Below is a letter which I wrote on the first Sunday following the Wednesday six months ago when I had taken my dog, Pookie, to the Vet to be put to sleep. The letter is “from” Pookie. I sent it on to our close friends and relatives who had known Pookie in life. It was my way of coping with the Pain…..

Hello everyone,

Well, today is my first Sunday up here…Everything is beautiful and I’ve made lots of friends already. Lots of squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits and other dogs to run and play with… I’ve not seen any cats, though. Makes me wonder where they go when the day is done. Heh, heh…

Anyway, I thought I’d write one final note to you all to let you know how marvelous I feel now that my pains of the last few years are no more than a distant memory. I can run like the wind, again…non-stop!

I had 15 years and nine months down on earth to enjoy your love and to give you back my unequivocal love and devotion to you, most especially to Darcie who chose me from amongst the many other pups in that small Evergreen pet store and to Dad (some dogs would say Master, but to me he was just my Dad and my best friend). Dad has said so many times that I was a fantastic $15 investment. I don’t know about that. If I was such a prize, what was the bit about bringing me home in a brown paper bag! What was that all about? All I know is what they say in the movies, “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get”. I suppose that’s true about paper bags too, right Darcie? Again, everybody had said that I was a good pick. I hope I lived up to your hopes for me.

As I said, there are lots of chipmunks and rabbits up here, just like the ones I used to chase all the time in the backyard there at the Big House in Evergreen. And Elk, also. I remember when I was a very young puppy spotting that first Elk herd walking past the back deck! I gave them the old What For, barking at them to let them know who was the owner of that turf! I didn’t leave the deck, though, not that I couldn’t have it it were necessary. I was just exercising my discretion, of course.

All in all, I was a pretty good Puppy, if I do say so myself. I think I only tinkled once on the brand new hardwood Floor, which is better than the average puppy can say. Of course I did chew up that ugly and very expensive Chinese shoe of Joyce’s..Now that was Special!!!! Funny thing is, nobody punished me for that. Hmmm…

When I got bigger and stronger, Dad and I would go out to Elk Meadow and I’d run at full speed, endlessly. For every mile that Dad ran or biked, I’d do three miles, crisscrossing his path in wide figure-eights, with no concept of a ‘leash’ whatsoever. I’d wander off the trail, tearing alongside through the woods…defying any mean old cougar to jump out and try to catch me! I was brave beyond my years!

Along the way I found other ways to help out…sometimes just subtly adding my support and encouragement. I learned Japanese by watching over Dad’s shoulder as he studied every night in the downstairs rec room, but of course, being a dog, I couldn’t speak so I kept that secret inside all these years. Last year I learned Chinese sitting by Dad here in Vegas as he did his homework…to be honest, though, knowing how some people say the Chinese feel about dogs, I wasn’t that thrilled.

Back in the Evergreen days I had a real job, of course…Fetching stuff! Fetching newspapers, fetching slippers. It was a worthy profession, and I can’t be humble…I was pretty darn good at it. It was a Long way down the driveway out to the street there in Evergreen to fetch the paper every day. No problem, in those days I was in tip-top shape. Racing up and down two floors (four levels of stairs) to fetch Dad’s slippers..one at a friggin’ time!!! Now, as for those other Tricks!!! “Roll over, turn around, stand up..spin around…fetch”…and..that Idiotic “Bang” trick where I had to drop down like a rock…Nuts! But, the way I figured..if it made you all happy, that was my job!

As I said, being in shape was important…I had to be. Sleeping up on that god-awful high bed of Darcie’s…..Yowza!! Those were some shockingly tough middle of the night surprises, rolling over and dropping four feet to hit the floor. Ka-Thump!

Anyway, I continued my work at paper-fetching wherever we lived. The travel time became shorter, and in the last couple of years I only had to carry the paper from the front doorstep about twenty feet to the kitchen for my treat…not far at all. Towards the end, of course, I even had to retire from that as the old legs just weren’t holding up, as you know…but when Dad carried me back through the front door after my morning ‘walks’, which had gotten shorter and shorter, I always glanced over at that paper anyway, sort of reminding Dad that it was there every morning.

