Archive for the ‘Allie’ Category

sweet allie

I write quite a bit about the little guy, Baxter. He’s a good subject because he’s always into something and bouncing around like I’ve slipped him some crack (I haven’t, I promise). But Allie, sweet Allie, is my special little girl. I don’t talk about her a lot simply because she’s a really good dog. She hardly ever gets into trouble, she cuddles whenever you want her too, she’s great with kids, she’s great with other dogs, she likes car rides…  and so on and so on. She’s a great dog.

I’ve had Allie since December 2004, about a year and half before TC and I met.  I was walking out of a store in my college town and saw black lab puppies for sale. I walked over, intending to only PLAY with them for a short time. My sweet girl was the last female and the old farmer selling the puppies said that no one wanted her because she was so quiet and calm and also the runt. They wanted puppies that played and were bouncing around. I picked up this little girl and flipped her over on her back. Her little eyes met mine, she placed her little paw on my cheek, and my heart sank. (To this day she will hold eye contact with you, unlike any other dog I’ve seen. It’s like she’s staring straight into and connecting with your soul.) I wanted her so badly. But I was in college! I lived in an apartment! I didn’t need a dog! Especially not a dog that would grow up to be a BIG dog!

But I couldn’t help myself and 20 minutes later, I was driving home with a five pound, six week old puppy. She nuzzled my neck and perched on my shoulder  the whole ride home. She curled up into a little ball of dog on my lap the second we got up to my apartment. She knew the exact look or touch to give me to make me feel better when I was sick or down. She knew (and still knows) the exact spot to cuddle in the middle of a cold winter’s night to warm me (and herself, I’m sure). She was completely potty trained within two days. We were instant soul mates.

Now, don’t get me wrong, she wasn’t always such a perfect dog. She was a chewer. No matter how many toys and treats I gave her, she seemed far more interested in destroying my couch, or the box springs on my bed, or my desk chair. She even ate an entire bottle of baby oil.

We’ve put those days behind us, and now, she’s an amazing creature. So intuitive and gentle. Her heart is still broken whenever TC brings out the “deployment bag” he uses to pack for all of his deployments. She has been known to climb into the bag as if to say, “Please don’t go… but if you have to go, please take me!” Her loyalty knows no limits. She’ll let you know if you’re not welcome at the house and has scared many a salesmen off of our front porch. Her bark is ferocious and her love will melt you. She always knows the boundaries on licking and jumping up.

She is a loyal companion.

She’s my sweet girl, Allie.


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So, it dawned on me as I was writing my Friday MilSpouse Fill-In, that I haven’t told you guys how TC proposed!

He’s never been one to really plan anything, but he wanted to take me to Chicago the last weekend in March 2009 to “just get away and relax.” Work had been really very stressful leading up into our major event season in April and I was hating my job. A weekend away in Chicago was perfect. We both love, love, LOVE that city so it seemed fitting that we vacation there. I had no idea what he actually had planned. This is TC, he doesn’t plan ANYTHING, there was no way he could be planning to propose.

My Mom came to pick up Allie on Thursday. The weather wasn’t looking amazing, but we hoped we could at least get off the ground before the snow really picked up on Friday. While meeting my Mom at the house, the FedEx guy shows up, I sign for a package and immediately throw it in TC’s office because I’m sure it’s car parts… literally, I threw the package into his office. I was very wrong, it wasn’t car parts. What girl signed for her own engagement ring and threw the box on a couch like it was worthless crap? This girl.

My Mom took Allie so we could fly out the next day and I went back to work. Friday came and it snowed. Not a little snow, but like 10 inches of snow in just a few hours. Not awesome. We went to the airport six hours before our flight to try to get on standby for the earlier Chicago flight. No go. We sat at the airport and watched the last plane that would leave for Chicago de-ice for almost an hour before it took off, without us. I was angry. Livid, actually. But TC was worse. I’ve never actually seen him so angry about missing a flight before. We drove back home and watched movies all night. I cried, a lot. Work was stressful, I needed away and I was stuck in freaking Kansas.

The next morning, TC work up crazy early (5:00 a.m. to be exact), chipped his truck out of the ice and snow, and went to a little coffee shop down the street to get me Chai, him a latte and the Wall Street Journal. By the time he returned I was awake but refusing to get out of bed. I was angry. I was heartbroken. I should have been waking up in Chicago.

He placed my Chai on my nightstand and we start to read the paper. He then asked if it tasted ok, he didn’t think they made it right. Reluctantly, I pick up the cup and sitting on the top was a dog tag. Allie’s dog tag. That had my first name and TC’s last name. As I sat there, very confused and wondering what the heck was going on, TC pulled out a ring box and asked me to marry him. In our bed. In our house. At 6:00 a.m. on a snowy day in the middle of Kansas. I was shocked. I said yes.

I waited until around 7:00 a.m. to call my parents – who had been in on this THE WHOLE TIME. They knew it was going to happen but they thought it would be in Chicago. (That explained why they were so upset that our flight got cancelled too…) We then called TC’s parents, and our siblings. Everyone already knew. I was the only one left in the dark. Well played TC, well played.

