Ally aka “Bug”

We are a family of dog lovers. Right now we have five of them. Two English Springer Spaniels, a Labrador mix, a Yorkie, and a teacup Poodle puppy. All our dogs have been rescues from shelters except the Poodle puppy. Each has their own unique and sad story. All are deeply loved by us. No dog more then any of our previous dogs in our thirty years of marriage. However, this is my story of one very special little dog who died this year and left a huge loss in our family.

Ten years ago we adopted “Ally” from a rescue group in California. She was a five-pound teacup Poodle who had been “disposed” of by the previous owners because she was dropped on the floor by someone in the family and had broken her front leg and they did not want to pay to fix the leg. The rescue group took her in and generously fixed her leg. We saw her adorable picture and story on their website and were the lucky family chosen to adopt our little Ally.

Ally was different from our other dogs. She was our first small dog. As a teacup dog, she was self assured and very smart. She was able to travel along with us to many places that the bigger dogs could not enjoy. Ally became our “pocket” dog, going everywhere with us over the last ten years. She knew when her travel bag came out, that a plane trip was coming. She would sit by her carry bag waiting for her next adventure with us. Guarding “her” luggage from the other dogs and chasing them away if they came too close.

Her favorite pastime was searching for sunny spots in the house and then napping in the sunspot to warm herself. When she was cold, she would go over to the fireplace and tap her paw on the glass to let us know that she wanted the heat turned on. She would then lay in front of the fireplace with our English Springer Spaniel baking in the heat.

One of Ally’s dislikes was when people chewed gum in her presence. She would give you a odd look and leave the room. We would have to call her back and tell her that the gum was gone. She would only come back and stay after you showed her it was gone from your mouth. One of our favorite things that Ally would do is perform a funny little jump when she wanted attention. She would bounce up in the air, off of all four feet and do what we would call the “Ally dance”. All we would have to say is “do the Ally dance” and she would start doing this jump and make a sound like a sigh at the same time.

As Ally aged over the last few years of her life, she had to have all her teeth pulled and she developed a loose lower “rubber jaw”. She was able eat most foods, despite not having any teeth. Her recessed lower jaw made her nose look really long and she also had very fine, sparse fur which we had to keep covered with sweaters so she would stay warm. She was not the best looking dog to other people when they first saw her. To us, she was our baby, cute as a “bug”. Hence her nickname “Bug”.

Ally had begun loosing weight over the last year and we along with our vet were doing everything to get her to eat and try to figure out why the weight loss. I would cook her chicken and salmon or buy every type of specialty food to fatten her up. My husband would hand feed her every meal.

On the evening of January 4th of this year, we were getting ready to go to sleep and Ally was on the bed where she always slept. She was digging “her nest” to get comfortable in the down comforter and in an instant she went over the side of the bed onto the hardwood floor. Not a peep out of her for pain, but she was holding her leg up and my husband and I looked at each other and knew she had broken her back leg. We were out to the emergency vet clinic in minutes. Yes, it was broken and would require surgery. The next day she was operated on and had a plate and seven screws placed in her tiny, stick-like leg. We felt so sick and guilty because we always watched out for her and protected her from any possible accidents.

She did very well after the surgery. With the help of a great surgeon, the leg was actually healing nicely. But unfortunately she only could hold on for six more weeks. She was still not eating much and loosing more weight. On that Sunday morning of March 11, 2007, she was very cold and looked so weak. She wanted me to hold her. I knew she was telling me it was time to let her go. I sat down on the kitchen floor and cried so hard for Ally, knowing it was time. We took her that morning to the emergency vet and they told us she was dying. My husband was in shock at hearing the vet’s words. He had been in denial that we would loose her so soon. We had tried so hard to keep her little body going. We both broke down sobbing over our baby. We stayed with Ally when the vet sedated her and then put her to sleep. It was peaceful for Ally. I don’t remember how we I made it through the day, or the next weeks. It was like we were in a fog. Some people cared. Most didn’t understand our intense pain. I was so physically ill from my grief, I had to see the doctor. Every day for months I would stare at her pictures and cry.

In May, we decided that it was time for another dog. We got our teacup poodle puppy. She is a living reminder of Ally in looks but definitely has her own personality. I still grieve for Ally and I miss her so much. It is ironic that she left us in similar circumstances of how she came to us. I am glad we had six more weeks with her after surgery. The vet assured us that she was just getting old and frail and the leg was not why she died. The love, happiness and companionship she provided us were beyond what I can put into words. We are grateful to have had her for ten short years.

K and J in Colorado