Unexpectedly, we received news this weekend that our sweet friend, Emily Grace, had passed away. As she was a pound rescue, we were never entirely sure of her age. She was probably around 15 years old.
The memories came almost right away: that wet nose and that giant tongue in the morning, more compelling than any alarm clock (though right up there with the persistance of the Gray Catsby when his morning bowl is empty!), the way she could often be convinced to snuggle for a while under the covers instead, that obnoxious squeaky noise she’d make when she thought we were ignoring her.
Such a crazy dog I have never know in my life. Three times to the pound before we met, she came with plenty of issues and baggage, things we could only learn with time. Basements were off limits. She firmly believed she was entitled to a minimum of 15% of all we ate. For the first month she was with our family, her other Dad and I were not allowed to touch in her presence. She was a wicked bed-hog. Perhaps most importantly, there was a rather short list of people whom she could be counted on not to scare or nip at. Attention must be paid.
I remember her first Christmas. Among other things, we bought her a neckerchief that read “SANTA’S HELPER” and a nice deep plush dog bed. The next morning, the living room was a puffy cloud of dogbed stuffing strewn everywhere, and the neckerchief had been chewed where she could reach so that it now, appropriately, warned “SANTA’S HEL”.
We often described her as a Cape Cod Brown Dog of Uncertain Lineage, but we could see plenty of things in her. German Shepherd. Rhodesian Ridgeback. Pit Bull. Veloceraptor. Alligator.
Because of her sometimes unpredictable behavior around others (it runs in the family on her other dad’s side), I quickly figured out that the best way for people to meet her was online. During the earlier days of the Internet, Em hosted a GeoCities site (now mostly gone, tho every now and then a page or two floats to the top of a well-played Google search) called Emily’s Online Doghouse, in which she stole car keys to joyride around Wellfleet, suffered many costume changes, sang the praises of the rescue dogs at Ground Zero and participated in the Salt Lake City Olympics.
Despite her flaws and foibles, she was a sweet girl who brought plenty of happiness to her years in our family. I will always remember that New Puppy Smell of her old puppy ears. We know she is now romping in a place where there’s no need for leashes or fences, where food and water bowls are always full and the Dorito bag has no bottom.
The Gray Catsby and I haven’t seen her for nearly four years, but we remember the challenge of adjusting to a life undominated by her massive presence and personality. Our hearts remember all her best qualities and we send our condolences and best wishes to her Other Dad.
May the comfort of fond memories bring peace.