On Sunday evening, January 20th at 6:00 pm I laid my beloved friend Suede to rest. It was colder than -2 (she always loved the cold). She came into my world on a windy May day, 5/21/2002. She was one of twelve puppies; she was a dark sable like her daddy, my extraordinary boy Tanner. Somewhere in the fist week of her life her mother stepped on her tail and broke it, which left her with a little crook at the end of it. The bigger she got the more special she became, always an easygoing girl, she was never serious, never even playful, she just was. We called her non-dog for all of her life. She never wavered from her steadfast self, she loved freely, two-legged and four-legged alike. She accepted everything that walked through our door; she loved and comforted my children and grandchildren. She mentored my puppies' weather they were born at our house or not. When it was her turn in the whelping box she was the mother that all puppies deserve. She never doled out punishment; she loved, cared for and trained them with gentle persuasion. When her daughters gave birth she took her place in the whelping box with them as a proud granny and helped with all the puppy duties like there was no other option but to help.
Suede traveled with me everywhere I went even though she suffered from carsickness all of her life. She was eager to go then laid flat and never moved as she willed herself not to be sick in my car, yet she never failed to accompany me. She was less then impressed with being a show dog but she was so beautiful she won anyway. She was my first homebred champion and I will always remember bribing her to finish. I offered her a life on the sofa if she just showed excitement one more time so a judge would see her and give her winners bitch for her last major. Don't get me wrong she did get excited in the show ring once in a while, which explains her group placements, but this was not the life she wanted. After that day in Fargo when she shined like a superstar one last time she took retirement very seriously and went about doing what she did best, avoiding anything that might make people think she was a dog. In the end she left us like she lived. She never case a problem, she went to sleep and was quite as she just slipped away and left.
There will never be another Suede, she was my constant, she was always just there. She sidled onto the couch without ever disturbing me to keep my feet warm. She plopped on her bed next to mine at bedtime and checked on me through the night if I was restless, just a soft little nudge to let me know she was there. She was my constant; she was my "Tweeters". When I take my last breath she will do as she has always done, she will nudge my hand and walk quietly with me as I make my way to wherever I'm bound.
"Dogs, lives are short, too short, but you know that going in. You know the pain is coming, you're going to lose a dog, and there's going to be great anguish, so you live fully in the moment with her, never fail to share her joy or delight in her innocence, because you can't support the illusion that a dog can be your lifelong companion. There's such beauty in the hard honesty of that, in accepting and giving love while always aware that it comes with an unbearable price. Maybe loving dogs is a way we do penance for all the other illusions we allow ourselves and the mistakes we make because of those illusions."
â€• Dean Koontz