I was never a ‘small dog’ person, or so I thought. But 15 years ago, our old dear was getting on and sore and hubby said that I needed to go look at puppies at the pet shop down the road. Pet shop and puppies, I was against both, but I humoured him. But I hadn’t counted on the lady from the shop putting the cutest little tan and white Jack Russell puppy in my arms. How can anyone put them back? And that started my love affair with the tiniest dogs with the biggest character. Two nights after listening to crying from the kitchen, hubby found the original seller and brought home the black and white girl from the same litter, for some company. What was he thinking, I asked myself. But it turned out to be the best decision ever. Sisters reunited, they kept themselves amused for hours, playing in the garden and who knew that watching puppies play could be such a fantastic stress reliever?
Naming the girls was a tricky thing, because we are terrible at it. After a few weeks of calling them puppy 1 and puppy 2, Nic announced that we should call them after our favourite comedy show at the time ‘Father Ted’. We had a ‘father Jack’ in the chicken who turned out to be a hen, so we knew Jack shit about fowl gender, Ted was great for the ‘tan’ coloured one but Dougal seemed to be too long a name for such a small dog. So puppy number two became Doyle, after the hilarious Mrs Doyle. And true to her name, Doyle was a real character.
She was catlike, in that she only wanted to be touched when she felt like it, she didn’t run to us if we called her, and she used to lie up high on tops of couches and things. She even dug in the sand to do her business but it was her at least times of nine near-death experiences, that I was convinced of her feline genes. She thought she was the size of a Rottweiler and even in her last days, would bark bravely from the doggy pram at other bigger dogs on her walks. She would sigh and groan, and was very vocal in her emotional display and didn’t bark in a usual ‘yappie dog’ way. She would love eating the Jack shit and after Jack went to the chicken coop in the sky, Doyle took to daily foraging for pigeon poop to crunch on, before she would grace us with her presence during our morning tea. She loved to sprint round the garden in her excitement then would rush inside the cat flap to suckle the rest of her excitement away on the remaining reindeer soft toy , that had made the scale for 10 years after she destroyed several teddies. When we were over the road visiting neighbours or out of town on business, the two dogs and the chicken would sit patiently at the gate waiting for our return. They would throw in a howl or two just to remind us that they were waiting, and to tell anyone that knew them, that we had left home on foot.
When Doyle’s sister, Ted, died from cancer her personality changed and seemed almost more loving, although still nothing like her late lap dog sister. For 18 months, she slept quietly at our feet in our bed, and sometimes sleeping right through for 14 hours without needing to go do her business. When her new/old sister Gypsy arrived, she acceptingly went back to overnight in the kitchen with the snoring and farting of the newbie being too much for us humans. Doyle continued to show her personality at any chance and taught Gypsy how to eat bird kak. When she tore her knee ligament on her afternoon walk, she was caged for a very long period of 6 weeks, but she healed well, and not too long after would gallop around the pool, ears flapping quickly on her head (don’t tell the vet surgeon!) She taught Gypsy how long we would run for and after 20 minutes of sniffing around the house would go and sit and wait at the gate for a quick spin up the road herself when we got back. ( I timed her, when Nic went running and I stayed behind)
As her eyes aged, and her hearing dimmed, she got less afraid from the storms and fireworks, and would sleep peacefully through any anxiety of her youth. She started taking ‘turns’ the past few weeks, and would lie completely still and look desperately sad. I thought initially it was a stroke, but it was probably more from her liver as the vet had seen a shadow over it when I admitted her one time. She would rally round the next day and continue to bore a hole in my head, staring, if it was getting close to walk time or dinner time, and she really was very, very punctual. This morning, her clocked stopped and decided it was time to go find her sister in doggy heaven and as sad as it is, she gave us a life full of entertainment and love. Plus, I am told that the chicken poop that side is ‘heavenly’.
Rest in peace sweet puppy