Missie, in July of 1988 we brought you home, a tiny,
six-week old bundle of fur. We had actually chosen you
from among your littermates when you were ten days old.
Over the next few weeks we made several trips "up the
hill" forty minutes away to visit you as you grew
older, and strong enough to leave your mother. During one
of these trips we brought a baby blanket that was placed
in your bed with you, your mother Heidi, your two brothers
and your sister. We knew that their scent on the blanket
would comfort you on the day we would take you home with
Finally we brought you home. You followed me everywhere I
went which you continued to do all of your life - even
when you were old, stiff, tired, and ill, up until even
the day you died you were my constant companion.
I remember the morning about a week after you had come to
be a part of our family that I was awakened by a little
grrrrrrrr! I was sleeping on my stomach and you had
climbed up on my back and were attacking one of my hair
rollers which still happened to be in my hair. What a
sweet sight to wake up to.
When you came to us we had another Miniature Schnauzer
named Nikki. You thought of her as your mother. In fact
you looked more like her than you did your own mother.
Nikki was actually your Auntie Nikki. Nikki's father,
Bagel, was your grandfather. You would lay across Nikki's
paws and she would lick you on your neck and head. You
loved it. I am not sure that Nikki always enjoyed the
responsibility. She would sometimes move away and you
would follow her and lay across her paws again and she
would continue grooming you.
One of my very favorite things about you was the way
you responded to "lovies".
Ever since you were a little puppy I would hold you
cradled in my arm on your back and rub your tummy. I would
stop rubbing and move my hand away, you would wait a few
seconds and then very carefully extend your front leg and
with the tip of your paw, touch my cheek as if to say
"Don't stop, I need more." If I stopped stroking
you and left my hand in place you would wrap your front
paw over my wrist and press my hand to your body.
Sometimes you would place a paw on either side of my arm.
You were "holding" my hand on you - a most
wonderful thing for a dog to do.
It was during this visit that he told us that if he were
to die and come back as a dog he would like to come back
as our dog. What a nice complement. You had surgery number
5 and came home with us. About three days passed and I
couldn't believe the change, you were more like your old
self before the cancer surgeries started. You barked at us
if we took too long while fixing your dinner and you would
even "sit up pretty" for your dinner. You were
really feeling more like your old self. Little did we
realize what was just around the corner. Just a little
over two and a half weeks passed and you changed, you were
not interested in food. I felt your cheek then I took you
into the bathroom and took a look. The tumor was back and
it was big. I knew now what had to be done and I cried all
night. On that Monday we took you to see Dr. B. for the
last time. One of his assistants held you gently while
Jesse and I stood in front of you so you could see us. I
talked to you but knew that you probably couldn't hear me
because you were going deaf and that's why I extended my
hand and placed it right under your nose - so you could
smell me. I looked into your beautiful trusting brown
eyes. You were lowered to the table and Dr. T., Dr. B's
associate, told us that you were gone. It was hard to
believe, you looked just like you were taking a nap, you
felt so soft and warm. I didn't want to leave you there
because if I did your really being gone would be too
final. Finally Jesse said "Come on Helen, it's time
for us to go". I closed your eyes with my hand and
stroked your head for the last time and left.
You were about six years old when our Nikki left us. We
have had many Miniature Schnauzers over the last thirty
years but I have never seen a dog grieve so much for a
missing companion. You stopped greeting us when we got
home, would not play with us and almost stopped eating. We
were so worried that we called our vet and he told us that
dogs do grieve and showing the live dog the body of the
dead dog helps them understand what happened. Nikki died
on a Monday and by Friday we had a new Miniature Schnauzer
puppy, Honey. I have also never seen a Schnauzer take so
long to accept another puppy into the household. It was a
full month before you decided that Honey could stay. You
went over to her and lay across those tiny paws waiting to
be groomed just like you would do with Nikki. Of course
Honey had no idea of what you wanted. You had a look on
your face that said "I didn't think it was going to
happen; I just hoped it would".
Missy, you were never the alpha dog. Nikki was, and Honey
by her nature was, and is, an alpha dog . Honey must be
most confused because you were always treated as the alpha
- first to be greeted, first to be fed and first out the
door. I am sure that it didn't matter to you because you
were such a truly gentle little soul.
When you were 11 years old we were visiting our son, Kris
at his home in Chula Vista for the
Christmas holidays. We came home one afternoon to find
that you had wet near his back door. Ever considerate you
chose the tile and not the carpet in his new home. The
next day it was the same story. I was worried since you
had never wet in the house. Then you began to drink lots
and lots of water and had to urinate all the time. I was
really worried because I thought you had kidney disease.
