Once upon a time there was a little girl, Maria, who was the Princess of York. She lived a quiet life on a quiet street with her Mother the Queen. Then one day as she looked out the window she saw a big, white animal walking down the sidewalk in front of her castle.
Maria tells the Queen, Christina, that there is a polar bear walking down the sidewalk. Her mother informs her that there are no polar bears in York. We live to far south for them to be here.
Today I am bringing myself to actually write about my best friend, Alice, who I lost on Sunday. Alice was my 102 lb. Lab/ Catahoula leopard dog who at 11 1/2 years old left this world.
Alice never wanted anything but to be by me. She loved me unconditionally. She was the best girl. She never left my side when we were hiking or the campsite while camping. When David and I would pick berries or spruce tips she would just lay and watch us, move as we moved and never left my side. We were walking with her through a park one time and this tiny dog came running out of the grass. Scared Alice to death and she went running for camp. Another time we were going to hike the trail to Five Fingers on the Yukon River in Canada. There were steep, long steps down to the trail. Alice got down about half way turned and said that is enough, ran back to the van. Trying to get her across a bridge over the Yukon River in Miles Canyon near Whitehose was really something. David pushed and I pulled. Once across she was fine and we went for a nice walk. Coming back we just thought this is going to be fun. She tricked us though and walked right across.
Alice was such a chicken. People would be afraid of her because she was big. They would hear her deep bark not knowing that she was hiding in the bedroom barking at them. She was a great protector if she could hide behind you. She was afraid of kitchens, bathrooms and floors without carpet. Oh yes, stairs can be scary too. In fact any change can be scary.
Alice helped me through my late husband’s, Baggy, 13 months of illness and his death. When the paramedics were on the way to our home I put her outside. As they worked on Baggy in the living room by the window she quietly watched. When it was time for them to take Baggy away, as they zipped the bag she started to bark and did so until they drove off. She was the one that helped me make it through this.
Alice moved with me from Texas to Washington to Alaska. Then our last move to York, Pennsylvania. She was a great traveler.
She was so good with the twin granddaughters. I used to laugh because every time Dan brought them over she would have to smell them and make sure they were the right ones, I guess. As they grew she would sit patiently until they finished eating so she could clean up their mess. If she did get tired of them she would just get up and go into the bedroom.
When we would get ready to go somewhere and Alice couldn’t go we could tell her, “No, Alice you have to stay.” Then she would mope off to her moping corner in our room. David said she reminded him of Eeyore.
Friday morning I was awakened by the sound of Alice falling against the wall next to my side of the bed. She then slipped down the wall and was laying down. I thought that was weird but she seemed to settle down. I went back to sleep for a while. I got up around 6 and went to start my morning routine, which the first thing was to let Alice out. She always follows me right to the door as soon as we are up. She didn’t follow. A little later she tried to get up and couldn’t. Her whole back end didn’t work.
We looked up vets online and found one that opened at 7:30. I called and they could get her in at 10. The next problem was how to get her in the back of our car. Luckily, we have a Subaru Outback so the backend opens up. But how would we get this 102 lb dog up the hill and into the car. Our son in law, Dan, and his Dad, Jim, came to help. I got her on a sheet and we brought in the girls’ wagon. We go her into the wagon, up the hill and into the car without stressing her out.
The vet couldn’t find anything really bad on the x-rays. Some arthritis but who of us don’t have that in our backs. I am thinking now it was a stroke. The vet says it could be. She says we could try a steroid shot and that if it helped we would be able to tell by Sunday. I agreed to let her have the shot, hoping it will help. We took her back home.
By now she has not been to the bathroom since Thursday night. David and I put a rolled towel under her to hold up her backend. We took her out but she didn’t do anything. She couldn’t pick up her tail and her legs just dragged behind her.
Saturday night wasn’t a good night for Alice. Sunday morning there was no change what so ever. I couldn’t let her suffer any more. I made the decision I had to make. The vet opened at 10. We were there with Alice when they opened. They got us in right away. They were so wonderful to us. Alice left this world knowing how loved she was. We were with her until the end.
I love you, Alice. I will never forget you and all you did for me. I hope you are sitting at Baggy’s side now watching over me.
Fred and M for as long as I have known them have always had a Great Dane. They have rescued quite a few and given them a great life. They never know what kind of background they have come from, so sometimes they can really be a lot of work.
Sam is the one that they have now. He does have some cute ways about him. There used to be a commercial in Britain for a company and the star was Churchill the Bulldog. Fred and M somehow ended up with a stuffed one and Sam has adopted it. He carries it around and lays it down gently. He treats it like it is his baby. Sam must have also gone to model school because just bring the camera out and he poses for you. He is a real ham. But he is a Great Dane which means he has the brain the size of a pea. He can do some dumb things like not being smart enough to get out of the sun when you get to hot. When he is panting he is not smart enough to drink water. They have to put a lot of water in his food to make up for his lack of drinking it plain.
Sam is a good guard dog when it comes to people jumping over the fence to pick mushrooms. He goes bounding after them barking. They go running. We are never sure if he is really chasing them or if he is saying wait I want to play.
Sam has his own couch to sleep on in the hall with his own blanket, of course. He spends a lot of time here dreaming of chasing sheep and horses. He will bark at them and is very brave when there is a fence between him and them.
All in all Sam is just a big loveable dog who will always make you smile by doing something funny or with his facial expressions.
Sam thanks for all the laughs while we were visiting in Scotland.