Our little dog Skippy will be 16 years old in a couple of weeks. In dog years, that's...old.
We got her when Ruthie had just turned 3. We already had a couple of dogs, so why did we need a new puppy? Well...there are reasons...but I have long maintained that the whole move was a bit of a mistake. Such is life.
|"Wishbone" of the TV series|
Ruthie and I wanted a "Wishbone" dog - because we'd been watching "Wishbone" on TV (a show about a Jack Russell terrier, who was very, very smart); we just had to have a dog like that. But Jack Russells were quite high-priced, so we settled for a little smooth-coat fox terrier. I don't remember why we named her "Skippy".
About three days after we brought her home, Ruthie, feeling a little jealous of all the attention the puppy required, asked plaintively, "Can we take her back now?"
Ah, yes...out of the mouths of babes! Skippy was ever the recalcitrant terrier. When we had to leave her along in the house, we put her in a little enclosure (just like the ones in the photos below). She climbed out. I have it on video somewhere.
|The first day: Ruthie loved Skippy...at first...|
When we still lived in California, my friend Liz and her kids would come to visit sometimes. Skippy was usually loose in the front yard, and would run in front of Liz's car as she pulled into the driveway. Liz was terrified that she might run over the little dog. I wasn't too concerned, though. "If you do, just make sure it's fatal," was my comment. "I can't afford a lot of vet bills."
Okay, that's sick humor. But that's just me.
We did pay vet bills for Skippy, of course; I particularly remember the one that resulted when she was bit by a coyote. The vet didn't think it was a coyote, but we're pretty sure. The vet thought a coyote would have instantly killed little 10-pound Skippy. Well, the vet didn't really know that dog! Skippy could snarl and snap with the best of them, and I'll bet she let that coyote have an earful. She was left with a couple of wounds, the major one being a deep puncture wound near her hips. There's still a lump of scar tissue there, 13 years later.
When we moved to Oregon, we couldn't keep Skippy in the yard at first - she always got out. And then we would get in the car to drive to town, and she would run along behind us. We would stop the car, but she wouldn't jump in or come close enough to get caught. Frustrating!
My husband had purchased name tags with our phone number on them for all the dogs, just in case they ran away. I told him we should NOT put one on Skippy. He did anyway. Sure enough, one day when we returned from town, we discovered that Skippy was nowhere to be found."Woo-hoo!! Our worries are over!" I thought. But that evening, a woman called from down the road, saying she had our dog. Darn! "I told you not to put that tag on her!" I scolded my husband.
Yeah, yeah, more sick humor. Sorry.
These days, Skippy is really showing her age. She doesn't run away; mostly she sleeps, and pees on the carpet. She's almost blind, and mostly deaf. When she first wakes up and shakes herself, as dogs are wont to do, she almost falls over. She's a little uncertain on the stairs these days, too, so I carry her down the porch steps to go outside, and have even started carrying her back up the steps when she's ready to come in.
Even though she's been a thorn in my side for many years, she's still my dog, and I feel sorry for her. I don't really wish her any harm.
Here are a few photos. As I said, she sleeps...a lot. And you may notice that her brown spots have faded quite a bit. Funny...my brown hair has faded, too (I actually think it's turning blonde, but Ruthie says it's gray), and I seem to have more and more brown spots on my hands. (In dog years, I'm getting old, too.)
In the photo below, she was headed into the space between the refrigerator and the cupboard. I have found her there a couple of times. She does seem to eventually remember how to back up and get out of the corner.
Sometimes, she seems to forget to climb all the way into her bed, and just curls up on the floor next to it. We have the pad there because she usually doesn't wait to be invited to go outside to relieve herself. Or else she forgets that she hasn't gone out the door yet...
This time, she didn't bother to face the corner. She was asleep when I snapped the photo.