My mind keeps certain dates locked in its tendrils for all of my eternity. [Don’t think too seriously on that sentence. I love melodrama.] One of these dates is January 25, 2002. It was a Friday. I was twelve years old, in seventh grade. I was adjusting to my new life here, in the Middle of Nowhere [I love it, by the way]. We came home from school [at that time, Mom and Dad were both teachers at the local school, and Sister was a freshman in high school] to discover that our dog, Whitney, had died. [Whitney is her actual name. I didn’t change her name because I feel like, somehow, it would be a disservice to her memory to do so. Maybe I’m a bit nostalgic. Maybe, even after ten years, I still miss her.]
Mom, Dad, and Sister got Whitney before I was even a twinkle in Mom’s eye. They got her at a pound. Whitney was on doggy death row, I think because she wasn’t as adoptable as the litter of puppies she’d had. she missed her babies, so Sister became one of them. After I was born, I too became one of her puppies.
I’m serious, this dog in part raised me.
When both Sister and I were under the age of three [in our respective times] we could do anything – and I mean anything – tot hat dog. Pull her hair, her tail, her tongue – she didn’t care, like a mother dog with young puppies. Once we hit that magical age, though, she’d nip us [not hard], just enough to teach us: Enough. That hurts.
As we aged, Whitney joined Sister and me in games of sled dog racer, wolf, house, restaurant [one of her favorites], circus [not one of her favorites], and dress-up. Sister loved making Whitney into Trixie the Circus Dog [or something similar]. I loved dressing Whitney in various clothes of mine. For those wanting to do the same, let me tell you this: shorts don’t stay on a dog with a long tail. It just doesn’t work.
I’d like to leave you with this picture I took when I was eight years old or so [Which explains the poor quality. Or maybe I was trying to emphasize Whitney’s fuzziness, you know, artistically.]. Thinking back on it, I don’t remember why I took it in the bathroom. It was probably to keep Mom from telling me to stop torturing the dog.
~1987 – January 25, 2002