Saturday, March 11, 2006

Memories of Missy (Part One)

Note: March 11, 2006 would have been Missy's 12th Birthday. I figured this would be a good time to tell you all about her. Not quilt related at all! Feel free to skip these post if you wish. :)

So let's start at the beginning. Missy was born March 11th, 1994. I think she had a total of 9 brothers and sisters. She's the pup on the right side, with the long streak of white down her nose. :)

How did we get Missy? Well, in the summer of 1993 our family dog, Holly, had puppies and ever since she had those puppies, I was wanting a dog of my own. I was barely 11 years old and I began to save like crazy for a puppy. The biggest income for me was mowing - $2 for the backyard and $1 for the front. Hey, I had no clue about "minimum wages" then. ;)

I also hunted the newspaper ads like crazy, trying to find any Golden that was cheap enough, yet had papers. Finally we found one for $350, that was a good 2 hours drive from us. Mom calls them up, gets directions, stops by the bank for cash and off we go! At that point I had only saved up $189 and Andrea (my 2 years younger sister) had saved $20. We decided that when we bred the pup, we would give one pup back to my parents as a payment for what was due.

We arrive at the breeder's house on April 29th. The puppies are only 7 weeks old. Out of the 10, five have already been claimed. Three boys and two girls left. Since we were sure we wanted a girl, we took both girls out to the front yard and played around with them to try to determine their personalities better. I think the deciding vote to get Missy was because she peed! :D Don't want accidents on the long drive home.

We bring her home. I remember being jealous the first few weeks that she was friendly with EVERYBODY! I wanted her to be my dog. :) First thing we did was seal off all the carpet areas of the house... if she's gonna have an accident, it better be on the tile! But she actually caught on pretty quick about going outside. I remember that the lady told us that they tried to get all the puppies to bathroom on the rocks they had... Missy was the ONLY puppy who did. Smart gal. :)

Missy and Holly got along fine from the start. As Missy got older the two of them engaged it a lot of rough play. For the first couple of months the dogs had to sleep in the garage - not worried about accidents, but what she might chew! Goodness... she chewed up glasses, books, shoes, hangers and golf balls! If there was a way to break it apart, she found it.

In this picture... her fur strongly resembles sand. We would actually lose her in the sandbox. We'd call for her, and she'd be too tired to lift up her head... look in the sandbox... don't see her... where can she be? Call harder... oh! Missy, there you are. :)

Every morning about 5am Missy would start to cry. She had enough sleep. She wanted to be with people! So my mom would wake Andrea and I up and we'd grab a blanket and head down to the garage. The blanket wasn't really for the cold, but for Missy's digging paws. We'd rush down to the ground, pull the blanket tightly around us and cover our faces. Missy would pounce on us and try soooooo hard to find an opening! She'd dig at the blanket like if she was trapped in a building on fire! About half an hour later she'd give up and just try to be happy that we were there with her at all. Then we'd all fall asleep and mom would come and get us around 7 or 8 to begin the day.

Missy was a very people-dog. It didn't matter what we were doing, just so long as she could be around humans, she was happy.

Left to right: Leah, Ben, Missy, Andrea and Sarah.

Missy's first birthday... we made a big deal about that. She even got a cake with peanutbutter, refried beans, cheese and tortillas. The heart attack special! ;)

She did have to share with Holly though, who's birthday was on March 17th.

When Missy was 2.5 years old, we bred her to a church member's dog, Alex. That was August 1996. She went into labor on the night of October 24th. Around 7am on the 25th puppies started popping out! We had a few scares - Missy chewed off the sack of one puppy too close to it's tummy and it spent several minutes profusely bleeding. Since there was no cord to hold shut, we started to worry and called the vet. He said give it a few more minutes, and thankfully the bleeding stopped.

