I am not an animal lover. Truth be told, I'm really quite afraid of dogs - even ones I know.
In the early nineties we decided once Ryder, our golden retriever, was gone that we would remain dogless and put up with the cat only because she was a very good cat who required little maintenance, and she was much more lovable than the mice that are inevitable when you live on acreage.
Then came Jed.
Our special needs son has always had items of obsession. Over the years the objects of his obsession will change and vary, and have included things like flashlights, calendars, uniforms of any sort, West Jet, paper (flyers, newspaper, catalogs) bears and the Colorado Avalanche.
From birth to teen years his list of favourite items always included dogs and policemen. When he was 8 years old we decided maybe having the responsibility of caring for his own dog (a real one, not just his collection of 327 stuffies that all had names, family groupings and he slept with and all smelled like pee) he would somehow mature and become grown up.
And so began the quest for a new dog for the Ziemer household to become Jed's ninth birthday present. He knew exactly what he wanted: a male German Shepard police dog. He'd name him Sergeant.
I knew exactly what he was getting: a female, small house dog mutt (interpret that 'cheap or free')
Shortly before Jed's birthday I saw an ad for puppies for 50 bucks. They had 3 males and 1 female. I bought the female sight unseen and met the woman at Tim Hortons the next afternoon. As did 3 other prospective owners. One of the other new owners begged me to trade her so she could have the all black female I held tightly in my arms. "Nope," said I.
Jed loved his puppy dearly and named her Sergeant just as planned. He never did understand why his dog didn't grow into a large police dog that lifted its leg to piss on everything. But he loved her just the same. And so did all who met her.
Right from the beginning she was a naturally docile, well behaved and easily trained dog. However she wasn't much of a nurturing mother and after 2 batches of puppies we quit playing that game and had her spayed.
On Tuesday, March 2, 2010, a couple of months short of her 15th birthday, Sergeant, who's shiny black coat had turned to a dull gray, went to puppy heaven after breathing, walking and bladder control just became too much for her to handle. We loved her and she will be missed.
Part of Jed's dealing with the stress of having his dog put down had him visit the SPCA that day. As he quietly sauntered home, our Portuguese next door neighbour stopped him to ask how he was doing.
"Not so good," was Jed's reply. "I had to get my dog euthanized today."
"Oh, but that's a good thing!" was the enthusiastic response of the neighbour.
The next day the neighbour called to apologize to Albert after his sister explained to him that "euthanizing" is significantly different than "neutering."
Goodbye Old Girl, thank you for all the love you brought to our family.