I remember the day just like it was yesterday. It was a warm sunny summer Friday in August of 1995. My boyfriend Lauren wanted to get a puppy and work on training it before he went back to school. The pup was going to live at my house for 2-3 weeks. We had Brady and Jessie; I knew I couldn’t get my own pup, so I didn’t even ask. We get to this house on Powder Mill Road off of 295. WOW!! There were 3 momma dogs, and 24 puppies. The pups were all within 3 days difference in age. They were only 4 weeks old, but the owners needed to find homes for them because the momma dogs stopped nursing. They couldn’t afford puppy formula for 24 puppies. They chose to charge $40 a pup to help cover the cost to get the mommas spayed.
There were puppies on the floor; puppies under the couch; puppies on the couch; on the chair; under the chair; in the whelping box… there were puppies everywhere. It looked like a scene from 101 Dalmatians, except the pups were black and brown, not black and white polka dots. I sat on the floor because I didn’t want to pick up a puppy, fall in love with it and then have to leave it there. I thought if I sat on the floor, Lauren could look and pick out a pup and then we could leave. I was wrong. As soon as I sat down, a dark brown puppy that was no bigger than my hand started waddling over to me. She had white tips on her back toes and white on her front legs from about ½ ways down to her toes. The white tip on her tail danced around as she walked to me. I tried not to pay attention, but it is hard when she climbed in my lap, circled a few times and then plopped down and slept while Lauren had a stint of indecisiveness.
I think we were there for about an hour. My heart melted. I called home. Dad answered the phone. I told him how the puppy chose me, I didn’t want to pick it up, but it climbed into my lap… If I promised to pay for all the vet bills, and food and all the pet supplies that I needed, could I please get a puppy of my own. He said yes. I asked if mom was still working. He said yes. I said thanks so much. Love you, see you soon! I didn’t want to hang around on the phone and wait for him to change his mind.
We drove to the closest bank to get the money for me to pay for a puppy for me too!! How exciting!!! Lauren drove home and I already picked out a name for my puppy. She looked like she had socks on her front feet, so I named her Socks. I know, I know… not too original, but it fit her. Little did I know at that moment in time, how much my life would change during the life of this pup, and how much she would be a part of my life and just how attached I would be and how much of a friend she was to become.
I remember we had been to the pound to adopt a pup for Lauren, but that pup ended up dying of Parvo. TWO DAYS after socks was home, she had an abscess on her neck. I was soo paranoid about her needing surgery at only 4 weeks old, but she was fine. She came home with this huge bandage around her neck and she looked like she had a neck brace on. She picked a stuffed elephant to cuddle with in her box while she was recovering, and then decided she liked her little hedgehog better! After sleeping away from her litter mate for 2 nights, Socksy could sleep in the cage with dusty and be with her again. The cage was huge. Only because it was FREE!! These pups had so much room, and yet every time Socks fell asleep, she managed to get a foot hanging out of it. We had to buy powdered puppy formula for the first few days she was at our house because they were still so young. I remember Socksy was not very patient for us to mix it up and tried eating the powder out of the container. I remember we still had a sand box even though I was the youngest child in the house. This quickly became a play area for the pups. They loved that they could dig to china in there. I remember how much she loved playing in the snow. Even her first winter, I would call her to come in from the snow and she would look at me and run the other way. I thought it was hilarious when Socksy would put her head down while running in the snow so she could get some into her mouth and not stop running. She must have caught a cold while she was running out there because that night while we were sleeping, she emptied a tissue box one tissue at a time, shredded the tissue and then went for another one. What a mess!!!!
She had her own baby too. She had this HUGE stuffed hedgehog that she would carry around. When we were moving, I had to make sure I didn’t pack it up. She was searching for it when we were getting things together to move from Maryland to Missouri. Boy was she happy when I gave it to her in the car. She would put it in her mouth and it looked like she was ever so gently putting pressure and letting go on this things head. It was like she was sucking on it for comfort. Another comfort item she had were this huge stuffed octopus that she would pull the legs off of. I guess they really bothered her.
Joe seemed to get thrills out of teasing my puppy because he knows it bothered me. I will never ever forget the Christmas Eve when Socksy was asleep under the coffee table. She was sound asleep. Joe took an empty tube from wrapping paper, quietly inched up to Socksy’s ear and yelled BOO through the tube. Socksy jumped up, hit her head on the table, fell back to the ground, hopped up again, hit her head again, and then finally crawled out from under the coffee table to run to me. While I was home from college one trip, we learned that Socksy was terrified of hiccups. Weird I know, but still, it scarred her. Joe found this to be hilarious as well. He would walk into the room hiccup and laugh as Socksy would crawl into my lap trembling uncontrollably. I’m glad that I could be there to comfort her because she has definitely been around to comfort me when I needed it.
