This is Piper, a purebred Scottish Terrier - proper name is Aberdeen Terrier. You will remember the black dog from Black & White whiskey, or the thick-brogued, fellow from "Lady and the Tramp".
These dogs have held a long spot in the hearts of my family. My paternal grandmother had a scotty, and my father spent a great deal of time with his sergeant-major's Jock during the second world war. My sister now has her second scotty.
Us? Well, after our beloved Moo died, we were dog-less for over a year and had no wish to look for another. We would half-halfheartedly discuss another dog, but then let the conversation die. It seemed that we would just not bother again.
Then, one day out of the blue, our friend Greg called with a woeful story of a little dog that needed a home because her family could no longer care for her. Mum was a school principal and dad had Alzeimer's. The care giver had no time to give the dog, a five year old female scotty. Without missing a beat I agreed to take her, then went to wake up my husband who had just come off of a midnight shift to tell him we were about to become dog people again.
That evening Greg, his wife and daughter, brought Piper to us. I fell in love instantly as is my wont, and Piper moved into our lives. She had been bred of champion stock in France, and shipped here to a breeder who showed her and put a lot of championship points on her. Piper was then bred twice and had two litters of pups who went on to become prize winners and calendar dogs. After her usefullness as a money-maker was completed, she was sold as a pet to the aforementioned couple.
Now she was ours. Piper was a great little dog. She was so quiet we couldn't quite believe it. She hardly ever made a sound which is grand for apartment folks. She adjusted to us very quickly and developed a huge crush on Studly as dogs do, although she and I maintained an easy friendship as well.
Piper was not only quiet, she was never in a hurry. Studly got no exercise whatsoever when walking her as her methods consisted of taking a couple of little steps then sniffing the bejarpurs out of whatever was on the ground. It could take an hour to go around the block. I insisted she walk to heel but Studly let her make all the decisions. His patience with her was endless.
This was an extremely popular dog in our building. There is a Bingo game each Monday evening and the Bingo players are very serious about it all, but they would call a break to visit with Piper if she walked past the common room. Ditto for card nights. Piper would stroll into the lounge as if she owned it and go to each person and say her version of 'hello'.
Watching her walk away was a surefire medicine to make you smile. Those funny little hairy legs and that foursquare body were guaranteed to make the worst curmudgeon grin and bend over to stroke her head. Our friend Chuck considered her to be his 'other' dog. Piper could charm the angels themselves I'm sure.
In Pipers sixth year with us she developed lumps under her chin, and when we took her to the vet he found a big mass in her abdomen. The verdict was grim. Cancer had invaded and it was aggressive and fast-growing. She had stopped wanting to eat or walk and that morning she had laid herself down outside, an act so unlike her that it frightened us.
We had to make the hard decision to give her an easy death before the illness robbed her of all quality of life. We kissed her and thanked her for her love and companionship. Studly told her not to worry, that 'Daddy will make it all better'. Then, while we held her in our arms and kissed her head, the vet helped her gently slip away.
We are still in the mourning phase of this goodbye and as of right this minute, our plan is to not have another dog, but to give ourselves some time of freedom from schedules and so forth. Maybe what we are really doing is giving ourselves some vacation from heartbreak.
Of course, just this week we had our dear friend's precious boy Kagnay with us for a few days while he was away. It was awfully nice to have this little bundle of affection around and we willingly enslaved ourselves for him. I think we are basket cases when it comes to animals. Kagnay and Piper were good pals so it kind of brought her back for a bit too.
Time will tell as it always does. Never say never is an old chestnut but I have lived long enough to realize its truth. We will see.
|This is Kagnay the miniature pinscher. How adorable is he?|