It is with wounded heart, weeping eyes, and hitching breath that I type this. We lost our beloved pup, Nellie Fox, last week after thirteen long and wonderful years and a quick and failing decline.
She was the last of the litter; the runt of the litter; our pick of the litter.
I remember walking her near the soccer fields and having a young boy holler from his place in the net, “Is that a hamster?” In true White Sox fan fashion, we waffled between naming her Minnie (Minoso) or Nellie (Fox). Her features won over her size.
She was my Pretty Girl, my Nellie Belle, my Schmellie.
She was a snuggler. A lover. A lap dog. And despite her slight stature, the alpha.
She loved her treats. And their treats. And your treats. She would toss them and play, bury them, hoard them, and eventually eat them.
She loved the snow–forging a path, rolling in the drifts, making dog snow angels.
She loved the water–walking straight into creeks, rivers, lakes, and puddles, and only once, the pool. And regardless of treatment, she was a tick magnet.
She hated to be brushed.
She delivered seven puppies in two litters. Some tri-colored, some with squirming tails. She, herself, was red and white and naturally docked. The white on her front legs looked like go-go boots and her back drummies were pigeon-toed. She would lift her leg, like the boys, and her back fur would fan like a skirt.
In a doctor’s word, she was stoic. Allowing them annually to prod and poke, draw blood and take temperatures. She never yelped or squirmed or needed restraint or multiple assistants (like the other two). Even in the end, frail and weak with an enlarged kidney, tender stomach, and shortness of breath, blind and deaf and suffering, she was calm and strong.
Through continued tears, I am weak.
I know she was just a dog.
But she was my dog.
She was a great dog.
And I miss her.
Farewell, sweet Nellie.