Daisy Mae Davis

Dear Mark,
I’d like to share with you what I hope will be a relatively short narrative about the little dog who I still refer to as “the canine love of my life.” Her name was Daisy Mae Davis, and she was a bichon-maltese-poodle mix.

I very recently retired from the US Navy with 22 years of service. I bring this up because I viewed myself as being a “tough guy” who had to go on long deployments and stand round-the-clock watches. So, when I first met the lovely lady who was one day to become my wife, and she showed me this little white fuzzball of a dog, I was admittedly a bit disappointed. After all, I wanted a by-God MAN’S dog, not some little house shoue with curly hair and big eyes.

Yet, as I continued to court my lovely lady, that little fuzzball somehow worked her way deep into my soul. She would hear the sound of my muffler coming up the road and would begin to cry with joy. I’d get out of the car, and within two seconds I would practically get knocked over as this little, curly-haired white missile launched herself at me. I would then go through about ten minutes of getting my face licked between whines, usually topped off by a little “love nip” to my nose.

After my bride and I were married and had bought our first home, Daisy would start waiting by the door to the garage about ten minutes before I got home from work. It didn’t matter if I came home at four PM or 6:30 in the evening, she would always plant herself by that door and quietly wait for me. As the years went by, the greetings got more and more demonstrative, and Daisy actually started giving me her version of a hug, putting her little cheek to the side of my face and pressing up close before going back to her semi-famous “Dino greetings.”

I would go on deployments overseas, and somehow Daisy knew not to wait by the door until I had returned to the States. One particular homecoming, when my ship was returning to San Diego after six-month WESTPAC deployment, my wife brought Daisy down to the pier at which we were scheduled to arrive. As I came down the gangplack to look for my missus, I heard a small, somehow familiar high-pitched yelp to my right. Before I could even turn to face in the direction from which the sound had come from, I was once again the target of that all-too-familiar little white missile with curly hair. I was a lieutenant and a ship’s department head by that time, and my of my Sailors got a kick out of Mr. Davis “with a dog plastered to his face.”

Long-story-short, by the time my wife and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary, Daisy had become a “Daddy’s Girl” through and through.

In 1999, Daisy turned 14, and shortly thereafter she started getting sick. By this time, I was a student at the US Naval War College in Newport, RI, while my wife and “hairy daughter” stayed behind in San Diego to spare them the long move east. The call came in at 3 AM, and by 7 AM, my little baby girl was gone.

As the day’s classes began to start up, I asked to speak to my instructor, a grizzled, white-haired old Colonel who had fought in Vietnam as a tanker. I was barely able to talk, and I was mortified by the thought of breaking down in front a Soldier who had received two Silver Stars and three Purple Heart Medals. (And I mean REAL Purple Hearts, Mark, not the “purple owies” that the last dismalcrat presidential nominee “earned.”)

He looked very concerned, and put a hand on my shoulder to try to calm me. I finally managed to tell him that I was not going to be able to make it to class that morning. As I told him why, his eyes began to fill up with what looked like–but just COULDN’T be–tears. Voice nearly breaking, he told me to get out of there, and that he’d pray for me. I found out several days later that he had only very recently lost his best buddy, a black Lab who’d been by his side for 17 years.

As I told this story to one of my calssmates–a Navy SEAL of al things–he too became very emotional and told me that he had had a rescued greyhound that had been with him for a dozen or so years, and that his dog had had to be put to sleep the month before because she was in so much pain from the cancer that would have otherwise caused her a lingering, agonized death.

I guess my point in relating this tale to you, Mark, is to show that no matter how tough or mean we think we are, no matter how inurred we become to emotional or physical pain, these “four-legged children” somehow get past all that and take up residence deep in our souls.

We have since gotten another dog, a little white fuzzball bichon, and once again, I have fallen quite in love with this little white missile that throws herself at me at the end of the day when I come home.

Mark, thank you so much for this part of your website. You ARE truly a great American! God bless you, sir.

Warmest regards,
Don from CA