Goodbye, Sweet Rosie
By Patrick F. Cannon
On Tuesday, we brought our darling miniature Poodle to the vet’s to bring an end to her beautiful life. She was 15, and her heart and other organs were failing. People who know and love dogs will know how we felt.
Jeanette and I have been married for nearly 35 years and have had to go through this three times. All of our dogs were Poodles, the greatest of breeds. Before we married, I had Mimi, a rescue my first wife Mary’s mother Lil got for us. When she was killed by a neighbor’s car after six years, we got a black miniature Poodle puppy, and named her Emma.
I had Emma, a black miniature, when Jeanette and I got married in 1986. When Emma died at 17, we got Rumpole, a Standard Poodle. We still had him when we inherited Rosie upon the death of my first wife. She left behind two sliver miniatures; we got the younger. She was then five, and made losing Rumpole nine months later a little more tolerable. When I add them all up, I find I have owned Poodles for 53 of my 82 years.
I will not rank them, except to say that most dogs will bond more with one member of the family, while loving all of them. I don’t know if science backs this up, but I do believe that male dogs bond more with men; and females, women. If Rumpole was a bit closer to me, then Rosie was Jeanette’s dog. She had lived with Mary for five years, and suddenly losing her must have been both confusing and terrible. It took a while, but she transferred her love to Jeanette.
An example: when we would come home, I would generally be the first one she would see. She would run and jump up on me briefly, then rush to find Jeanette. During the day, she would always be where Jeanette was. If she woke up from a nap – dogs sleep a lot! – and Jeanette wasn’t in sight, she would rush around the house until she found her.
She had known my children Patrick and Beth longer than us, and was always excited to see them. Patrick now lives in Florida and usually only visits once a year, but her excitement on seeing him never flagged. She was always shy with people she didn’t know; and frankly was not a fan of other dogs; but she was not aggressive with dogs or people.
As with most Poodles, she was a star athlete. If you threw a toy to her, she would invariably catch it in mid-air. Until just recently, she was also tireless; we would get tired of playing long before she did. And she was a Frisbee champ. When we had a large back yard, it was poetry in motion to see her catch the disk in full flight and in mid-air. She was just a little dog, but she was mighty. I wasn’t surprised to discover that miniature Poodles were consistent winners at dog agility trials.
Life has a certain rhythm when you have a dog. Rosie was an early riser, and Jeanette always did the first walk, I the second, and so on. Treats started early, and were repeated at regular intervals through the day. Until the last few days, her appetite was excellent. It was really when she stopped eating that we knew her heart was finally giving out.
I know that some people simply don’t understand why some others love dogs. That’s fine. Truthfully, they require a lot of care and attention. Like human babies, they have to be fed. They also have to be walked regularly, and you have to pick up their poop. If you’re going on a trip, you have to find someone to take them (either a kennel of a friend). But to a dog lover, it’s all worthwhile. As lousy as your day might have been, when you walk through the door, your dog is always glad to see you, and is happy to prove it.
Rosie is at rest now. But Jeanette and I aren’t there yet.
Copyright 2020, Patrick F. Cannon