Daisy was my second foster dog, the first I chose myself and the first I adopted. She was the saddest, most pathetic thing on the Bowling Green, KY SPCA website–a stray whose eyes were practically matted shut when she was brought in. She had intestinal parasites, terrible teeth, and they had no idea if she’d ever been house trained. I had a long talk with the director of Cayuga Dog Rescue, the rescue group I worked with, and accepted that I might be signing up for doggy hospice.
The first night I brought Daisy home, even before I could give her some dinner or a bath, she wandered over to the open basement door and took a head-first tumble down the stairs. I was horrified, but she just picked herself up and trundled along. It was pathetic, but also indomitable in a way.
That sort of set the tone for Daisy. She was a no-nonsense kind of girl, always.
At first she wanted nothing to do with me and wouldn’t even pick up her head. I couldn’t decide if she was dejected or just disinterested. Grooming helped, but she remained aloof and generally put out. I don’t think she had much faith in me.
After getting some teeth pulled and starting thyroid medication, she had more energy. She’d wander to the kitchen to see what I was doing, especially if she thought it might involve treats. Walks to the end of the driveway became strolls around the block. I cried when she wagged her tail the first time. I laughed when she took to rolling around in the grass on warm afternoons.
Whether toppling a trash can or dragging her bed around the house, grudgingly playing with one of the other foster dogs or adamantly refusing to snuggle on the couch with me, she had a get-it-done attitude. In the three and a half years I knew her, not a day went by that she didn’t make me smile. Not in a cute, cuddly way. She was more of a Bea Arthur type. In fact, that was one of her nicknames, along with The Professor, McGruff the Crime Dog, and D-Money. If a dog could be sarcastic, Daisy was.
It was this kind of personality that made it hard for us to admit that she was ready to leave us. Even as she became less mobile and more likely to get stuck behind (or under) furniture, she plodded along. She never did stop eating. She’d house her dinner and, if Oliver was feeling peckish, she’d eat his, too.
But we couldn’t deny that she’d lost her joie de vivre. Watching a video of her tearing around the house after a bath just a few months ago made it evident.
So we said accepted that it was time to say goodbye. She still wasn’t very fond of cuddles, so we expressed our affection with face rubs and a couple of double cheeseburgers. The vet was kind; the whole thing was peaceful and fast. We wrapped her in her favorite blanket and laid her to rest out in the pasture under a beautiful old hickory tree.
Considering the shape she was in when she came to me, Daisy had a remarkably good run, much longer than I thought she’d have. Knowing that helps to balance the sadness.
I think we say this about all our pets, but she really was one of a kind. She’ll be remembered fondly and missed deeply.