~ ANGEL ~
I've been dreading writing this post. I've procrastinated by doing just about everything except finish it. But it's something I have to do - mainly for me. I'll write excessively even though I'll try not to. I've already posted more pics than any other post in 4 years. And nothing I can say will even scratch the surface. But I have to do it. I need to honor my Angel - my little Christmas Angel. The sweet and quirky little dog that came into our lives 10 years ago and taught me many, many things.
In December of 2003 I got a call from Ardis at the Doberman shelter. She knew I loved my American Eskimo, Luna, whom I had adopted from her. And she knew I was looking for a playmate for Luna. She had taken in a little Eskimo dog that had been hit by a car and was still healing. She was 1 or 2 years old - the same age as Luna. Would I like to come see her?
I can still see her in my minds eye, such a plucky little dog trotting alongside Ardis, down the long dirt path to where I was parked. I knew before she even got to me that I would adopt her. She immediately rolled over to show me her tummy, and tried to jump in my car - she wanted to go home! I picked her up a few days later. She was my little Christmas Angel.
Luna immediately let Angel know that SHE was the boss. And Angel was just fine with that. So they began to play, and from that moment on they were friends. They were pretty much always together. Everywhere I went for the next 10 years was a parade of the three of us.
This is one of our favorite photos of Angel and Luna, early on when we lived on Alta Drive.
I can't tell you how many times I've been asked if their smiles were Photoshopped on their faces!
Two peas in a pod.
In Sandpoint Idaho. What an awesome adventure!
Back in California at the condo we rented - freshly groomed babies! We found out that Angel had Cushing's Disease. A disease that effects humans as well, Cushing's Disease usually effects older canines - but Angel had it and it's many complications nearly her entire life. Among many other health issues that developed over her lifetime.
I am convinced Angel was a puppy mill dog. I'm sure some nice family saw her in a pet store and bought her (please don't ever do that - adopt from a shelter!)..... having no idea most pet store dogs come from deplorable breeding conditions known as puppy mills. Somehow she escaped from her home and became lost..... got hit by a car, and you know the rest of that story :)
Angel's looks were just a bit 'off' from a traditional American Eskimo. She had many quirks and issues that coincide with dogs coming from a sickly, possibly inbred puppy mill situation. Not that I minded, because it most certainly wasn't HER fault! It just makes me so sad that millions of animals are made to suffer that way - and subsequently, the babies born to them and sold as well.
The babies with Daniel at the condo :)
The babies on Feb. 14th (the birthday I gave them) having a little birthday party :)
By this time we were in our house on Via Plata - four houses in one year was an adventure :/
Luna barreling down the playground slide - Angel at the top (she was not as enthusiastic as Luna!)
However when it came to playing, Angel was VERY enthusiastic!
Luna learned very quickly that when she went after Angel to play, Angel kicked her trash!
Quiet little Angel turned into a monster - we'd see Luna hiding under bushes, hehe :)
So sweet :)
The porch at Via Plata - hehe, they have their girly camo t-shirts on :)
Christmas time - Angel looking like a fuzzy little bear and Luna hating her photo being taken
Waiting at the garage door for me to come in :)
One of my most favorite photos of Luna and Angel :)
By this time, Cushing's disease effected Angel's fur growth, so most of the time we kept it short.
We did several photos of Luna and Angel like this - their little faces are so sweet!
You don't see quite as much change in animals as they age, as you see in people.
Look at the difference in Matthew, above, at age 5 on the day we brought Angel home......
....... and at age 17, in sweet Angel's last year of life. AMAZING.
Below are some favorite photos of my Angel, doing some of the quirky little things she loved:
She loved to poke her nose in the air and take in all the different smells :)
She loved rolling in unseemly things - under the barbecue was always a favorite :/
When she was younger, her tail would wag so fast it would spin around like a helicopter blade -
we would always joke that at some point she was just going to take off :)
I loved how quick she was to wag her tail, even if you just looked at her or walked into a room :)
She loved leaning on people - mainly me, but here it's John :)
She just liked knowing someone was there.
Angel, bless her heart, was never quite as photogenic as beautiful Luna.......
but there were certainly times, like above, when her sweetness and beauty shone through :)
A few years ago, Angel surprised us all and miraculously grew a new coat of fur that was so white and soft, it felt just like bunny fur! How I wish now that I had cut some of it to save.......
It was the last time she was that healthy - over the next few years her health steadily declined :(
I loved Angel's little nose - light brown with dark or white spots, and pink on top :)
And when she was really tired, she covered her nose with her paw or her tail :)
As she got older and slept more - especially when it was cooler - I loved tucking her in at night :)
And I loved her little waking up process in the morning -
She would wash her face like a bunny....... sneeze.......
....... roll all around in her bed, sniffling and snorting and kicking off her blankie -
then of course it was time for a good tummy rub :) I loved how she smelled like Fritos :)
Then she'd pop up and wag her tail and run down the hall like a little lamb :)
Even after she could hardly see and would run right into things O__O
She was just such a happy girl in the morning :)
I loved how in her later years she'd fall asleep with her little tongue sticking out :)
Matthew and I started clipping and bathing her ourselves, and although she'd put up a fight at first, she actually ended up loving her nice warm baths. Matthew was SUCH a huge help!
I will always remember my Angel in her little pink sweater :)
When her fur was so thin and it got cold these last several months, it kept her nice and warm :)
My sweet little baby....... her last night with us.
Angel's last day. Daniel took a series of photos of us. What a strange day.
Toward the end of her life I wasn't sure if she even knew it was me, but that day she did.
She usually hated being kissed, but I felt desperate to convey to her how much I loved her.
This will always be one of my favorite photos, though it's ever so bittersweet.
I could go on and on but even if I did, it would barely touch all my feelings.
And I don't think I'd be able to express everything anyway.
Later that day my boys and I took Angel to her vet appt. to let her go.
I could not have done it without my boys there by my side, and I'll *forever* be grateful.
We held her and loved her and knew she needed to be released and set free.
I knew she couldn't hear me, but I whispered to her to go ahead and be a real Angel now.......
She stuck out her little tongue and was gone almost instantly.
My boys and I held on to each other and bawled like babies.
I kissed her face and smelled her Frito smell and held her paws and felt her soft ears.
I rubbed her tummy, and I buried my face in her fur and sobbed my eyes out.
My little Angel had flown away.
So strange to see a little life there, and then in an instant gone.
It was nearly impossible for me to leave her little body laying there and go home without her.
But I knew her spirit was elsewhere and I knew it was where she needed to be.
We received her ashes a few weeks later - for now they are on my nightstand.
Even though I know Angel's spirit is elsewhere, it comforts me to have her ashes near.
Life is a funny thing. And death is inexplicable.
I've buried both my parents - which was extremely difficult - but this little dog.......
These innocent little creatures really touch our lives, don't they.
They give unconditional love, they teach us things, they change our lives.
And then they are gone.
But I believe we are better people because of them.