• Brandy

    by Jane Roland

    jane brandy dogsThe year was 2000; we were embarking on a long desired remodel of our house.   The galley kitchen would be removed and a new one would become part of the family room.  Things were getting torn up and torn down.   We went out for dinner and when we returned our beloved yellow lab, Bailey, was lying on the floor, his final sleep.  He was only ten and had shown no symptoms of illness, none the less, he was gone.  At the time we had two cats, Joe (Montana) and Mike (Crawford), and a little dog bestowed upon us by Jan Carnes, Dixie.  In view of the enormous disruption that was about to occur in our lives, we decided to wait until the work was finished to get a new pet. Mike and Joey adored each other, and Dixie was quite satisfied to be the only pooch.   They all slept on our bed and for a time, everyone ate in the bed or living room.

    In March of the next year we were talking about getting a buddy for our Southern Belle,  Trae Dunnick who worked at the SPCA and had become a good friend as well as house sitter was a humane officer.  One day she called from Hollister saying that there were three chocolate labs at the Shelter ..  John drove over. Two of the dogs demonstrated significant abuse, the third was a gorgeous female about six months old and, when I returned home that evening we had a new pet.   Our vet, Bill Cleary, said that she was a beautiful purebred and he was surprised that she was at a Shelter and there had been no inquiries.   We soon learned the reason.  Brandy was a travelin’ woman. The moment a door was opened she would scoot past and tear off.  We received calls from all over the city. Fortunately we had an AKC chip and only once in the last thirteen years did we need to pick her up at an impound.  She had also, obviously, been kicked by someone, previous owner (?), and was very nervous if a heavy shoe touched her rear end.  Once, she viewed walking boots, she was at the living room door looking across the patio where people were sitting.  She screamed in terror. In time the fear abated as she realized she was safe.

    Unlike our former escape artist, Cinder, Brandy did not scale fences.  She, as did our black lab, Beau, would await an opportunity to escape. She would run and run.  Always happy to be home but, in earlier days, happier with the “wind beneath her wings”. Six years ago little Dixie, by then in her teens, gave up the ghost.  She simply laid down for a nap and never awoke.  Dixie had a good, happy life, more satisfied in a lap than anywhere else.  She did not bond with Brandy; however, the two tolerated each other.  When she departed we sensed that the Lab was lonely but determined to wait before finding another dog.

    When the time was right, we went on a search, taking Brandy along as her approval was essential.  No dog at AFRP suited our girl and I headed out to the SPCA.  Dog after dog came out to meet her in the yard, there was no chemistry.  As I was about to depart I passed a cage with a small dog.  It was a pup with long ears, tail and short legs. A dachshund mix from a puppy mill, about six months old.  “Well little girl, I will give you a crack”. Out we went to meet a possible friend, there was immediate chemistry and my ride home was with two dogs.

    That was five years ago, Lilah adores Brandy (her best buddy is Toby the cat), whom she sees as a maternal figure.  If Brandy needs to leave to see a vet, Lilah has hysterics; she screams cries and runs around in desperation.  Daughter, Jennie, made the comment.  “Dogs drive you crazy when they are hyper kids and teen agers, then they settle down and are sweet and quiet, then they die”.  We have reached that milestone.  Brandy is on her last legs; she has congestive heart failure and is living on borrowed time.  She is comfortable with her pills, eats well and misses her walks, which are forbidden.  Lilah is distraught and in sympathy won’t eat unless “mama” does so.

    In the past month I have heard similar stories from friends, the loss of cats, dogs, birds and horses.  Those who don’t understand the love of

    animals have missed one of the greatest pleasures in life.  Where else can one find a friend who adores without question, accepts his owner’s imperfections, doesn’t gossip, doesn’t complain, just loves and is always there?  People have said it is like losing a member of the family, they are wrong; it is losing a family member.

    posted to Cedar Street Times on September 4, 2013

    Topics: Animal Tales and Other Random Thoughts

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