Aug 17, 2010

Loss of a Friend

I lost a friend over the weekend--a canine friend named Lizzie. She was my dog Molly's sibling. They were adopted separately at a Best Friends Animal Society event at PetsMart.

They were born in Orem, Utah, in the spring of 2000, in a back yard. The father dog was a red heeler and the mother, a basset hound. Eight dogs were in the litter; one was stillborn, three were adopted out by the people who had the mother dog, and the other four went to Best Friends.
I had gone to PetsMart that Sunday afternoon to buy cat food for my elderly cat, Tiki. I went home with a puppy, whose name at Best Friends was Princess Anne (whom I later named Molly). Lizzie was named Queen Elizabeth. Madison (adopted by Denise and Tony Meeker) was there too, as was King Charles (called "Chuck" by his adopter). Lizzy (with her blue-heeler coat, above, on a hike) was adopted by Patty Beard and her daughter Stephanie. (Yes, the dogs' original names had a British theme, because their caregiver, who was interning at the time at Best Friends' sanctuary, was from England.) 

Later, the adopters got in touch with each other, so the puppies could play together. When Lizzie and Molly saw each other for the first time after weeks of being apart, their first reaction was to growl at each other -- puppies showing dominance, was all. After that, they were inseparable. They had play dates and sleepovers and hikes together. And they played at the dog park with their friend Sierra, also a puppy the same age, and Eddie, Angel and Bella too. They all grew up together. The littermates even had a first-year birthday party, where all four siblings and some of their canine friends got together to play and eat treats.

Once, when Molly and Rosy (my other heeler-basset mix) had a sleepover at Lizzie's, Patty and her husband had set out frozen beef in three large packages, so it could thaw on the kitchen counter. It was for a family back-yard barbecue, with beef strips, they were having the next day, on Memorial Day. Somehow, these three short dogs were able to jump up and retrieve the packages from the counter. By the time Patty arrived home a few hours later, the meat had been eaten and all that was left -- scattered around the kitchen and living room -- was the packaging, as well as three dogs who looked quite proud of themselves.

On Saturday, August 14, Lizzie, at 10 years old. passed away, possibly from the same thing as Molly two years earlier -- hemangiosarcoma, the silent killer, which goes undetected until it's too late. Lizzie had a mass too. And the symptoms came on suddenly, just as with Molly.

I've always said that Molly (with Lizzie, left) was a heeler trapped in a basset body. But Lizzie was smaller and in better proportion than Molly. And although Lizzie was short like Molly, she was more like a midget heeler, and a fast one. Most of all, she was very sweet and affectionate -- and smart to boot.
The last time we saw Lizzie was three years ago, right before Patty and her husband moved her to Missouri. We met at a dog park to say goodbye, and when Lizzie saw Molly, she started barking her loooong basset bark, practically howling with glee. She and Molly ran and wrestled and chased each other until they dropped on the grass from exhaustion. I had a sense that it would be the last time they'd see each other, but I thought it would only be because of the physical distance between them, not because of a disease or illness that would take them both away.

In Missouri, Lizzie had a new sister, a Corgi pup named Spankee. There, Lizzie loved running free on her large property with Spankee. Lizzie had a favorite tree where she lived, and she liked to sit under and rest there. Now, Spankee sits under that tree.

When Patty said her goodbyes to Lizzie on Saturday, she talked to her and told her she loved her, and that Spankee loved her too. And she also said, "Now you'll be able to run and play and be with Molly again."
Theirs was a lengthy friendship between sibling dogs who didn't live in the same house. But Molly and Lizzie truly loved each other, and it was a genuine bond. Wouldn't that be a hoot if they were together again, chasing each other on grass, trying to wrestle away a tennis ball from the other?

1 comment:

  1. It's really hard to lose someone like a pet. I am so worried how will I be if I will lose my baby Nalla. I might cry a lot.