I had made all sorts of plans to start work on packing up 'stuff' in the house today for preparation for whatever renovations need to take place for our family home in order to get it ready for the sale market--but yesterday I hurt my back while shifting deck furniture and as a result, my left knee is the size of a --well- it is very swollen. So, as a consequence, I have watched - much to my surprise - 2 very sad dog movies on my subscription TV network. Am I melancholy? What do you think?
So, dear reader, be prepared--you are about to find out about Missy--my poodle/terrier cross which I received as a surprise 'get well quick gift', after having my tonsils removed - back when I was about probably 10 - 12 years old.
After I got home from the hospital, my throat was so sore, and I was a miserable mess of self pity, as I lay in my bedroom on that hot summer day--waiting to be given something cold and soothing for my poor, sore throat, in my listless ol' 'Woe begone me' state. Then suddenly Mum yelled out to me to come downstairs because there was "Someone who I needed to meet!" I was amazed and shocked that this mysterious person couldn't understand my plight, and of course out of immense sympathy - at least make the effort to march up the stairway to meet me instead! But, I pulled my pathetic body out of bed, and groaned as it made its tortuous descent down the stairway. Out on the back porch steps Mum sat on the lower step while some of our neighbours stood around looking at something small which was apparently sitting on the ground below the lower step. I approached, a bit curious--then I saw her---a gorgeous, very small bundle of white fur and big black eyes---She just stood and quivered with excitement at all of the attention--I was introduced excitedly to Missy-- the newest member of our family--a cross between a poodle and a terrier---and my saviour from self pity!
I instantly found my voice, my sore throat was a thing of the past, and I discovered love - true love--for a puppy of such small stature!
Missy was very clever, and we discovered that though she fretted for the first few nights as we settled her into her cardboard box, swathed in old towels, in my 'old' playroom just off the kitchen in a small alcove, she still whimpered and sought attention, usually in the middle of the night. After a few attempts we discovered that one of my old fluffy dogs, and a ticking wind-up alarm clock nearby was enough to keep her settled during the night in order for us all to get some sleep.
That summer, my Mum and Dad took my sister, Joyce and I to Nisswa, Minnesota, for a week of living in a rustic, lakeside cabin where we fished, played board-games, and occasionally went into the local ommunity for treats and maybe a game of bingo--but mostly we just didn't have access to the 'real' world. We didn't have TV or radio access by choice, and avoided newspapers. Joyce and I spent a lot of time playing with Missy who had been with us for about 2 months by this stage. Missy was very clever, and in just that week we had taught her to sit on command and to lay down and to roll over. Her favourite trick though was to sit up with her little paws outstretched in a begging type manner--because she always knew laughter and a treat would soon follow. Missy was small--but huge in energy and spirit.
When I was about 14 Mum and Dad bought a new home on a 1 acre block just outside of town. My sister Joyce got married that same year and there was a lot of commotion. Amongst this commotion, I eventually settled into a new school, and started to ride a school bus for the first time. We were a small community of kids, who all looked after each other and knew important stuff about each other, like when we happened to sleep in, how to make the bus driver wait--because we knew that all of our 'crew' would arrive eventually! Well, our house was just on the ridge of 'Dead Man's Curve' as it was called. So--in the early mornings I had to use good caution crossing the highway to get to the assigned bus-stop across the highway from my house. Missy would run up to the back of the couch in the formal living room of our home and sitting on the edge of the couch's back, would peer out of the window and watch me walk down the white pebbled driveway to the road, and wait until I boarded the bus, before she would start her day.
At 3:15 in the afternoon, without fail, Mum said that Missy would once again run into the living room, jump on the back of the couch, and look out of the window facing the highway and the bus-stop and wait for me to come home. When she finally saw me get off the bus, she would start her excited dance and wait, her whole body quivering--ready to greet me as I walked in the back door. We were such good friends. We explored everywhere together.
Our neighbours had a bit more land which also included a small pond, and occasionally Missy and I would wonder over there to see what we could find.. They had 2 red setters who were show dogs, and occasionally they would follow us around with their silken hair wound up in plastic bags getting oiled, I guess, for their next show. I think they envied Missy and I. We just had fun - got dirty a lot, and then came home.
Life was pretty good. I was making some good friends in my new school, Missy had her routine, and everything was settling into a comfortable happy zone. Easter was approaching, and I was going to read a passage in the church celebration. On Easter morning, we had gotten up early to let Missy out of the house for her early morning 'duty' and we were having fun looking at what the Easter bunny had left for us in our baskets! I started to get ready for church, when I noticed that Missy hadn't come back and scratched at the door to be let in the house again. It was a rainy Spring morning, and I opened the back door and called out for her. But she didn't respond. I shouted out to Mum and Dad to say that I didn't know where Missy was and grabbing an umbrella, I went out to look for her, calling out loudly "Missy" "Missy, where are you girl?"
Worried, I was now down by the highway, and still could not see any trace of her - I walked up towards the infamous Curve, but couldn't see any white ball of fluff anywhere! By this stage my voice was probably becoming a bit more frantic, and I was yelling loudly "Missy! Missy Girl! Where are You? Please, Missy--where are you?"
Mum and Dad had been phoning the neighbours to see if Missy had wondered over to any of the other properties, and Dad was then walking down the driveway towards me, when I heard a whimper. It was Missy!!
She had been hit by some force and thrown down into a deep ditch next to our driveway. She was muddy and bleeding but still managed to half-wag her little muddied tail as soon as she realised that I had found her. She had somehow managed to climb up the deep ditch and get to the top so that I could see her. I gently picked her up, yelling out to Dad that I had found her. He helped me put her into the backseat of our family car, carefully wrapped in towels to keep her warm, while we drove her to the Vet to see what help we could find for her. I sat in the backseat with her, holding her--willing her to be OK. But before we made it to the Vet--she just died in my arms. The Vet confirmed her death.
But that was Missy for you. Even in her last moments she used all of her strength to find me - to let me know that she loved me. She was the greatest of gifts and One I will never forget!