A Requiem For Rosie

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Rosie came into our lives in December 2010. I was signing books along with other local authors at Barron’s. Down the way, as they do most Saturdays, a pet rescue organization had set up. My Beautiful Mystery Companion and daughter Abbie walked down to have a look. Abbie picked the puppy from a litter that would become a big part of our lives. Rosie went home with them. My BMC and I had not yet married, and I returned to Cedar Park, near Austin, where I was working at the time. I returned to Longview most weekends, a long but worthwhile commute.

Rosie, who was about six weeks old when they got her, quickly proved to be a smart, highly alert puppy. She quickly became housebroken and would walk alongside us without a leash. She loved to run and play. We all adored her. Being a rescue pup, we were not sure of her breed, but as she got older it was obvious that she was part-Maltese, part something-or-other.

A few months after she joined the family, Rosie became frightened by fireworks going off at the nearby country club and took off in the night. We searched for hours, put an ad in the paper with her photo, began to lose hope as two weeks passed. Then on Saturday morning, while I was shopping at Kroger, I got a call from the owner of a tattoo shop on Highway 80. “I think I know where your dog is,” he said. That’s a long story that I have told before. You can read it here. It was a joyous reunion.

In September 2012, a year or so after we married (Rosie was the ring bearer at the wedding) and had bought a house in a lovely neighborhood where we lived for more than nine years, my BMC called me one morning. I was walking along the Boorman Trail. “Please don’t yell at me. I’m bringing home a dog.”

She was headed to work and found a dog, filthy and exhausted but otherwise unhurt, lying in the middle of the street up the hill from our house. She texted me a photo of him. “OK, I said, but his name is Sam.”  That was because he bore a strong resemblance to a dog I had in college, that I had dearly loved – a black poodle mix, medium sized, with floppy ears and a bushy tail. We lived in the country, and Sam the First had a bad habit of trying to kill chickens. One day he didn’t come home. I figure his chicken-killing days caught up with him.

Sam the Second had to be shaved since his fur was so matted. He was healthy, though in dire need of some serious home training. That is where Rosie came in. We would let them out to do their business. Sam wouldn’t come back, just wandered in the backyard — even though a treat awaited them when they returned. Rosie would run back outside and get in Sam’s face, use her paw to pat his face, as if to say, “C’mon, dummy! We have a treat awaiting us!”

Eventually Sam caught on and became a great companion to us and to Rosie. We went on hundreds of walks together. Unfortunately, a year ago on Feb. 1, Sam’s congestive heart failure caught up with him. He was about 12 years old.

Rosie left us on Sunday despite heroic measures by our veterinarians. She had been part of our family for a little more than 11 years. Losing a family pet keeps getting more difficult, to the point it is almost impossible for us to imagine even getting another dog. We still have Mollie the Maltese, and our three cats. That’s enough, at least for the foreseeable future.

It has been a tough week for all of us. I feel terribly remiss and guilty in not getting Rosie to the veterinarian soon enough, wrongly thinking her lack of energy was simply old age. Only when she stopped eating did I become convinced something was wrong, because Rosie dearly loved to eat. By then, it turned out to be too late.

That is going to be hard to live with.

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