She was a runway no one wanted.
She had roamed the streets for a bit and picked up a few others like her on the way. You would think that would harden a girl, but when I got to her she was still the happiest, most carefree thing on the planet.
She looked at me with puppy dog eyes and tried to crawl under her cage door in her excitement to meet me. I named her Desdemona.
Dez loved everyone with ferocious intensity. She met every person at the door with a well placed two front paws to the groin and a plan to lick the heck out of them before they left the house. She had an amazing ability to put your entire forearm into her mouth and lick you with both sides of her tongue. You would be dripping with dog slobber by the time you could disengage yourself.
Her favourite toy was a doll I got from Value Village. She tore it to bits and left little pieces of baby throughout the house. You could say "Dez, go get your baby head" and she would trot off and bring back the doll's head with such pride. She played with balloons and tennis balls and ropes, but her most favourite thing was people.
She loved a few people more than others. Shannon was one of her favourites. Shannon would get down on the floor with her and give "Dezi hugs". Dez pretended she was not impressed, but secretly she loved them. Shannon would take her running around the lake and Dez would be more energetic when she got home than when she left. The dog was born to run. Desdemona also loved one of Shannon's friends named Chris, our room mate Dave and babies. Dez loved little kids. Scared the crap out of them for the most part but she loved them.
When I brought Desdemona home, my mother was not impressed. I hadn't gotten permission from her. In fact, the only reason I got her was that my Dad felt that Davy (Ky's dog who has since moved in with Grandma) would be lonely while Dad was working in Europe. As he was leaving for 3 months, he suggested I go pick a dog out from the Humane Society. I promised Mom she wouldn't get any bigger. I lied. She was only 7 months when I brought her home. She got bigger.
Dez loved Mom. Mom used to play with her despite claiming she had no time for it. Mom would take her out on walks and run Dez down a block and back just for fun. When Mom first got sick, it was Dez that noticed. She would sit by Mom's chair with her head on the armrest and whimper. She sat for hours like that making sure Mom was okay. Before Mom's first hospital visit, I had to force Dez to go outside to pee. She didn't want to leave Mom's side and she was none too happy that I would even suggest it.
Dez met her best friend when she was 4. She heard Lexi on the other side of the fence and knew she had to do something. She tore the fence down. Lexi and she played for hours back and forth, chasing each other, eating things they shouldn't and playing fetch. They had a system when Lexi would catch the ball and present it to Dez with flair so that Dez could return it and get the praise. Lexi was a bit over zealous at times and Dez was the only one who could keep her in line.
One day when they were playing, something happened and Dez hurt herself. She hobbled for a week or so and it got so bad we took her in for X-rays. She had sliced a piece of bone off her back leg. The piece was the size of a glass shard, but held all her tendons. It couldn't be repaired easily. They hoped it would right itself and we put Dez in her kennel for 30 days on serious amounts of Valium. She was so sad I could hardly bear it. And, the month didn't help. So we let her roam again, but the worse the pain got, the worse she got. One day she ran from the house and attacked another dog. We knew it was time.
We made the appointment at the vet's office and Lyn, Dad and I went with her. Saying goodbye to Dez was the hardest thing any of us had ever done. I don't think I ever saw Dad cry that hard. Mom was going to be in the hospital that week so had to say goodbye before she went. Later Mom would say she was happy Dez had to go before she was really sick because Dez just wouldn't have understood.
I was hit with such devastation after Dez died I didn't know how to recover. Looking back, I think it was the knowledge of what was to come. If I had to say goodbye to Dez, it meant I may have to say goodbye to other people and things I loved. To help me make sense of things, Mom and I went out to Mom's favourite relaxation place, the cabin by the lake. We spent the afternoon one day making a memory book and filling a shoe box full of Dez's things. I painted it white with Dez's name in blue and lovingly placed into it Dez's brush, collar and baby doll head.