This past Saturday, August 14, 2010, our family had to say goodbye to a special friend. My parents had to put down our toy poodle, Desi. I say "our" because she was technically my dog.
The summer when I was 15, I baby-sat for the son of one of Mom's co-workers. He was an only child too, and I think we just fell in love with each other. He was about 8 years old and was like the little brother I never had. Even after that summer, I would keep up with him, since our moms worked together. The next summer, as I was turning 16, they gave me the coolest present....first pick from a litter of toy poodle puppies. They had a female and had decided to breed her. Instead of keeping the first pick, they gave it to me for my birthday. I still remember going to their house when the puppies were just 2 weeks old and making my "pick". How I told them apart, I'll never know, since they were such tiny balls of black fluff. But I managed to choose one and we tied a red ribbon around her neck so we would know which one she was. A few weeks later I brought her home.
Desi was instantly part of the family! And in keeping with the true, girly poodle impression, when she got her hair cut, she came home with ribbons on her ears and painted toe nails to match! She and I were best pals! When the time came for me to go to college, she of course stayed at home but was ever so happy to see me when I would come home for the weekend or holidays. Momma always teased me that when I finally moved out, I was taking Desi too. However, when I got married and was moving out, Desi stayed with my parents. They became so attached to her that they were not willing to give her up too! So while she was "mine", she ended up being my parents' dog.
As she got older, her health got bad, as happens to most of us. We learned about a year or two ago that she had developed a heart murmur, so I knew that the time was coming closer. She had several times in the past year when we all thought this was the end for her, but she would bounce back. However, this past week was just too much suffering for her, so Mom and Dad had to make the tough decision to have her put to sleep. I had already told them that whatever decision they made, I was agreeable with. So while I was expecting to get a phone call one day soon, I was still shocked on Saturday morning when Mom called to tell me that Desi was no longer here. My dad stayed with her until she fell asleep, and then he buried her out at the edge of our yard, where he had buried my cat.
Desi was the sweetest dog and she was part of our lives for 15 wonderful years. We will miss her dearly, but she will always be in our hearts.