We adopted Mickey, a Beagle mix, on Christmas Eve in 2011. She was six years old and shortly after I began to swear on the old adage that “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”
She was louder and barked more than any dog that I had ever known and my husband was not impressed with her habits. Mickey was not adjusting to her new home. She regularly pottied on the bathroom floor in the middle of the night and was adamant about sleeping on the bed.
Mickey made it very obvious that she expected to be fed human food at each meal and would have really liked it if we just made her an individual plate. She was not finicky, except when it came to dog food.
It wasn’t a surprise that I became Mickey’s person. What was a surprise to me was how quickly she bonded with my dad.
He admired her cute face and fed her off his fork at meals. She would sit on his lap and watch television.
When I traveled for work, Mickey would spend nights with grandma and grandpa, just like the grandkids. Even though my dad was not fond of having dogs in the house, she was treated like royalty and given all kinds of dog treats. She would hide the bones under my dad’s pillow for him to find when he went to bed. Occasionally he would find other treasures from her too.
The week that my dad died, Mickey was by my side night and day while we stayed at the farm. The last couple of days she lay at his side in the bed and appeared to by crying. When the undertaker arrived to take his body, she barked and growled not allowing him to enter the room until I called her off.
That night she was anxious to return home with my husband. I guess she felt like she had done her job and needed a break from the farm. She was grieving too.
While I had always been Mickey’s person, she became my pet from that point forward.
She often rode with me to the farm to do chores in the morning and in the evening to do chores. She rarely entered the lot, but would stand by the gate and bark at the cows. I guess she was warning them not to step on me.
Upon arriving back in town, Mickey would whine until I rolled the window down and would then commence barking all the way across town. I’m sure people could set their watch by “that crazy barking dog.”
Mickey loved to chase rabbits in her younger days and would let out the most horrific Beagle yelp you can imagine when she found a trail. Of course she seldom caught a rabbit because her warning calls scared them off. But she never gave up.
There is no doubt that Mickey had a personality of her own and I could almost look at her and guess what she would be saying if she had a human voice.
During the last couple years, Mickey’s health and been failing and although, she would rally and be okay usually, we knew the time was coming when we would have to make a choice.
Last Wednesday we did chores, had a final ice cream treat and said good-bye to my friend.
“Our animal friends teach us more than we could have expected and love us more than we could have ever hoped. That’s why we miss them more than we could have imagined.” (Unknown)