Saturday, May 1, 2010

Bon Bon

In November of 1994, we got a darling little West Highland White Terrier puppy from a wonderful breeder in New Mexico who 'sent' her to us via a very kind pet store owner.  I remember that day so well... we took one look at this almost hairless little thing with huge rabbit ears and wondered if we'd received the wrong dog!  She jumped all over us, kissing and nibbling on us all the way home in the van.  The girls couldn't stop giggling.  We named her Bonnie Lass.

This was the first of many Christmas photos with our fourth little girl.

Because we had a swimming pool in the backyard of our house in Palm Springs, we wanted her to know how to get to the steps if she ever fell in.  So we occasionally put her in the water and made her swim to us at the steps of the shallow end.  She HATED this.  Can you see the look of panic in her eyes?

Bonnie had the run of the backyard and she loved being outside.  She wore a path around the perimeter of that space, hunting lizards, bugs and whatever else she could find.  (That's the trademark of the breed -Westies were bred to seek out and dig for a whole variety of vermin.)  We often saw only her wagging tail sticking out of a bush.  I didn't ever want to know what she'd found.

She has endured lots of being dressed up by the girls and has also been embarrassed by a holiday hair bow or two.  Her sweet nature made her the perfect dog for active, loving little girls - she's always been right in the middle of every family activity, even helping us open gifts on birthdays and Christmas.

She is famous for finding any soft object and trying her best to fit herself on it for a nap.

Many times she didn't fit and we would laugh at her pitiful attempts to get comfortable rather than give up.  We've seen her curled up on a canvas bag, a carelessly dropped jacket and even a hand towel!

Bonnie loves to snuggle.

Bonnie has an annual Christmas tradition!  Before the gifts are under the tree, she makes her way underneath and begins to s-l-o-w-l-y creep around and around the base of the tree, with the branches rubbing her back.  She literally moves in slow motion while doing this.  It gets harder to accomplish this as more and more gifts appear but she doesn't give up!  We've never agreed on what she's thinking as she moves stealthily around the tree but we like to speculate!

Bonnie is almost 16 years old.  She can't hear at all.  But up until about a month ago, she has pretty much seemed like her old self.  She has become totally attached to me, though.  I'll admit to being a bit annoyed at how 'needy' she's seemed towards me - following me everywhere, being underfoot every time I move.  Now I know why.

Today Jeff took her to the vet (I just couldn't go) because she hasn't been eating and is having some trouble knowing where to go potty.  The doctor told us she has dementia and is losing muscle control.  He said she isn't in pain (my first concern) so we should just keep her as comfortable as possible and that she probably doesn't have too much longer to be with us.  (I can barely see my computer monitor through my tears.) 

The girls are home from college for the weekend and now I keep thinking of the 'last time' we will do this or that with Bonnie.

Why am I writing about it now?  I've wanted to tell about her for the longest time and suddenly I have to do it while I still have her with me.  I know this sounds dumb but the difficulty of death makes me wonder if it's worth having a pet.  But then I think back over the last 15+ years of this sweet girl as a part of our family and I know I wouldn't have missed it for anything - even the pain of saying good-bye.

She has been the BEST dog a family could have!  I will miss her so. 


Anonymous said...

oh b-- i'm feeling for you even more after seeing the pictures of bonnie in her youth-- praying for you all..sigh.. and glad we were together last weekend.. Thankyou again for my adorable birdhouse! Love K

Anonymous said...

I just stumbled upon your blog and I know that losing your friend hurts. I am just glad that she is going without pain and with a loving family. I had a Cairn for 16 years and we really had no warning when she was about to go. When we had to let her go it was hard, but the joy that dog brought to me and my family was pretty amazing.

Melissa @ The Inspired Room said...

What a beautiful girl! Thank you for sharing her with me, I have loved hearing from Westie owners over the years, they really are a special special breed. I remember you sharing about Bonnie before. Sending you hugs. Thanks for your kindness over our loss of Winston, we will never forget those sweet pups! xo

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