Of people, dogs and mutual love!
(The second part of Peter and Leslie Sonne’s guest post. Do read the first part before today’s post.)
A staff member at our specialty vet knew of a rescue that reminded her of our beloved cattle dog, who we had lost the year before, and pushed us to contact the foster mom. Peter had really been missing his truck buddy and none of the other dogs had worked as his constant companion.
The photos melted our hearts and we contacted the foster mom, Jenn. The little girl was called Hedgehog, as she had lost much of her hair due to neglect and as it was growing back in, everyone thought she looked like a hedgehog. It was love at first sight, but Jenn diligently ensured that “Hedgy” got along with the rest of the ranch hands before approving the adoption. Peter teaching her to roll over within 5 minutes of meeting her helped seal the deal. The adoption led to an immediate name change and our Peggy Sue joined the pack. We thank Jenn for giving us the thumbs up and allowing us to share the second half of Peggy’s life.
Peggy acclimated to the pack quickly, although she was a loner. Fiercely independent, she would often be in her rocker in the great room, keeping an eye on the scary ceiling fan, while the rest of the gang was in the office or kitchen with us. She sort of just tolerated the others, although on rare occasion her nub would go up and she would play with someone for about 30 seconds – almost like she figured it was expected of her now and then.
One of Peggy’s favorites things was to go for rides in the truck. She preferred to be alone, but would grudgingly share her backseat with one or more siblings if necessary. We think she actually preferred to be with only one of us so that she could ride shotgun, resting her head on the console and gazing at us with eyes full of love. The ear massages as we meandered down the road helped!
We discovered right away that she was a foodie. While she never really begged, actually feigning a look of boredom at the human meal process, she moved with lightning speed to get any morsel that fell to the ground and the others quickly learned to not even try to out maneuver her.
Peggy was not overtly affectionate, did not like to cuddle and really did not give kisses. However, it was certainly OK for some humans to give her belly rubs, neck massages and her favorite, massages to her ears. Peggy had a signature gait where as she trotted along every few steps her back legs would do a little hop, which would propel her back end forward, causing her to look like the letter “J.” I loved to watch, as she would trot down the hall each morning beside Peter.
Last August, we found a small lump on her neck and she was diagnosed with lymphoma. She breezed through the chemotherapy and was in remission when a different lymphoma was discovered. She breezed through that treatment and all was good. She was in remission from both when she started having GI problems and unspecified infections. Initially, she was able to respond and rebound but a couple of days ago she got sick again. Hoping for the best, we treated her, but when our little foodie stopped eating, not even tempted with the tastiest morsel, we felt that she was giving us a sign.
Last night, we spent a couple of hours with her as she relaxed on the lawn. Her nose was often raised in the air as if taking in all the smells of the ranch that she loved so much. This morning, Mille, Samantha and Jake all said their goodbyes, and she accepted their kisses, which was another sign to us that she was ready to go.
As we sat with her this morning we knew that she was dancing across the Rainbow Bridge, with her signature hop, as she went to join all of our other ranch hands that have gone before. We pictured Bucky and Spencer playing in the river with Lexy and Minnie, Sundance egging Jack and Gus into a game of tag and Queenie impatiently waiting for Peggy to brief her on the ins and outs of her new pack. Big Jake happily grazes nearby and looks forward to a nap in the sun while the others watch his back.
From the bottom of our hearts we thank Dr. Merrianne Burtch from Pacific Veterinary Specialists for her initial treatment and Dr. Theresa Arteaga from Animal Cancer Center for her loving extended treatment (and both of them for their friendship). Dr. Arteaga and her fantastic staff (Jodi, Linda, Nicole and Elizabeth) always made Peggy’s treatments as relaxing as possible and this morning was no exception.
To know us is to know our dogs. To know us is to know our heartache.
Peter and Leslie
PS- Miss Peggy Sue most certainly did become Peter’s truck buddy and constant companion!
When I was working on this post yesterday afternoon, I didn’t have a clue as to how to close it off. This from someone who is not normally lost for words.
But I wanted some words that would leave the most glorious echo or afterglow of Peggy, and of every other dog that brings out the best of love in us.
One of the followers of this place is Susan Leighton. This is her blog: Woman on the Ledge.
I will close with Susan’s words:
I guess one of the reasons I am enamored with dogs is because they give to us unconditional love. They don’t care what we look like, if we are rich or poor, they are attracted to our souls.