We went back to Citrus Heights and immediately took you to
see Dr. B. I was so relieved that his diagnosis was
diabetes and not kidney failure, since diabetes can be
managed. You remained at the vet hospital for four days -
the longest you had ever been away from us. Finally the
call came that you were regulated and that we could come
take you home. When we went to pick you up I went into the
back of our vet's building and saw you all alone in a
large dog run. You were lying against the chain link
fencing looking forlornly straight ahead at nothing. I
spoke to you. No response. I spoke again and you suddenly
recognized me. I have never heard a dog make the sound you
did when you realized who was standing there. It was a
bugle of joy which seemed to originate from deep inside
your body. It was as though you had expected never to see
us again. I was afraid you were going to try and dig out
under the bottom of the run and hurt yourself. I could not
get the door open fast enough.
Ever considerate and wanting to please you were the
patient, always regulated and willing to cooperate in your
twice-a-day insulin shots. You would actually trot into
the bathroom and "present buns" for your shots.
You never complained. You would even potty on command so I
could take a urine sample. You lived to please us, and you
did, every day of your life.
When you had lived with diabetes for less than a year we
took you in to have your teeth cleaned. Dr. B. found a
tumor in your mouth and wanted to do a biopsy. The biopsy
came back positive for melanoma. You had cancer. Dr. B.
told us that not all of the tumor could be removed but
that he would remove as much as possible, that the tumor
would probably come back and would probably metastasize
into your lungs and then you would have about three months
left to live. We had the surgery and brought you home. I
think that the most amazing thing is that during the next
9 months you went through four tumor surgeries in your
mouth and one to have two lymph nodes removed from your
neck and still your diabetes remained regulated. You had
been raised with loving care. You lived with our love
every day and responded to that love always wanting to
please us and be praised. You really loved praise, and you
were always such a good girl.
You lived with the cancer for a little over nine months
never complaining, always faithful, following me from room
to room no matter how you felt. It was summertime and we
were on vacation in San Diego visiting our son Kris. Just
two months prior to our trip you had another surgery
(number 4) to remove the tumor in your mouth. We had
stopped checking your mouth for the tumor's reoccurrence
because it would stress you out so much and because it was
taking around 3 months for the tumor to reoccur. We had
been visiting Kris for a little over two weeks when I
noticed that you were not feeling well. You had started
bleeding from the mouth. I touched your face and found
that the tumor was back and it was large. We cut our
vacation short and took you home to see Dr. B. I really
expected him to say that he could not operate again. I was
wrong, Dr. B. checked you over and told us that you were
in great shape. I think Dr. B. was amazed at what you had
been through and yet your diabetes remained stabilized.
I am not a believer in "these types of things"
but something really strange
happened the day after your death. I was sitting in my
chair in the front room working on my laptop when the
smell of perfume filled the air. I smelled it but didn't
really take notice, if you can understand what I mean, nor
did I look up from what I was doing. The smell got
stronger and I suddenly realized that there was nowhere in
the room for the smell of perfume to come from. I looked
up and saw Honey playing around your front room bed. She
would crouch, scoot around, jump, and stare intently at
your bed in front of her then repeat the process. Honey
did this a number of times and then she stopped and came
over to my chair, placed her paw up on the seat of my
chair and stared at me for a few seconds then went to the
front door and lay down in her usual place facing the
door. I think you must have remembered how you grieved for
Nikki and that you came to tell Honey that you were in a
better place and not to grieve for you. Missie, if it
really was you paying us one last visit it worked, since
HONEY HAS NOT GRIEVED! She just seems to know that you
really are gone and will not return.
You are now at the Bridge playing with Jetty, Kindi, Gus,
Daisy, Muffin, Nikki, Katie, Frosty, Pepper, Kristy, Sambo,
Scruffy, Teal, and all of the beloved pets who have gone
before and are waiting for their special humans at the
Dr. B. and all his assistants sent us a card. He is a
caring man of not many words and what he wrote was from
his heart. It really made me feel good.
He said, "You fought 'the fight' for Missie, no dog
could ask for more".
You left this world just as you lived in
with grace and a quiet, gentle dignity.
Until I can hold you in my arms again,
rub your tummy and kiss the top of your head.
Well done my Missie dog.
God lent us a puppy to love.
We loved her all her life
We sent her back to God
To tell Him of our love.