Note from me: Teddy Bear wrote this blog entry a few years ago, a few months after we lost Nickolas our first Cocker Spaniel.
Call me Teddy Bear!
My official name is Theodore. I have had a lot of names in my short life; Beasley, Bailey and one other one that I don't remember, or maybe I just don't want to remember.
I don't mind the name Theodore, but I like the name that Mom and Dad use the best ... Teddy Bear.
I am Teddy Bear Parker. Being a Parker makes me happy. Can a dog be happy? Some will tell you that being happy is only for humans.
Someone once said that a wild bird will fall frozen from a tree limb and never feel sorry for itself. How does anyone know what a bird or a dog thinks or feels?
Let me tell you how I feel. I feel lucky. Most of all I feel safe. For the first time in a long, long time I have a family and I have a forever home.
I know that I had some big paw prints to fill. Mom and Dad, and that's what they are to me now, loved their first dog very much. They try not to mention his name. They talk about how it has been a long time since they saw a dog running around the back yard so fast, or jumping up on their tall bed in the bus.
I love the bus. The big window is so cool, because I can see so much and there is a lot of air blowing on me like the window is open and I know it isn't. The only thing I don't like is those noisy motorcycles flashing by.
All of us went out to the mountains in the bus, not long ago. I met some really nice people there. I got to run with another dog on a golf course … that is what Dad called it. I am not sure what it is, but it was fun to have the whole place to myself.
I try my best to have fun with Mom and Dad. Many a morning I will grab one of Dad's socks off the floor (Mom is always telling Dad to put his dirty socks in the hamper … that basket thing in the corner, but he doesn't listen.) I take the sock to the hallway and wait for Dad. When he asks for it I turn my head and then run around the kitchen table. Dad chases me and I let him get close before I take off again. It's a lot of fun. Mom and Dad both laugh . I give the sock to Dad when he offers me one of my toys. I don't want him to be mad at me.
Fancy told me to ring the bell at the back door when I need to go out. That trick works really well. When either The Cat or I want a trip to the back yard all we have to do is shake it and someone comes running.
So things are going really well. As I said, I know I had some big paws prints to fill.
It has not been easy for any of us, but I also know that we are helping each other get over our past sorrows. Mom was so sad when we first met. She missed Nickolas so much. He had not been gone long before I came into her life. She thought about him all the time. Dad found some letters that Mom wrote to Nickolas. Mom wasn't sure she wanted him to use them, but she did say it was okay.
Saturday, October, 30, 2010
It has now been a week since I last saw your sweet face. It seems like so much more. This has been one of the hardest weeks of my life, so slow, lifeless and unbearably sad. I knew saying goodbye would be hard and going on without you, even harder. I always said I never wanted a dog, and now I don't know how I ever got along without one. Now I don't know how I'm going to get along without you. I miss you almost every minute of every day. The house is so empty without you. I find myself looking for you at the end of the bed when I wake up in the morning. I listen for the sound of your nails clicking on the hardwood floors as I make my way to the kitchen. I no longer have a reason to step out the back door and walk around the yard, enjoying the fresh air, the singing birds, checking out the plants, waiting for you to take care of your "business." I forget to feed Fancy breakfast (and dinner) without you at my feet so expectantly looking forward to your meal. I look for you when I finish eating to share a last crust of bread or to lick my bowl; I miss how excited and appreciative you always were of receiving the smallest tidbit. I could go on and on about other things I miss, like you waiting for me when I step out of the shower, following me through the house as I go about my day, sometimes leading me – anticipating which room I might be going to next – looking over your shoulder to be sure I'm coming, greeting me so cheerfully whenever I enter the house – no matter how long or short my absence. Very little things, really, but very much like the punctuation marks that complete a thought, an act. With your bright eyes and your wagging tail, just your presence made every day a little brighter, everyday tasks a little lighter. Thank you so much for all the joy you brought to my life.
I never imagined when you came into our home that you would take over my heart in such a way. I had always liked dogs, but never really wanted to have a dog. They seemed like so much more responsibility than a cat. I found out with you that yes, dogs are a bit more work. They must be walked, no matter how bad the weather, picked up after, groomed. Long periods of absence are difficult since dogs need someone to let them out. But Nickolas, you gave so much more than any cat I've ever had. It was never work taking care of you. It was all joy – well maybe taking you out in the cold and rain wasn't fun, but I'd give anything to be able to do it again.
