In loving memory of Rhett, Victoria’s Border Terrier
I met Rhett when he was two and half weeks old. His eyes were barely open, he was tiny and had a little white spot on his neck. I asked if he would like me to be his mommy.
Six weeks later I put a little royal blue collar on him and took him home.
The first two nights we slept on the floor. I could feel his heartbeat and he could feel mine. The next few nights I slept on the couch and he slept on the carpet beside me. Within a week he was sleeping on his bed.
Before I knew it, he was sleeping in my bed.
When he was very young he would wait for me when I got out of the shower and try to lick my legs dry.
Before Rhett was 2, I bought a house and found one with a big backyard, lots a shade and a privacy fence. It was perfect for Rhett.
He could spend 4-5 hours a night in his backyard and be perfectly content.
He loved to do terrier races and to pretend he was going to run right into me before he turned at the very last second.
To take walks and thought it was his personal responsibility to mark every tree, shrub or garbage can he saw.
The lake was his favorite place.
He enjoyed doggy day care two days a week. Although he started out a little shy. He quickly learned to make his presence know by "singing" upon arrival until all the other dogs gathered in a circle and joined in. The howling didn't stop until Priscilla said, "Knock it off."
He was kind to toads and turtles and other dogs, except big shaggy ones. I always thought they reminded him of the Chow that attacked us once. He didn't care for cats, either.
He liked everyone he met—young, old, male, female, any color, size or shape—he didn't care. He especially liked pretty young ladies who made a big fuss over him. Everyone he met seemed to like him, too.
Rhett loved treats, taking rides in the car, and "people food," especially cheese, cookies and ice cream.
He never destroyed his toys, but sometimes he liked to chew the ears and tails off.
He loved his football, baseball and baby bumble the most.
He tolerated wearing sweaters when it got very cold and costumes at Halloween and Christmas.
He would get up very early if I did or sleep in late if I did.
He loved flannel sheet, my flannel jammies and spooning with me.
He barked at the mailman everyday.
Rhett would only sleep on a fleece-top, orthropedic dog bed. And, he had equally discriminating taste when it came to dog food and treats. Once, we had a standoff for 5 days on a dog food he refused to eat. I caved and went back to his Eukanuba and he gave me a look like "that's what I've been waiting for."
He liked to rest on the rug, under the coffee table and listen to jazz or the blues. I think he especially like Diana Krall, Ella Fitzgerald and B.B. King, but this is just a guess.
Rhett dealt with a lot in his life: pancreatitis, emergency surgery after swallowing a treat whole, CECS (Canine Epileptoid Cramping Syndrome), ear infections, UTI infections, a few dog attacks, two surgeries when the lumps started popping up. He always bounced back quicker than I did, and he never lost sight of having fun and enjoying each day.
He got my moods and knew to leave the room if I was mad at the TV or DVD recorder. He got it when I said this or that was "getting on my nerves."
I can only think of one time Rhett was mad at me and that's when I boarded him for 5 days to go to Matt's wedding. He shunned me for an evening and the following morning so I wouldn't forget it. Once I took him to the lake, we were buddies again.
The kitchen and front doorframes are all marked up where he used to eagerly scratch. Some people might get mad about that, but to me it symbolized: "I'm so excited you're home. I can't wait for you to open the door."
And, when I opened the door there were always two bright eyes and a wagging tail to greet me. During his last weeks, I did not leave him very often, and never for very long. When I came home, he'd be waiting on the rug just a few steps from the door. I don't know, but I think he probably waited there for me the whole time with what little energy he had left.
He loved company and would be very excited to see who came to visit. But within a few minutes of their arrival he'd calm down.
No matter how many folks were there he'd always follow my every move. In time I came to understand that it was my company he preferred over anyone else's.
Not only did I get it—I felt the same way about him.
I know it sounds cliché, everyone telling me what a wonderful life Rhett had and that no one could have cared or loved him better than I did. But for all I did for him, I got so much more back from him.
Rhett was my boy, my baby dog, my honey bunny, my best friend, my muse, my companion, my confidant, and my one true thing.
Yes, he taught me about unconditional love and living in the moment, but maybe the biggest lesson he taught me was how to die with grace and dignity and without fear or regrets.
Rhett, I will miss you more than you ever know and I will love you forever my precious boy.