Monday, January 3, 2011
Yesterday, January 2 2011, was the third anniversary of the death of one of the Great Dogs of my life: Zephyr, aka Parasol, aka Bella Rita Pita.
When John and I adopted her in September 2005, I assumed that she would grow into old age with me. But aggressive osteo-sarcoma intervened and she died a month before her seventh birthday.
I have loved dogs ever since receiving a Cocker Spaniel puppy, Lucky Penny, for my third birthday. (No, I do not advise giving dogs as gifts to pre-schoolers--or to children of any age, for that matter. But my parents were clear that Penny was my sister's and my dog in name only. They took complete responsibility for her care, so that my sister and I were able to bond emotionally with her without the burden of responsibilities that no child can meet.)
From the time Penny entered our lives, my sister and I learned by the example of our parents--practically by osmosis--that having a dog in one's home is a privilege and that dogs are to be treated with care.
It's wonderful to have a well cared for, pure bred puppy, train them to be an integral part of your family, and watch how the personality traits that you saw while they were still with their litter mates blossom as they mature.
But it wasn't until John and I began to adopt rescued dogs that I began to experience the greatest rewards of having dogs in my home. It was an honor to have known Zephyr. No dog looked just like her. No dog acted just like her. No dog has ever died with more dignity and grace.