My dog, Tuddie, was a Llasa Apso and Japanese Spaniel mix that came into
our lives in early 1989. Originally he began his stay as my grandmother's
dog, but quickly became especially attached to my grandfather (his
"Daddy") and I. Then he became my responsibility, one that I bore
gladly, when my grandfather passed away in 1995 after a long battle with
was born on April 10th and choose us, rather than the other way
around, by crawling toward Nan and looking up at her with those little
brown eyes that captured our hearts.
From that day to the day he died, Tuddie was
firmly ensconced as a member of the family. Wherever my grandfather was,
Tuddie was not far behind. Usually he could be found sitting with Grampy
scratching his ears, behind, or belly. One of his favorite pastimes was to
roll over on his back and have someone rub his tummy; he would lie there as
long as you were willing to rub.
Tuddie was quite a character. He would know when it was time to watch the
soaps, and if we did not immediately drop everything to watch with him, he
would command our attention by a series of short, sharp barks. He would do
likewise when he wanted one of his "treats" from the kitchen
drawer. At Christmas, Tuddie would have his own stocking stuffed with
munchies to thrill the pickiest dog heart-which he was! There would also be
a special present for him under the tree, usually a new teddy bear and/or a
chew toy. Tuddie would always know which gift was his and it was a hoot to
watch him open his Christmas stocking and then barge in under the tree,
sending ornaments scattering, to claim his annual bear.
During thunderstorms, of which he was terrified, Tuddie would inevitably
seek me out for comfort and to protect him against the big, bad elements
raging outside. During such times, the place that he felt safest was in the
dry bathtub with me. (At his urging I would actually leave my nice warm bed
to huddle in the cold, dry tub with him on my lap!!) Although he was not
averse to waiting until I had gotten up to check the house, as was my custom
during storms, by sneaking into my bed. I would grab a quilt and sleep on
the floor rather than disturb him from his place of "sanctuary."
Not that I would have moved him had I tried, as he could inevitably expand
to fill all available space in the bed. How such a relatively small dog
could manage such a feat is still a mystery to me.
When I would go away, Tuddie would sulk and wander the house with his
nose to the ground looking for me. When I returned, he would nearly turn
himself inside out in his joy.
The years rolled by and Tuddie grew older. His eyesight dimmed and his
hearing was affected. The gray began to be more pronounced about his muzzle
and he moved with increasing care out of consideration for his arthritis.
Finally the day came when I knew that it would fall to me to continue our
journey alone, without my old friend. On January 2nd, 2001, I took Tuddie to
the vet. At 12:21 p.m. Tuddie succumbed to the lethal chemicals coursing
through his veins. I stayed by his side throughout, unable to let him go
into that good night without the comfort of love by his side. I wept as I
realized that his little brown eyes were closing for the final time. That
those eyes that had so often been turned on me in sympathy and love would
never again open this side of Heaven. I stayed by his side for a long time
afterward, unable to stay, yet unable to go. I wept as I told him what a
good friend he had been to me, that I loved him ad to go find his Daddy. I
wept then as I weep now. Tuddie's passing has left a huge hole in my life
that nothing will ever be able to fill, yet the memories and the love
associated with him will keep him forever in my heart.