The following is an e-mail that my wife sent to family & friends following the death of our oldest Lab last Friday. I thought that some of you pet lovers might like it -
This past Friday, the Baton Rouge Berrys lost one of their oldest and dearest friends/family members. Alex was 13 going on 100 and had been feeling a little poorly of late. She had survived getting hit by a car in 2005 and the bite of a copperhead in April of this year, but she barreled through those problems with the loyalty of...well, of a Labrador.
Alex was the perfect fuzzy human. Like most of us, she was demanding, self-centered, curmudgeonly and had recently taken to walking out to the middle of the yard and barking at absolutely nothing (yes, I do that too).
She had many nicknames, Big Al, Big Sissy, Big Girl, Big Dog, Shorter-than-Nana, Sweet Angel Baby and Dammit among them.
She hated giving kisses on the lips, because, well let' s face it, you simply don't know where a human's face has been. Humans do spend a whole lot unaccounted-for time away from home.
She tolerated giving kisses on the hand, and simply loved the flavor of freshly lotioned legs.
She didn't mind drinking out of the water bowl, but thought the water in the toilet tasted better, and even better than that was water fresh from the bathtub faucet, but nothing beat drinking the droplets of water left over after a shower.
She liked to lay on the cool kitchen floor, but would rather lay down on Momma on the couch, after all, Alex was still just a puppy.
She loved having conversations with Daddy, (inflection and all) but she was not above talking back. Graciously, she didn't mind being told to use her inside voice to do so.
She hated showing someone the "tricks" she could do. By the time she was 4 months old, she could Sit, Stay, Down, Bang, Dead-dog, retrieve, find-it, but those tricks are for dogs and she was a fuzzy human. She felt that once she mastered those tricks, there was no need to continue to prove herself. She would do them for steak or Grrr-odiva Chocolate, but you couldn't expect her to do them for less unless you wanted to be snorted upon or talked badly about.
She believed that her place was in the kitchen under Daddy when he was cooking, especially if Daddy had more than one item going at a time. Watching Daddy juggle hot pots, hot pans, sharp knives and boiling noodles in a colander was great entertainment.
She was utterly disgusted to be told to get out of the kitchen, after all, she was letting those two legged hairless dogs live with her and she even tolerated their badnick two legged racket-making pups.
She didn't have an aggressive bone in her body, but every once in a while she would give a blustery grumble if any other two legged or four legged Shorter-than-Nana's stepped on her.
She was the perfect starter-kit for a marriage. As Chad said, if you can make it through the first 2 years with a Labrador puppy living in the house, kids would be a cinch.
Three couches, several blinds, lots of nerf balls, one botched watchdog job (but successful burglary), many holes in the yard, one carpet, 12 uncooked chicken breasts ("Really, you gotta be smarter than the dog.") and an extra year later, as I raced across the back yard, 8 months pregnant, trying to corner Alex and get her to drop the ball of yarn with a trail of unraveling baby blanket I had been crocheting, it dawned on me ... kids were definitely going to be a cinch.
Kids weren't a cinch, but when we things got rough, Alex was there to demand a little "Big Pup Time" and help everyone simmer down.
Several kids and pups down the road, and Alex was the Momma dog, and probably better at keeping everyone in line than Daddy and Momma ever could be.
Alex passed at about 11:30 on Friday Morning. She left behind all of her BR Berry Pups and her Momma and Daddy. She will be missed terribly, but never forgotten.
If you have a special four-legged someone in your life, give them a big hug. After all, they probably deserve it.