She came to us as a 6 month old puppy, fully potty-trained, beautifully marked with a black heart on her back, frisky and funny and already showing signs of sneaky and naughty.
She had five jobs: 1) Alienate the neighbors, 2) share food with the toddler (we went through four of them with her), 3) lick small chilren, or really, any victims on the face--especially during family tussles when the weaker person was pinned by the victor, 4) push basketballs around the yard, 5) poop in high-traffic areas.
She also protected everyone from the vacuum, ate cat poop, barked at visitors as they left our home, hid at bedtime to avoid the crate, and met every person at the door as though they were long-lost friends.
She climbed a tree once, played one-sided fetch (I'll fetch, all right, but you have to chase me around to get it back) and was able to escape any fence.
These previous two "skills" were the Darwinian personality quirks that finally did her in.
Last Thursday as we piled into the van, Niko piled in, too and was ready to go to Grandma and Grandpa's home for dinner. No way!
So we chased her around the van and tossed her into the back yard. (I really don't know why we even bothered--we all knew it would only be a matter of a few minutes before she was free to roam the neighborhood.) All of the bricks around the bottom of the fence were secured, and the previously used 'stepping-stones' for climbing over the fence had been cleared, but unfortunately the gate was not tightly locked. Really, though. It didn't matter. She was Houdini.
We weren't surprised to return and find the back yard empty, though it was weird that she didn't show up to greet us as we pulled in and tumbled out of the van.
After the dust settled, Handsome Prince went out to look for her. Nothing. Stupid pooch; must be out gallivanting. Bet she'll show up about 2:00 a.m. and wake us up.
So the next morning I made a few phone calls, and sure enough, she'd gotten herself arrested without a collar. I tossed the three Littles in the car and we went to bail her out of the clink.
They were sober when they met us--I was too embarrassed at first to notice. We had never licensed her when we moved in, and she was a couple months late for a rabies shot. They were very understanding as I shelled out $50 bail--just like Monopoly--and they took us back to a quiet cell, and finally stopped us to gently tell me the news. Niko had been hit by a car.
I carefully carried a sad, sorry dog out to the van, loaded the kids, and headed for the vet. Caboose threw a tantrum as we slowly made our way into the vet's office; she wanted me to carry her. One lady said to me as she held the door, "Oh, I am so sorry for you!" Nice. Me, too.
True to form, they had to sedate her to even handle her. Niko has always had vet issues. It was encouraging to see that she still took nothin' from nobody. $380 later, we learned that her useless front leg was not broken, but paralysed, and her back hip and leg were broken, and she was a mess...
Everyone got a chance to visit and say good-bye. L Nellie came back with me and held her while they put her down. (By this time we had racked up another $130 and we were NOT shelling out another $60 to have her creamated.)
She was nippy at toddlers, stupid-selfish with bones and squeak-toys, woke us up almost every night, stole food and gum from the trash and drank from the toilet. (But I must say that she showed promise as a writer...)
She was a twit and a pest, and I can't deny that her passing brings me a lot of relief.
You can't be all bad if so many cry when you're gone. We're gonna miss that crazy dog.
Good dog, Niko. Thanks for everything.