie dreamland.
Miss Lilly doesn’t have the lovely, flowing coat that Loose-E enjoyed, or the sparkling white teeth, or the perfectly dremeled nails. Thus far, nobody has picked Lilly out of a crowd to comment on just how stunning she is…but that matters not….because she is so much more than what can be seen….so much more than simply fills our hearts. Someone, somewhere, really loved Lilly – not just to hang out with her, but loved her with all of their heart – and it shows! It has given her the intuition and security to be able to function on a level few dogs can! Lilly has offered me a second chance to have a ‘heart dog’, which I thought I would never, ever have. Perhaps she was sent by some angels…who love to see dog hair on my suits!!