Turns out he was going to propose to me in the middle of Millennium Park basically the same way, with Allie’s new tag and a cup of Chai. No “down on one knee.” No big to-do about the whole thing. It was private. It was very personal. It was just like us. I wouldn’t have changed the way things happened at all.

On the plus side – we got all of our money back from the flights and hotel room so we went out and bought a really big plasma tv. Win/Win weekend for us! I got a pretty sparkly ring and TC got a giant tv.


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Last night, I posted a story about a dog left behind by a guy headed out on a deployment, knowing that he probably wouldn’t come back. Read it here. But there’s another story that makes me cry harder than I’ll ever really care to admit. I’d like to share it now… Please consider fixing your pets, or adopting an additional one. I wasn’t keen on adopting the puppy, but he’s an amazing asset to our family and I’m not sure how we’d have lived without him. He was 3 days away from being put down when we adopted him, by the way. So now, one of the few things in life that make me cry uncontrollably: His Name is Sam:

“After I was discharged from the Navy, Jim and I moved back to Detroit to use our GI bill benefits to get some schooling. Jim was going for a degree in Electronics, and I, after much debating, decided to get mine in Computer Science.

One of the classes that was a requirement was Speech.  Like many people I had no fondness for getting up in front of people for any reason, let alone to be the center of attention as I stuttered my way through some unfamiliar subject.  But I couldn’t get out of the requirement and so I found myself in my last semester before graduation with Speech as one of my classes.

On the first day of class our professor explained to us that he was going to leave the subject matter of our talks up to us, but he was going to provide the motivation of the speech. We would be responsible for six speeches, each with a different motivation. For instance our first speech’s purpose was to inform. He advised us to pick subjects that we were interested in and knowledgeable about

I decided to center my six speeches around animals, especially dogs. For my first speech to inform I talked about the equestrian art of dressage. For my speech to demonstrate I brought my German Shepherd, Bodger, to class and demonstrated obedience commands.  Finally the semester was almost over and I had but one more speech to give. This speech was to take the place of a written final exam and was to count for fifty per cent of our grade.

The speech’s motivation was to persuade. After agonizing over a subject matter, and keeping with my animal theme, I decided on the topic of spaying and neutering pets.  My goal was to try to persuade my classmates to neuter their pets.  So I started researching the topic. There was plenty of material, articles that told of the millions of dogs and cats that were euthanized every year, of supposedly beloved pets that were turned in to various animal control facilities for the lamest of reason, or worse, dropped off far from home, bewildered and scared. Death was usually a blessing. The final speech was looming closer but I felt well prepared. My notes were full of facts and statistics that I felt sure would motivate even the most naive of pet owner to succumb to my plea.

A couple of days before our speeches were due, I had the bright idea of going to the local branch of the Humane Society and borrowing a puppy to use as a sort of a visual aid. I called the Humane Society and explained what I wanted. They were very happy to accommodate me.

The day before my speech, I went to pick up the puppy. I was feeling very confident. I could quote all the statistics and numbers without ever looking at my notes. The puppy, I felt, would add the final emotional touch.

When I arrived at the Humane Society I was met by a young guy named Ron. He explained that he was the public relations person for the Humane Society. He was very excited about my speech and asked if I would like a tour of the facilities before I picked up the puppy. I enthusiastically agreed. We started out in the reception area, which was the general public’s initial encounter with the Humane Society. The lobby was full, mostly with people dropping off various animals that they no longer wanted. Ron explained to me that this branch of the Humane society took in about fifty animal a day and adopted out twenty.

As we stood there I heard snatches of conversation. “I can’t keep him, he digs holes in my garden.”

“They’re such cute puppies, I know you will have no trouble finding homes for them.”

“She is wild , I can’t control her.”

I heard one of Humane Society’s volunteer explain to the lady with the litter of puppies that the Society was filled with puppies and that these puppies, being black, would immediately be put to sleep. Black puppies, she explained, had little chance of being adopted. The woman who brought the puppies in just shrugged, “I can’t help it,” she whined.  “They are getting too big.  I don’t have room for them.”

We left the reception area, Ron lead me into the staging area where all the incoming animals were evaluated for adoptability. Over half never even made it to the adoption center. There were just too many. Not only were people bringing in their own animals, but strays were also dropped off. By law the Humane Society had to hold a stray for three days. If the animal was not claimed by then it was euthanized since there was no background information on the animal. There were already too many animals that had a known history eagerly provided by their soon to be former owners. As we went through the different areas I felt more and more depressed. No amount of statistics could take the place of seeing the reality of what this throw-away attitude did to the living breathing animal. It was overwhelming.

Finally Ron stopped in front of a closed door. “That’s it,” he said, “except for this.”

I read the sign on the door. “Euthanization Area.”

“Do you want to see one?” he asked.

Before I could decline, he interjected, “You really should, you can’t tell the whole story unless you experience the end.”

I reluctantly agreed.

