Friday, October 27, 2006
Suzie - 1992-2006
My darling dog Suzie passed away today due to breast cancer. She was 14.
I found Suzie in 1992. She was a stray that my neighbors took care of for a few days. My previous dog Duke had died six months earlier. They recommended I take her. They'd already named her Suzie. She was so adorable - all white hair with pointy ears and a bushy tail - that I couldn't refuse. I took her out for a quick walk, then let her into my apartment and went off to work. When I came home, everything was fine. Then I took her out and she almost ran away. But I caught her and started the training process.
I never knew how old she was - though she was full grown, I figured she couldn't have been more than a year old. She was definitely a pup. She was a mutt - but in time I figured out that she was mostly American Eskimo or spitz. I just called her the White Fox from the North. My mythical story had her traveling south through Canada to New York where she wound up on my Brooklyn doorstep.
Well, she sure tore up the apartment that first year - grawing through plastic bottles, cd covers, wooden spoons. Fortunately, she left shoes and furniture alone.
Suzie was quite the athlete. She could catch anything. I'd toss her scraps. She'd never miss. It became our pet trick.
One day when I was throwing her a ball I noticed her catch it over her shoulder. I took her out to the park with a Frisbee. I flinged it and she went right after it and snatched it out of the air. Suzie was a Frisbee dog.
Suzie and I did some traveling together. We went to a few Dead shows and Rainbow Gatherings (Alabama, 1994; Ithaca, 1995). She was a great traveling companion.
But mostly Suzie was an urban hound. In her younger years, she'd claim alpha rights over all females, but mellowed as she grew older. Of course, she loved males dogs.
When Suzie was 8 or so, I got her a male companion - Wiggles the beagle. He was given to me by my brother and sister-in-law. He was four and hadn't been behaving. But with a little help from me and Suzie, Wiggles soon became well-trained. They were a terrific pair.
If you're going to have dogs, I highly recommend having two so that they can keep each other company. Another thing was that Suzie had been diagnosed with arthritis. I'm convinved that having Wiggles to play with made her more active and may have extended her life. That and steady doses of Arthogen kept her hind legs limber.
I also have two cats - Minnie and Lennon - who got along great with Suzie. Let's face it, I'm an animal lover.
Over the last few years Suzie began to slow down. She had developed some intestinal problems. She also had a small tumor removed from her outer skin. Then the breast cancer hit and there was no stopping its detemined advance through her body.
Today, my veterinarian, Dr. Roy Appel gave me the difficult diagnosis. I had to let her go.
To all the dog owners out there - be kind to your dogs. They truly are our best friends.
Adios, dear Suzie.
I feel your loss. The pain is like losing a part of yourself.
You and Suzy are in my thoughts