I had never personally owned such a small dog and was delighted with him! I took him anywhere and everywhere I could and he quickly became my "shadow". Anywhere I went in the house, he followed. If we were in the other room watching TV and he wanted to eat, he'd bring a mouth full of dog food in the room and eat it there, making many trips in the process. If I had to go into the bathroom, he did too. That pattern never stopped his whole life. The last apartment we lived in was high above the street below. He would sit on the back of the couch and people watch during the day. When I would leave for work, I'd look up at the window and see him looking back at me. He'd be sitting there when I got home too.
I could sit here forever and tell you his little idiosyncrasies......like how he wet the bed every night for the first week or two of his life home with us, or his obsessive squeekie disorder, or his ability as a pup to leap at least twice his length to reach a sock toy hidden out of his reach, or his sneaky habit of stealing my coffee (and how long it took for me to realize it was him!), or his ability to eat a watermelon twice his size, or his warning yelp that he gave out anytime anyone got too close or scared him, or his uncanny way of staring at you until you got through your head what he wanted, and the pleased look he'd give you when you finally got it right. He had an uncanny ability to get his "Pa" to do what he wanted too. How about his snoring? Did I mention that? Or the fact that he always had to have the last work and would even wait till you were walking out of the room to bark at you......just to get the last word in.
Over the years we watched our baby become a "little man" and then a "little old man" and then a "grumpy old fart man". He was still a delight at each stage. Each stage brought a slew of changes as they always do and we adjusted to them. I remember when he could no longer jump up and down off the couch. It was such a shock. This, the dog that could leap so high in his youth had to now be helped on and off the couch. That was a tough adjustment as many times we'd forget and leave the room, stranding him on the couch. Around this time I noticed he was having trouble getting comfortable at night and as it was winter, I made him his own flannel blanket. He would spend a few minutes every night re-arranging his blanket before going to sleep. After I fluffed it out for him, of course.
On January 6Th, at the age of 16 1/2, his little body gave out and we had to help him cross over. Even though I've tried to prepare for this for the last few years as his body started to fail, and even though I've been through this before with other "children" of mine, I just was not prepared for the pain of it all. I'm still grieving and will probably grieve for a long time. Bandit was our first "baby" and has been such a huge part of our lives that we just don't know what to do without him. One of the hardest parts for me is that I've lost my shadow. I turn around and he's not there anymore. Oh, how that hurts.
There is a huge hole in the fabric of our lives. Each day we make our way around it and try to gather up a string to darn back into place. All of us are feeling it in a similar fashion, and dealing with it in different ways. Abbie wants to play more and is seeking us out. Salem at times gets unsettled and walks the house howling until I pick him up and cuddle him. Both are much more cuddly than normal. Tucker, being an outside dog is much insulated from this all. He's shown some confusion over my emotional state, but has been a good boy and given me much comfort lately. As for Cody, he's trying to adjust to this strange new world of being an only house dog. He's never experienced it before and I do believe he's been a bit confused. At times he runs and hides from me because he's had way too much attention, and at other times he seeks us out as is for approval. I'm seriously trying hard not to smother him as bad as I did the first few days and we're all seeking a balance. As for we humans? Well, we remember, we cry, we go to work and come home and we cry, we move on a bit and get a bit better, and then something reminds us and we cry again. Many tears are being shed, but we believe that's healthy and OK. It's helping us heal. One day we'll be able to remember and smile and laugh without the pain and tears we have right now.
Just not right now.