Missy was a great mother. As she was giving birth we'd take away the puppies since they were getting cold being out in the open. We'd put them on a heating pad on the other side of the birthing box divider. Seeing her babies taken away made Missy panic, even if she had a few puppies nursing on her. She would get up, lean over the divider, bite a pup's head and bring it back with her. We quickly learned to grab two puppies, put one on the pad, bring the other back to Missy, take two puppies, bring one back. Nevermind that the divider was only 2 feet away from Missy! :)

She had a total of 10 puppies, but the last one was born dead. It had been inside of her for over 2.5 hours since the last pup and I had read that if the puppies aren't born within 2 hours of each other, there's usually a problem. My mom was gone to help somebody, so I tried hard to revive the dead girl, but nothing worked. So I gave up after 10 minutes and gave Missy the pup. She sniffed it, gave it a few licks, and then ignored it and turned to her living pups. No panic when I took the dead pup away and bagged it for the freezer.

The living pups totalled to be 5 girls and 4 boys. It was decided that each of us kids would get one boy and one girl. I named mine Lynda Dawn and Caleb. Sarah named hers Lacy and Brownie. A neighbor girl named the last girl "Milky Way".

In the picture below, I'm pretty sure it's Milky Way that's giving herself a neck crick. :) Also I spot Lacy on the lower right side of the picture. She has a white streak on her nose like her Mama and also the white chest. Lacy was easily the runt of the litter. She even threw up once - didn't help her weight! :P

Lynda Dawn was the first puppy to be sold. *sniff* I think that was December 21. They made good Christmas pups! Caleb was the last to be sold. We sold him and then the new owner's father died a week later and asked if they could return Caleb. Of course! We kept Caleb for another week - he was smart as his Mama too! He could sit on command, go to the bathroom when we encouraged him and was capable of behaving himself overnight in my bedroom. Happily give his toy a few chews and off to bed he went. But my mom was fed up with dogs by then... and Caleb had to go too. My dad has mentioned a few times throughout the years that he wished we kept Caleb. Sorry Mom, not trying to guilt you. :) But he was definately a quiet and easy going pup.

Below is a picture of Sarah's male pup, Brownie. As "payment" for breeding Missy to Alex, we let the owners have first pick of any pup. They called him Brandon and he got to live with his dad. They were kind enough to share pictures of him at 4 months old.

Lacy was a toughie to sell - it was obvious she was the runt. So I offered a deal to the next door neighbors. I would often times walk all three dogs, Missy, Lacy and Holly.

Even in this picture you can still see that Lacy is a runt. She was always small and skinny for her breed. But it was very nice having Missy's daughter next door. We moved when Lacy was almost 4 years old and her owner reported that Lacy was very lonely. Aww... :( When Lacy was 5.5 they bred her. Can you believe that tiny dog had 12 puppies?!?! She went from being very round to even thinner than ever after having her pups. Lacy did have one defective pup. He was just born too soon, his face wasn't developed right among other things and they had to put him down since he wasn't able to nurse.

Lacy's owner got married when the pups were about 4 weeks old. She gave me a key to their house and I would check by once or twice a day. So easy to fall in love with them! And I did. The pups were sold one by one. Except Ginger. She wasn't a runt, just nothing extra special about her. I wanted her so much! Her owners even offered her to me for $200 (Lacy's pups were selling for $700) but I knew I wouldn't be able to get away with that since Mom forbade any more dogs. I did take Ginger to my parents house once too. Just trying to convince Mom... :) She ended up being sold to somebody else when she was about 12 weeks old and that was the end of it. Looking back now... I do wish we kept both Caleb and Ginger. They would have been 9 and 4 years old now. And help soften the blow of Missy's death.


Helen in the UK said...

I just loved your stories of Missy. The pictures are so gorgeous - makes your heart melt! I'm a owner of a 5 year old Golden called Trevor who is so much fun to own and has a super personality. Thanks for sharing.

Dawn said...

Emily would love your story about Missy. She wants a dog sooo bad. I want to reach in there and just cuddled up to one of those puppies! Good thing they are just old pictures!

Maya Madhavan said...

Thanks for sharing, Leah. The photos are great (- aren't puppies the cutest sight?) and you write so well. I don't hav a pet now, but I always think about the only dog I had. He was with us for 13 years and was a source of such joy. I look forward to hearing more about Missy.