In every life there is “the perfect dog” and Fido was mine. Why
“Fido”? I like the name, and I’ve never met anyone else who had a dog
by that name. People think it’s common – in fact, it’s quite a rare

I had lost my first dog, a Rat Terrier/Chihuahua mix after 10 years.
At the time I worked at the local television station, and once a week
on our live noon show the Humane Society would bring a pet for
adoption. I started taking extended lunch breaks and a couple of
times a week I’d visit the animal shelter to find my new dog.

Based on my experience with the first dog I wanted a female Rat
Terrier, and that’s a pretty rare breed. I’d walk through the large
dog room, listening to the desperate sounds that dogs in a kennel will
make. I knew a big dog wasn’t for me, so I’d walk into the small dog
room. It was quieter there, but every dog seemed to understand how
important it was to be loved by the people walking by. There would be
poodles, cocker spaniels, but never a Rat Terrier.

One special day I did my normal walk through of the shelter. Nothing
in the large dogs room, nothing in the small dogs room. For some
reason, and I believe it was my destiny, I walked into the cat room.
There a young couple was talking with a dog. A white dog. A Rat
Terrier, and female!

To this day I cannot explain what had me speak. I said gently,
“Excuse me, that’s my dog.” There was grumbling, but the couple left
the room and I kneeled down and met Fido. That wasn’t her name at the
time, but it became her name that day.

The Humane Society people did all the right things. They had me go
into a room and brought her in to meet me properly, as we all wanted
to have a good idea that she and I would get along together. We passed that test and began our life together.


I have no doubt she had been abused by her first owner. She was not
house trained, and I became increasingly frustrated as I would work
with her to change this behavior. Rat Terriers are quite strong
willed, but one day I had her outside, she did her business, and I
praised her as I always did. It was like a light went on. She got
extremely excited, kissed me, and that was the last time there was
ever an issue with her going in the house.

The miracle of Fido began that day. She realized that she could be a
perfect dog, and she set about to be exactly that. I should have been
a fisherman, as after the first time she was out on a boat when we
were visiting the family, she wanted to go any time she could. She’d
sit and watch the bobber intently and then fiercely attack the fish
when it was brought aboard.

Fido bonded well with Spot, a long haired Chihuahua that joined us
about a year and a half later. They’d constantly fight, then curl up
together and fall asleep.

She also fell in love with my mother. Dogs can have 100% affection
and love for their master, yet can fall completely in love with
someone else. It was that way with Fido and Mom. We’d gone home for
a visit while the local fair was happening, and Mom was judging some
of the flower exhibits. We entered the large room where perhaps 50
people were. Fido saw Mom across the room and started screaming with

Screaming? If you didn’t know the dog you’d think she was being
tortured, but I knew full well it was her scream of joy. It was
either walk quickly across the room with a screaming dog straining on
the leash or let her go. I chose the latter option, and she streaked
across the room and jumped up in Mom’s arms. People scattered in
every direction, but the noise stopped as soon as they were together.
Mom and I laugh every time we remember it.


But dogs don’t live forever. At age 10 Fido developed a large lump.
I had the vet remove it – we knew it was cancer. After the operation
Fido had another year and a half of relatively good health. Then her
health declined again.

One day she had difficulty getting up and looked at me as she’d often
do and communicated, “Fix this!” There was only one fix, and as I
have done with each of my dogs, I held her as the vet gently
administered the drugs that ended her life. Then I sat in my car and
cried. The memories will never fade, and I have nice photos. I also
have Fido II, also a Rat Terrier – a wonderful dog, but not the same.

I’ll include the poem I sent out to family and friends when Fido
died. It’s by my favorite poet, Ogden Nash:

For a Good Dog

My little dog ten years ago
Was arrogant and spry,
Her backbone was a bended bow
For arrows in her eye.
Her step was proud, her bark was loud,
Her nose was in the sky,
But she was ten years younger then,
And so, by God, was I.

Small birds on stilts along the beach
Rose up with piping cry,
And as they flashed beyond her reach
I thought to see her fly.
If natural law refused her wings,
That law she would defy,
For she could do unheard-of things,
And so, at times, could I.

Ten years ago she split the air
To seize what she could spy;
Tonight she bumps against a chair,
Betrayed by milky eye.
She seems to pant, time up, time up!
My little dog must die,
And lie in dust with Hector’s pup;
So, presently, must I.

Curt in CA