I remember very well the day in 1995 that we went to adopt our little Katie-bug. My mom had decided it was time for another dog; she and I drove to the city pound to adopt from a litter she had read/seen in the paper. A litter of Terrier crosses that had been abandoned. (I will apologize now for no puppy pictures, as all of those are hard copy buried in albums somewhere at my parents house).
It started out with Mom saying, "I want a short-haired female." By the time we drove up to the pound, it had turned into, "I want a female." And when we walked in, she took the first puppy to jump up on her. Luckily it was female, but she was long haired with massively uneven floppy ears.
She was perfect.
Katie-bug, Christmas '09, showing off her perfectly imperfect ears.
We found out quickly that all you had to do was look at the damn dog cross-eyed and she'd squat and pee. It took us years to break her of that. And it wasn't like we were giving her mean looks, either. You could walk in and she'd be all excited to see you and you excited to see her, and she'd piss all over the floor.
Katie and Mickie.
Another thing we found out quickly was her love of fetching. That dog was in love with tennis balls. I think she loved them more than us sometimes. For several years, you couldn't throw a tennis ball enough for her. We couldn't wear her out. It took my mom's BFF's son to finally wear her out. Once. I'm not sure he ever accomplished it more than once. We all swore she'd die chasing tennis balls, her favorite thing in the world.
And not just tennis balls. Any ball. Or stick - even if it was bigger than her. The best ball story has to do with my volleyball. I had a pink volleyball that had blue or purple triangles on it. Probably not the prettiest but it was bright and you could see it coming so you could hit it instead of it hitting you. My parents and I were out in the back of the house, doing something, when all of a sudden we hear this muffled "ooooooooooow! oooooooooooooow!" We couldn't figure out what that noise was for the life of us. We made our way to the garage and stopped and started laughing our asses off. Somewhere in an album there is a picture of this, but I have no idea where. We found Katie slowly making her way alongside the back of the house, howling to tell us to come help her. We did, once we got over our initial shock and laughter. Our other dog at the time, Dustie, liked to eat balls . . . and she eventually got a hold of my volleyball and chewed a hole through it. You would find bits of tennis balls or my pink volleyball in her poop all the time. Quite amazing Dustie never wound up needing exploratory surgery. Anyway, Katie, while playing with said volleyball, had managed to get it stuck on her head!! She had bounced her head along the side of the house, knowing which direction we were in. After taking a picture, we rescued the poor dog's head from the dog-eating volleyball.
Oddly enough, she loved to swim. We had a Lab cross, Dustie, that refused to go in any deeper than her belly. Part Lab my ass.
Katie in the water, with her precious tennis ball. Charlie waiting to steal it.
Another thing Katie was excellent at, was catching popcorn. Hey eye-snout coordination was top-notch. Charlie, our hound dog, has the worst eye-snout coordination ever.
Waiting for popcorn, April '10.
Katie also helped Dustie chase after wild turkey's and deer. Dustie would actually chase after them so that we had to chase after her. Katie usually made it as far the end of the yard. Better than nothing, I suppose.
For a few years, travelling with Katie proved to be interesting. The poor thing got car sick. We had to ask the vet if we could give her Dramamine, or the like. And for awhile, we did have to. One day she just stopped getting car sick, thank God.
Katie-bug was probably a 1 or 2 here; took a picture of a picture in a frame on the wall. On our way to a campsite somewhere, hoping for a bite of doughnut.
If you threw a tennis ball for Katie, she would be your friend for life. She didn't quite trust you until you played fetch with her. After that, you were in. For life.
As it happens, Katie-bug got older. It took her longer to catch the tennis ball. She couldn't jump to catch the ball anymore. Her eye sight started to fade. Her popcorn catching abilities started to wane. She started getting fatty tumors.
Katie posing in her scragamuffin glory.
All of a sudden, it seemed her arthritis took a bad hold on her. She was usually too painful to lay still for very long. The vet put her a few different medications to try to alleviate her pain and discomfort. She'd meander along, deaf as a doorknob. She started barking at nothing, and didn't bark when there was something to bark at. She never took much of a liking to Libby; she took a nice big dump in front of Libby's kennel shortly after Libby joined the family. And every time I kissed and hugged her good-bye, I started to worry it could be the last.
"You lookin' at me?"
This past year, my parents had to keep her locked in the laundry room because she was becoming incontinent. My parents kept lots of blankets for her to lay on. Some days she didn't have much of an appetite, others she did. Some days she had a bit of spunk and would hop (her new old-lady version of running) outside. She'd still get excited when I'd come see her, although sometimes she wouldn't know I was home til I got on my knees to put my hand in front.
We couldn't get her groomed anymore, as we couldn't pick her up - she was too painful.
Just before Christmas, the vet's office insisted she go in for blood work. They have to monitor her kidneys with the medications she was on, and they wouldn't refill her medications without the blood work. My parents managed to get her in the truck, where the vet discovered a tumor on her spleen. He gave our sweet little Katie-bug about 3 months.
My parents brought her home for one last Christmas with her people, her pets . . . her family.
I saw her at the end of January, knowing that most likely, it would be the last time I would see her. I gave her extra hugs and extra kisses, and told her just how precious she was to me. Our little lopsided-ear dog.
On Saturday, February 18th, 2012, Mom texted me while I was work at the vet's office. They had taken Katie-bug to the vet to have her euthanized. She was 17 years old.
Now we know she's no longer in pain, but is instead, trying to get her tennis ball back from Dustie in their own little keep-away game in puppy heaven.