When Socksy was about 2, I was outside and would call her. “Socksy… come here baby”…. My little cousin Kori who lived next door heard me and started calling “mere Sockybaby”. It stuck. From then on, she was my Socksybaby. She really was my baby too. When I went away to college, I was partially homesick because I was afraid that while I was gone, she was going to forget me and bond more with mom and dad. I was wrong. When I came home, Socksy was so excited she would wait for me to bend over to pet her. Her front feet would go onto my shoulders and she would walk her back legs up my legs until I was holding her like a baby on my hip. I would get lots of licks and kisses while she did this.
Socksy was a big part of my life. She was here for all of the important events that have happened. When I went away to college and when I had a hard time being away from college, she was here. When I was dating, she was here. If I ever dated anyone that didn’t like her, they were out. Socksy was my baby. We would be a package deal, if I moved out, she was going with me. When Chris and I met, we took Socksy for walks at the park while he was here visiting. I remember Chris gave me a back massager on one visit and then he ended up rubbing her belly with it. Socksy was there when I got engaged and 16 months later when I got married. She made the transition of moving from the suburbs in Maryland to the country side of Missouri so much more bearable.
She was so much smarter than I gave her credit for. I remember telling her “Go get the cows” and she ran out on the cow field and separated a calf away from the rest of the herd. She was so proud of herself. I don’t think jerry our landlord was happy, but we thought it was funny. I was not all too impressed when she decided to try out a new perfume that she found in the cow fields. I don’t even want to think about how many baths she got from Rolling in cow poop! GROSS!!!! Speaking of bad choices in perfume, did I mention the times she got sprayed by a skunk… FOUR days in a row. Good grief, leave that thing alone. It doesn’t like you!!!!
Then Rebel came around. Socksy and Rebel were buds. They would swim together when we went out on the boat. I remember Socksy jumping in the water and we weren’t sure what rebel would do, but he took a flying leap and landed on top of her. What a mess. Socksy was hilarious when she swam. She would pick her front feet up and just slap the water like crazy. She was always hesitant to swim, but I know she enjoyed it. She wanted to just float in the water and rest. She would swim up to anyone, and put her front feet on their shoulders so she didn’t have to keep paddling. I guess she didn’t trust her life jacket too much.
Socksy and rebel were great ball players too. Socksy was slowing down significantly, and yet she still loved a good round of ball. When we were looking to buy our first house together, one of the biggest things Chris and I were looking for was room to let Socksy run without being too close to the road. I think we succeeded with a house that sits on the middle of 20 acres. She had oodles of room to run. Socksy loved her new home.
Another major part of my life that I am glad Socksy was here for was when I had my children. I was afraid that she was going to be grumpy, or resent them in some way, but it was the complete opposite. When we brought Cailin home, if Cailin cried, Socksy was right there with her to howl along with her. No matter where Cailin was, Socksy was sure to follow. That was especially true when the crawling started. Cailin could crawl all over Socksy and she would just lay there and take it like a champ. If mom loves this little kid so much, I guess I ought to too. One of my favorite pictures is Cailin when she was about 6 months old. She was lying on her back on a blanket in her room. Socksy came up next to Cailin and rolled belly up just like Cailin and cuddled with her like that. I thought it was sweet. When Malia came around, it was the same thing. Socksy let Malia do anything to her.
I knew Socksy was getting old. Even though she was slowing down, and no matter how much it hurt her, she would get up to follow me where ever I went in the house. I tried telling her to stay where she was and I would be right back, but she wanted to be with me. I knew she wasn’t doing well. She had sores in her mouth that just would not go away no matter what I tried as well as she was rather stiff in her back legs. She had a bout of pancreatitis in January, and I thought that she had it again April 22. I was wrong. We took her to the vets and drew some blood. She was having some toxicity problems. She was into very bad kidney failure. I didn’t want her to suffer any longer. She has been through so much for me, and the least that I could do for her was to be there for her and keep her comfortable. This was the absolute hardest thing I could have done. I don’t remember the last time I cried so hard. I am glad that Chris was there with me. He made sure that he could be there to say goodbye. You know, in the 6 years that we have been married, I think this was the first time I have really seen him cry.
I know everyone says “dogs are man’s best friend”, but I have to say, you have really been there for me. Thank you for being the one that I could count on to cry on for the last 13 years. Thank you for your licks of love to comfort me. Thank you for your unconditional love no matter how much I screwed up. Thank you for letting me hug you to fall asleep each night, (or when I was working nights, each day). Thank you for helping me through all of these milestones in my life. I am not sure what I am going to do with out you. Know that I love you and miss you terribly. I cry when I think about you. I just miss you so much. There is never going to be a dog that could take your place. Cailin asks about you and I tell her you are with God and Jesus in heaven. I hope that you like it there. I read a poem that made me think of you. I would like to think that this is how it is truly going to be one day. This is for you Baby-Girl, I love you.
The Rainbow Bridge
Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....
July 19, 1995 - April 27, 2009.