Kyle and her husband moved to Brookfield in 1986. She became active in local politics and started blogging in 2004. Her focus is primarily on local issues but often includes state and national topics, too. Kyle looks at things from the taxpayers' perspective in a creative, yet down to earth way, addressing them from a practical point of view.
Zipper was 13 pounds of friendly, and he loved everyone. He fit right in. His behavior in many ways was like that of our former 16 pound cat. In fact, we sometimes referred to him as a "dat", part dog and part cat. His size was perfect--small enough to pick up, large enough not to worry about. He was scruffy enough to not be considered a girly dog. Everyone he met loved him. Because of his size, people mistakenly thought he was a puppy. He was a hit when I would bring him to the Assisted Living home my dad stayed at. Walter certainly lived up to the Humane Society's personality assessment:* Life of the Party.
Our perennial puppy loved car rides, adored any drive through that gave treats, went camping with us, and sometimes went shopping with us. If you took a nap or were not feeling well, there he was at your side. Toast and pizza were 2 favorite foods, though he would eat most anything. We called him our omnivore. He sometimes got pesty when it was bedtime. It wasn't enough that we opened the door to our bedroom, no, he wanted company. Being part Maltese, he rarely barked. He did however sneeze when he wanted your attention. We think he had a touch of Terrier in him too as he was a terrorist when it came to destroying stuffed dog toys. He was smart too. Often he would pick up your gloves or socks and bring them to you, feigning he was going to chew them. That was his way of saying, give me my toy. He was loved.
About a year ago, we noticed he was having some stomach issues. Perhaps it was a bit too much turkey at Thanksgiving? I started him on some probiotics and that seemed to right the problem. Then at his annual checkup last February at our Holistic Vet, Silver Spring Animal Wellness Clinic, his blood work came back showing the dreaded news: he either had liver cancer or a hepatitis type infection. We started him on some herbs and supplements known to help enhance liver function.
He seemed to be doing pretty well with his supplements. His quality of life was good and he still acted like the eternal puppy when he wasn't napping. But as the summer drew to a close, we could see he was losing weight--three pounds is a lot to lose for a little 13 pound dog. He also seemed to get chilled easily, so we put his sweater on even in the house. One sure sign things weren't right was seeing him sit quietly next to a stuffed animal, like it was a friend, instead of shredding it.
Then he gave us a scare in late October with a G.I. crisis that fortunately passed fairly quickly, but we knew it was time. He rallied enough, thanks to Pepto-Bismol, to have a few okay days and one great last hurrah that included walking down our street on a glorious fall day, marking all his favorite places, rambling through the woods, and eating all the things he wasn't supposed to eat because of his liver problems.
It has been a little over 2 weeks since we had to say our final goodbyes to our pet pooch. We had him put down just before the 2010 mid term elections. So almost to the day, our 10 years of dog ownership came to an end. I am still not a dog person, but I loved our Zipper.
If you have had pets you understand how strange life is without them. Sometimes it is in a good way for our dog was not perfect. He had a bad habit of chewing on fleecy things like blankets and fleece throws. You could not leave a fleece jacket within his reach, for example, unless you wanted it to be customized with ventilation holes. Doors to rooms he might decide to mark can now be left open. Foods like pizza can be left unattended on the coffee table without fear of him helping himself.
But as I prepare dinner, I still find myself peeling an extra carrot for him. When we come home there is no one jumping up to greet us. At bedtime we find we miss that happy jingle of his dog tags as he ran up the stairs after us. We have his collar with tags hanging by our kitchen door. Sometimes it jingles from an air current; sometimes we give it a jingle for old time's sake. But whatever the reason, the tinkling sound evokes all the fond memories of life with Zip. He truly was the life of our party.
Past Post: My dog got mail!
*I cleaned out our dog folder yesterday and came across Walter's original "Companion Profile" pet assessment from W.H.S. It gave specific instructions of how to deal with him. It stated he jumped up for attention but then settled down, liked to chew and play with toys, was a friendly happy little guy, was confident and outgoing, and marked. (He did improve on the marking problem.) All of those observations proved true, even to the end.
If you are thinking of adopting a dog, I recommend the Wisconsin Humane Society or any other group that screened their dogs for personality problems. That way, at least you have some idea of what you are in for. Not disclosing past problems proved to be a fatal mistake in Willie's case. He really needed a more experienced household.