“Good,” he said. ” I already cleared it.  Peggy is expecting you.”  He knocked firmly on the door.  It was opened immediately by a middle aged woman in a white lab coat. “Here’s the girl I was telling you about,” Ron explained. Peggy looked me over. “Well, I’ll leave you here with Peggy and meet you in the reception area in about fifteen minutes. I’ll have the puppy ready.” With that Ron departed, leaving me standing in front of the stern looking Peggy.

Peggy motioned me in. As I walked into the room, I gave an audible gasp.  The room was small and spartan. There were a couple of cages along the wall and a cabinet with syringes and vials of a clear liquid. In the middle of the room was an examining table with a rubber mat on top. There were two doors other then the one I had entered. Both were closed.  One said, “Incinerator.”  The other door had no sign, but I could hear animal noises coming from it.

In the back of the room, near the door that was marked Incinerator, were the objects that caused my distress. Two wheelbarrows, filled with the bodies of dead kittens and puppies. I stared in horror. Nothing had prepared me for this.  I felt my legs grow weak and my breathing become rapid and shallow. I wanted to run from that room, screaming. Peggy seemed not to notice my state of shock. She started talking about the euthanization process, but I wasn’t hearing her. I could not tear my gaze away from the wheelbarrows and those dozens of pathetic little bodies.

Finally, Peggy seemed to noticed that I was not paying attention to her. “Are you listening?” she asked irritably. “I’m only going to go through this once.”

I tore my gaze from the back of the room and looked at her. I opened my mouth to say something, but nothing would come out, so I nodded.

She told me that behind the unmarked door were the animals that were scheduled for euthanasia that day. She picked up the a chart that was hanging from the wall. “One fifty three is next.” she said as she looked at the chart. “I’ll go get him.”

She laid down the chart on the examining table and started for the unmarked door. Before she got to the door she stopped and turned around. “You aren’t going to get hysterical are you?” she asked.  ” Because that will only upset the animals.”

I shook my head. I had not said a word since I walked into that room. I still felt unsure if I would be able to without breaking down into tears.

As Peggy open the unmarked door I peered into the room beyond. It was a small room but the walls were lined and stacked with cages. It looked like they were all occupied. Peggy opened the door of one of the lower cages and removed the occupant. From what I could see it looked like a medium size dog. She attached a leash and ushered the dog into the room in which I stood.

As Peggy brought the dog into the room I could see that the dog was no more than a puppy maybe five or six months old. The pup looked to be a cross between a Lab and a German shepherd. He was mostly black, with a small amount of tan above his eyes and on his feet.  He was very excited and bouncing up and down, trying to sniff everything in this new environment. Peggy lifted the pup onto the table.  She had a card in her hand that she laid on the table next to me. I read the card.

It said that number one fifty three was a mixed Shepherd, 6 months old. He was surrendered two days ago by a family. Reason of surrender was given as, “Jumps on children.”  At the bottom was a note that said, “Name: Sam.”

Peggy was quick and efficient from lots of practice. She laid one fifty three down on his side and tied a rubber tourniquet around his front leg. She turned to fill the syringe from the vial of clear liquid.

All this time I was standing at the head of the table. I could see the moment that one fifty three went from a curious puppy to a terrified puppy. He did not like being held down and he started to struggle.

It was then that I finally found my voice. I bent over the struggling puppy and whispered “Sam. Your name is Sam.”

At the sound of his name Sam quit struggling. He wagged his tail tentatively and his soft pink tongue darted out and licked my hand And that is how he spent his last moment. I watched his eyes fade from hopefulness to nothingness. It was over very quickly.

I had never even seen Peggy give the lethal shot.

The tears could not be contained any longer. I kept my head down so as not to embarrass myself in front of the stoic Peggy. My tears fell onto the still body on the table.

“Now you know,” Peggy said softly. Then she turned away.

“Ron will be waiting for you.”

I left the room.  Although it seem like it had been hours, only fifteen minutes had gone by since Ron had left me at the door.

I made my way back to the reception area. True to his word, Ron had the puppy already to go. After giving me some instructions about what to feed the puppy, he handed the carrying cage over to me and wished me good luck on my speech.

That night I went home and spent many hours playing with the orphan puppy. I went to bed that night but I could not sleep.

After a while I got up and looked at my speech notes with their numbers and statistics. Without a second thought I tore them up and threw them away. I went back to bed. Sometime during the night I finally fell asleep.

The next morning I arrived at my Speech class with Puppy Doe. When my turn came to give my speech. I walked up to the front the class with the puppy in my arms and took a deep breath.  I told the class about the life and death of Sam.

When I finished my speech I became aware that I was crying. I apologized to the class and took my seat. After class the teacher handed out a critique with our grades. I had got a “A”. His comments said “Very moving and persuasive.”

Two days latter, on the last day of class, one of my classmates came up to me. She was a older lady that I had never spoken to in class. She stopped me on our way out of the class room. “I want you to know that I adopted the puppy you brought to class.” She said. “His name is Sam.””

*Chris Benton is the author of this story. I swiped this story from this webpage. I wish to express gratitude to Chris.

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