Each year as Christmas nears my husband and I are reminded of holidays past when our dogs were with us. There was a special decade in which our lives were graced with three wonderful dogs and a cat sharing our small house. All ladies, who brought us many, many bouts of laughter and lots of love. They are pictured above (L to R, Clancy, Mandy and Shannon) in full sniff as I opened a Christmas present filled with tasty mustard's. One minute they were out of sight and the next, I could barely see daylight and was running out of air from laughing so hard. Nary a lid was opened but, lids were no match for those skilled noses. With Shannon and Mandy both weighing in at well over a hundred pounds, and Clancy no piker, standing my ground was no small feat when they were all excited at the same time.
Clancy was the wise old crone. She arrived long before the other two and outlived them by a few months, passing away in her 16th year. Living lakeside likely gave her a better shot at that long life with all the swimming she was able to do through the years. No doubt my girl is still fetching somewhere. As the saying goes, she did not suffer fools well, so had little patience when her larger sisters were bent on rough housing or "trying" to out swim her. If she spoke, they listened.
Shannon, who had been mistreated, came to us in her second year. (No, we did not crop her ears.) She was the most gentle dog I have ever known and an incredible patient when she needed to be. Living for a time with her litter of 8 Great Dane pups was amazing. THEY GROW QUICKLY! Mandy was her daughter and we were so very glad she joined our clan. What a dear spirit she was.
We were a team, all of us. And when they all passed away, within the same year, we were hard pressed to step up again. We have been blessed with some other dear cats since then, but have never mustered the light hearts needed to bring another dog into our small circle. No need, I still hear their nails clicking on the floor and wake in the night thinking Shannon is once again trying to sneak onto the bed without being noticed. She could have taken up ballet, so poised in mid-air for a girl of her size.
This holiday we are reminded of them and that oh so healthy laughter they added to our days. Merry Christmas girls, where ever you are.