Sunday, October 31, 2010
What a blessing to have had 12 years with you! How lucky that I didn't work and could spend most of my time with you. Dad said you were my shadow. Whenever anyone wanted to find you, all they had to do was look for me, you were sure to be close by. I've enjoyed walking almost as long as I can remember. It helps to clear my mind and calm my spirit. It doesn't matter whether it's the mountains, the beach, or the city, it has always rejuvenated me. But walking with you always added something extra. Your excitement from the word "walk" to the end of the outing was infectious. It was so evident with your bright eyes, your wide smile, your happy little "doggie trot," and your nose finding so many smells, even your persistent tugging on the leash. You were always so willing to go with me, never too tired or busy and people seemed much more interested in talking with you by my side than they ever were when I walked alone.
I always missed you when we were apart; you at the groomers or me running errands or spending time places dogs just weren't welcome. I hated taking you to the groomers – you shook all the way there. You always forgave me though and were so happy to see me when I came to pick you up. Your Aunt Vickie was so sad to hear that you had gone. She helped me find pictures of you and talked about how good you were to Amy when she was learning to groom cockers.
Monday, November 1, 2010
I remember when I first fell for you. Christine started asking me, "Mom, don't you want a dog?" as soon as Molly became pregnant. My answer was always "No" She asked again when we were visiting her at her home in New Jersey and your eyes were just opening. You were pretty hard to resist, but still my answer was "No." Something happened when she had to bring your whole litter here so she could attend Jeri's graduation. Dad wouldn't allow any dogs in the house. We would stand amazed at the door to the garage and watch as one moment there appeared to be a cauldron of boiling puppies, tumbling, wrestling, moving, and the next moment a pile of dead dogs – everyone asleep. There came a moment as Christine and I were watching all of you romping in the back yard that I was captivated by you. You were sitting alone watching the craziness of your litter mates and I said, "If I could have one, I'd like that one."
Christine ran immediately into the house yelling: "Da-ad, Mom wants a dog!"
Dad looked at me in disbelief and said, "You don't want a DOG, do you?"
I meekly responded, "Well, maybe."
I took you with me to one of Joel's baseball games. You sat on my lap and it was so nice to have company in the bleachers ... usually I sat alone watching the games.The family went for a walk in the neighborhood, Molly and Chandler were walked by Christine and Brent, you walked with me, and you had the happiest little dog trot. Christine continued to place you on my lap and Dad's for the rest of her visit, by then you had wormed your way into my heart. Our lives were never the same.
I had never owned a dog of my own before. Dad sternly said, "You can keep him but you'll be the one taking care of him and he better not have any accidents or chew anything up!" I knew I had my work cut out for me. I took you out every hour so you wouldn't have any accidents inside. We didn't have a fence then, so I had to take you out on leash and it was summertime so there were plenty of mosquitoes. I read dog training books from the library as fast as I could, I was so thrilled when you learned to "nose the bell" to let us know you needed to go out. You never had another accident after that. I kept you with me as I moved around the house to be sure you wouldn't chew up anything you shouldn't. Pretty soon I didn't have to ask you to come with me; you believed your place was by my side.
I changed the sheets on our bed today and was immediately reminded of the way you would eagerly wait for the dirty sheets and blankets to hit the floor so you could pounce on them and roll around in them on your back, twisting and turning, moving your arms and legs, sometimes biting at them. I never could figure out exactly why you did that but you always seemed to thoroughly enjoy it. Sometimes I would join in the wrestling match, covering you with the sheets and tapping at your belly, ears, tail. It instantly turned a chore into game.
Sunday, November 7 2010…
It's been a busy week, Dad walks with me now, and I appreciate it. But I feel your absence on each walk. Christine and her boys came over today. They brought Bella, thinking spending time with her would help. I thought I was starting to get used to you not being around, but having her here made me miss you more than ever.
There are no more letters -- maybe because Dad did a lot of searching and then they found me.
I met my new Mom and Dad the day after Thanksgiving. At first I wasn't sure about them. I was just excited to be out for a walk. It was the first one in a long time. I ran to the end of the leash and just stayed there. I think I was quite a handful. Dad said I pulled like a mule. Mom said she thought I seemed like a great big puppy. I guess I was. I jumped up on them and washed both their faces. Neither one minded that a bit. Mom was laughing and crying at the same time. There was something about the two of them that I could not resist. When Becky, the lady who brought me to Mom and Dad, said it was time to go and Mom led me to the car, I jumped right in. I knew right away that I wanted to be with them. We drove for a long time and they took me to the Bus. They gave me toys and treats and took me for a long walk down "Dog Street" in someplace called Williamsburg. I met other dogs, and lots of people. It was great.
Mom, Dad, and Joel when he is around, they are my people, my family. I love them all with everything in me.
I hate being separated from them … it makes me anxious, but with Mom's help I am getting used to having time by myself.
I have learned that Mom and Dad always come back for me.
They have learned that I will always be there, waiting for them.
Nope, it hasn't been easy, but it is getting better all the time.
I am Teddy Bear Parker, a very lucky dog.
Oh, Dad, thanks for helping me write this.