I’ve been most fortunate to have had wonderful animal companions over the years. They’ve lifted spirits when needed and shared in the best times.
Annabelle came into my life on New Year’s Day, 2004. About three months before, I’d lost my beloved Sasha, a miniature schnauzer I’d had since my days in Montana. Small for her breed, Annabelle was one of the most beautiful beagles I’d ever seen. We found out later that her half-brother, Uno, won ‘Best in Show’ at the 2008 Westminster Dog Show.
She absolutely loved to go on walks behind the house in the greenbelt. In typical beagle fashion, she followed her nose wherever it led, without much regard for whatever was going on around her. We dressed her up in various Halloween costumes. She hated it, but the kids loved it and she’d let them pet her and have their photos taken with her. We lost Annabelle to an autoimmune disease in September 2015.
Charles (aka: Charlie, Charlie Chan)
Charles came two weeks after Annabelle. They’re almost the same age – Annabelle was born 16 June 2003; Charles on 15 September 2003. Charles was a platinum mink Tonkinese. He was more like a dog than a cat; gregarious and always in your lap. Poor Charles, his Siamese genes did not served him well. He lost all his teeth to feline tooth resorption. But he must have gums like granite ’cause he could down on dry food – both his AND the puppies’ like no body’s business.
He and Annabelle grew up together and were always close. He was inconsolable when she passed; he wandered about the house for weeks crying and looking for her. When we got Gus, Charles was none too happy, but after about a week, he adopted little Gus and they snuggled all the time.
Charles passed on 28 December 2018 from cancer. I miss him so much.
Little Gus came into my life in October 2015, shortly after Annabelle passed. Gus was a smooth-haired Brussels Griffon. The sweetest little puppy ever. A little ball of energy that I just couldn’t tire out in the back yard, no matter how hard I tried. He was the darling of Puppy Training class. It took him a while to catch on to some of the commands, but he sure got far with his looks. The staff at Westlake Animal Hospital just adored him. I’d bring him by for no reason just so he’d get acclimated to going and to get treats from the vet techs. In January 2016, Gus developed the same auto-immune disease that took Annabelle. The vets tried everything, but they weren’t able to save him. Charles was beside himself. I still haven’t gotten over my little Gus.
Fannie and Mabel
Fannie and Mabel came into my life in April 2016. They’re leap-year babies, born 29 February 2016. I have no idea how that’ll fit into the scheme of ‘dog years.’ They are Pražský krysaříks (Prague Ratters), the world’s smallest breed of dogs. They are sisters with distinctly different personalities. Mabel is the ‘braver’ of the two, but Fannie is definitely an attention hog and pouts if Mabel is getting picked up and loved on. They still haven’t quite figured out what exactly Charles is and how he relates to them. They’re real snugglers.
While not my companion per se, sweet Willow was a great friend whom I loved very dearly. Every time she saw me, no matter how poorly she was feeling, her little nub-of-a-tail started wagging ninety-to-nothing. Giving her scratches with her head in my lap always made the bad stuff go away, at least for a little while. I’ll never forget her.
Otto, a Tonkinese, came to us in January 2019. He quickly turned the table on Fannie and Mabel and now runs the joint. He’s very athletic, but still learning his limitations – and lack thereof. He’s definitely the polar opposite of Charles.
My friend waited about a year after sweet Willow’s passing before reaching out to South Texas Aussie Rescue. Soon thereafter, he and Lola found each other. Lola is striking, affectionate, and smart as a whip. She’s currently killing agility training.