Pooka slowly slipped away in the garage this afternoon while life went on in the house. She's been ailing for many months now - having daily accidents in the house, vomiting up any people food she was able to get ahold of and, most recently, requiring her dog food be fed to her by hand by Tad each evening. It was time.
We figure she was about 15 years old, maybe older. We adopted her right after we moved to Eldersburg a couple of years after we were married. She had previously been adopted by a family who had adopted sisters from Guatemala. One of the girls was acting out her adoption angst on the dog and thus she needed a new home. We should have seen the writing on the wall...that was to be the first of our adoptions. Actually, Alex had come to us a few years prior having been abandoned along with his siblings on a farm property close to Bucknell. Send us your abandoned, your abused, your cute and your cuddly.
When she came to us her name was Becky - which she shared with Tad's sister. Unable to call his dog by his sister's nomenclature, he dubbed her Pooka - a nickname she then shared with her "Aunt Becky". She was always a high maintenance animal. Her energy level and attention span dubbed her our ADHD dog. While Alex was content to roam the yard within the confines of our electric fence, Pooka learned to race at it with all her speed and grit her teeth while jumping through the electric charge. While Alex spent his days laying in "his" spot at the top of the stairs, Pooka roamed the house looking for trouble. Even up until a few days ago she managed to reach a plate full of food sitting on the 4 foot tall counter standing on her supposedly crippled, arthritic hips. The day Alex died, Pooka layed down in "his" spot at the top of the stairs and declared herself Queen of Everything. She ate every companion we brought home to try to fill Alex's empty spot in the family.
As soon as the first baby got to be about 6 months old Pooka learned that she now had a new best friend. From that point on, she could generally be found sitting next to the high chair waiting for the inevitable scraps to fall. As one baby turned into another, she grew bolder and decided that high chairs were intentionally designed to have the tray at her nose level - a fact she then turned to her frequent advantage, so much so that the question always begged to be asked whether the baby had eaten, not if the baby had been fed.
She didn't just eat baby food and rival dogs, though. Over the years she ate one garage door and then was working her way through its steel replacement. She ate two separate crates - one plastic, one metal. She devoured carpeting, at least two bedroom doors and a bathroom door. She once ate a remote control for the television. We tried channel surfing by squeezing her sides to no avail. All of which makes her recent inability to even pick at her own dog food a sad irony.
When our house caught on fire, she was tied to a rope in the back yard and had managed to tangle her rope around the base of the trampoline. At the point of the very loud thunder clap she was scared and stuck. A neighbor came and cut her off of the rope but she was never the same after that. She grew timid, terrified of all loud noises and even more dog aggressive. She slowed down, stayed close to us and stopped trying to run so fast and furiously. She was almost...well, calm.
And so she spent the past few years living a near normal existence. We long ago grieved the loss of Pook's real personality. Now we grieve the loss of what was left of her spunk and fire. Rest in peace, Pooka. You lived fast and furiously and ate well.