Besides “Fetching”, “Watching” was my other profession…and I was a darned good Watchdog! A perfect record, in fact! Except on the Coldest days of Winter in Colorado and the Hottest days of mid-Summer in Vegas, Dad never closed (let alone lock) the Condo doors when he went out…he left it open so I could roam in or out, or get a drink, or check out the news (he never turned off the TV when he went out, either, so I wouldn’t be lonely, I guess). He trusted me to protect the homestead! During all those years, no home-invader ever got past me! There may have been times when I seemed to be just sleeping in the warm sun, not paying attention, but that was just my ploy in order to catch anyone who even tried to approach our door. I must admit that during the last few weeks, Dad would sometimes come home, step over me at my ‘post’, get settled inside with his grocery packages or whatever, then return later to lift me up and carry me in to the couch for my early-evening nap…not to be confused with my mid-evening or afternoon naps, of course.

Speaking of treats, some treats came only later in life…Cheese, for example! Why was that such a big Secret all my life? And Tuna Fish?? What? You kept that hidden and set aside until the last few months?? You crazy? I am no Pussycat, but I sure did learn to like that stuff! And then, just a week or so ago, I find out about those long brown things named after me…Hot Dogs!! Sonuvagun but they sure were delicious! I know, I know. Dr. Fogg in Evergreen said during my very first checkups as a young pup to stick with the basic healthy stuff, DOGfood. I guess he was right, as always. I suppose his advice helped me to ultimately attain my super-senior-dog-citizen status. You know, if you believe that old ‘rule-of-paw’ that one Dog-year is roughly the same as 7 human-years, I suppose I hit 110 in human years….but, let me tell you, I never felt a day older than maybe 85 or 90!

Speaking of Dr. Fogg, that reminds me of my first, and last, Fishing trip….Now that’s a story! Dad spends $20 for a license and a cheap pole for a single outing with some friends from El Rancho, and I end up swallowing his hook…hook, line and sinker, as they say. Eight hours and one Operation by Dr. Fogg later, Dad was at least $350 poorer…but I was raring to go again! I never did get to eat any Trout, now that I think about it.

Some dogs, young or old, don’t like going to the Doc’s…they get nervous and all that…but I never minded it at all…fish hooks, barbed wire injuries, knee reconstruction surgery, mystery eye wounds…I had my fair share of troubles. I took it all in stride! Here I am back in 2003 in my Skier’s-Knee ACL Operation Cast. I never got to ski, of course…you might say that I skipped the fun part and went straight for the injury!

Over the years, Dr Fogg in Evergreen and Dr Christensen in Vegas were both very Kool and friendly…and smart. Doc Christensen was with Dad and me on my last day….that was good. I liked that.

On that last day, Dr Christensen made some preparations to my arm, then left me in the small private room with Dad for a while. Waiting for the Doc to come back, I lay in Dad’s arms just looking up into his eyes…Dad often called me his “Brown-eyed Girl” and he hummed some of that to me, I think because he really didn’t know many of the words. Then, as I lay quietly listening to him, he told some stories reminding me about my early days chasing rabbits and chipmunks and squirrels, running together in Elk Meadow…he even reminded my of my one and only swim, at the Evergreen Racquet Club pool…but that’s another story for another day. There were many good things to remember, and I actually was dozing off for my late afternoon nap when Doc Christensen returned…It was a very good way to go.

Will Rogers used to say, “I never met a man I didn’t like”…….Well, I never met a human…man or woman or child…who I didn’t like…My constantly wagging tail should have worn out long ago…Funny, but it’s one of my few parts that never failed me, right up until the final moment.

If during my time with you all I made you smile once or twice, or just was there to comfort you in your down moments, then I served my purpose on earth as a pet, companion, and friend.

I love you all.

Pookie Wallace

P.S. When your time comes, remember that as soon as you have passed through those Pearly entry gates up here, just whistle and I’ll come running…..

Bruce from NV