Sunday, January 1, 2012

The New Year

We start the new year without two of our favorite fur friends---Nami and Jenny and I ended the old year with a good crying jag because of it.

Nami was Jean's dog, via our house.  We had fostered Nami after she was turned in to Camp Bark (the doggie day care) by the CL&P guy who found her wandering the streets of Norwich.  She was soooo skinny, at least fifteen pounds underweight.  She was a pitbull, mix...probably, but she reached in and had my heart the first moment I set eyes on her.

I saw her out back at the day care, and felt so bad for her weight-wise, that I gave her a treat.  She took it so gently and looked at me with those soulful eyes, that seemed to understand everything I was feeling. Her name at the time was No-Name.  When we offered to have her come live with us while she was trained to be an assistance dog, I changed her name to Nami.  I didn't think it was right to always use the word "No" when speaking to a pet.

Nami used to curl up with Truman and Lily on Lily's bed in the living room.  The two of them were pups and Lily was the Mom.   They loved her and she loved them.  Nami would sleep under the covers with me at night, her head on my ankles when she first got in the bed, later she would have her head on my hip and when I would awake in the AM, she would have moved up to the top, head on pillow, from where she would lean over and give me a big kiss.

Jean didn't like Nami at first.  She was afraid of the breed, and thought we were nuts for taking her into our home.  We took Nami for a walk with the other dogs one day and then went over to Jean's for supper.  Jean told us in no uncertain terms that "That dog cannot come in this house!"   We agreed and left her in the car.  When Sandy went out to take Nami out to potty out back, Jean watched suspiciously from the window. 

When she saw how skinny Nami was, she felt a soft spot growing in her heart for the dog.  Later, when Jean would come and clean our house once a week, Nami would follow her around all day.  Nami loved Jean and knew that Jean needed a dog like her.  Jean grew very attached to Nami and very proud of how, with her help, we were fattening Nami up.  No more ribs showing like a Biafran baby.

Later, Nami was sent to live with a young boy who had seizures and behavior problems.  Nami had the ability to sense when someone was going to have a seizure--only one in 500 dogs have that ability.  She was trained to alert the family so they could be with the boy when the seizure hit.  She helped with his behavior problems too.  But the family didn't keep up her obedience training and when she growled at a neighbor, everyone panicked about the mean pit bull and the family sent her back to Camp Bark--and to us.

When Nami returned to our house, we were so overjoyed.  We hoped that she wouldn't be placed in another home as an assistance dog.  When she growled at our neighbor (and I can understand why she would...she was a VERY intuitive dog) it was decided that she couldn't be an assistance dog.  YAY!

Nami moved down to Jean's for a weekend, on an experimental see if it would work.  She never came back to our house, except to visit.  That was 12 years ago.

Nami was one of the greatest dogs I have ever known in my life.  She was so sensitive to people's emotions--Jean told me that Monday she was crying in the living room, because she knew that she was going to have to take Nami to the vet to be euthanized and Nami got up out of her kennel and came out to the living room to be with her.  Nami had been refusing to get up from her kennel for two days--her hips were so bad...but she knew Jean need comforting.

Contrast that with this scene:  I have two Jack Russells on my lap.  Sandy calls me to tell me the sad news that Nami is dead.  When I hang up I start crying...then sobbing.  Do you think those Russells did so much as give me a glance?   NO! 

But Nami knew.  She was a great ambassador for her breed.  So many people learned to not fear pitbulls because they came to know her.

Years after she came into our lives we found out that her first "owner" was trying to make her be a mean dog--a fighting dog.  He kept her locked in a closet and wouldn't feed her.  She overcame that neglect and abuse and yet never held a grudge, against anyone.  She was wonderful with children and didn't appear to have a fear of anyone. 

There are so many Nami stories, so many ways she touched our lives.  Suffice it to say, she had a wonderful life with Jean, she had her routine that meant so much to her, she had children to help raise--which she loved, she had a truck to ride in--which she loved and she had lots of visitors to love her and give her attention.  She had a great life, and she appreciated all of it.

Jenny was the oldest of the J-Dogs....and the second of them to pass this year.  Jordan departed this life earlier this year and now it was Jenny's turn.  She was a dog of her own mind....and she was respected by all (human and canine) who knew her.  We have no idea how old she was...she was rescued by Janet and the kids years ago and was of unknown age then.  She lived a long and happy life with the Js and was a good "boss" for Jordan, Jaz and Jep.   She will also be missed....

I wish I could find a picture of her to post. 

Now I sit alone on New Year's Day thinking of these sweethearts, while my other sweethearts are off to an agility trial in RI.   They are doing good, based on reports I've gotten via text messages with Sandy.

I had to skip the trial this year as my BP was up all day yesterday and up to about 2pm today.  I guess this is what is going to happen after chemo...same thing happened last time too.  As long as it doesn't keep me from getting the chemo, that's all I care about.  I can handle a headache. 

I've started out the New Year with a good diet....had cream of wheat with blueberries on top for breakfast and since I got up late I am only having two meals dinner is salmon, pesto pasta and grilled tomatoes.   Yum!

Happy New Year!