Gretchen was a very unique dog. She tried SO hard to talk to me- she would look at me, bark, cock her head, as if to say, "Are you stupid? Don't you understand what I'm trying to tell you?" She was very intuitive, extremely driven, high energy, very talkative, and impatient-sounds like me, right? She was a wonderful combination of a black and reddish gold dominant bitch (inherited from her father) and sweet, cuddly happy girl (inherited from her mother).
Kevin and I owned her father, Panzer General, who died in 2007. He was a gorgeous, tiny, 3 lb. blue and gold handful of titanium balls dog with a hoarse little bark who ruled the house. Her mother was an absolutely sweetheart of a black and reddish brown friendly Yorkie named Dinky who had a heart of gold and a constantly wagging tail who died in 2011. Between the two of them, they gave their daughter brains, beauty and....a flaccid trachea (common in Yorkies).
She's the only Yorkie I've ever known that had a stronger ball drive than any of our German Shepherds. She consistently beat our GSD to the ball while playing catch in the back yard or at the dog park!
She would protect the couch like it was made out of gold- if Ceili, our German Shepherd (90 lbs) tried to get up on the couch, she would fly at her, barking like a nut and snapping as if she would bite her! It was HER couch, and by God, she would defend it!
She had a love-hate relationship with our other Yorkie, Bridget. Bridget is very quiet, shy and sweet. It just pissed Gretchen off that Bridget was calm! Sometimes she would attack Bridget and rip her ear open...other times, she would flirt and play with her. Often, they would cuddle together with the GSD. Wierd.
Gretchen's most endearing habit was that she loved to cuddle with me...to a point. Usually, about 3AM, she would snuggle up next to me, usually under my chin, and fall asleep. Since she snored like a freight train, it always woke me up- but it was so sweet that I learned to sleep through it. However, if I didn't get up by 7:45AM she would start licking my nose and barking to make me wake up. Now, all of you probably know that I am a night owl and like to sleep in a little later...not with Gretchy around. Kevin would have to take her out of the room so I could sleep- but she would inevitably end up at the door, scratching to be let in...oh Gretchy.
Gretchy also LOVED the chickens. We called her the 6th chicken. They liked her, too. She could walk in their coop, hang out with them and even eat bread crumbs or lettuce leaves we tossed out for the chickens and they never flinched.
Gretchy had one, big, fat, giant sized puppy when she was 3 years old. She had him by C-section, and since she was asleep when she delivered him, she totally abandoned the poor baby as soon as she got home. Puppy? What puppy? I'm back to sleeping on the bed- not with this annoying little thing that needed to nurse! I think that Zephyr was the fastest-weaned puppy on the planet. She just barely tolerated the poor little guy! Fortunately, he went to a lovely family!
The other thing we've been very surprised at is that she adored the snow! She would bound around, collecting as much snow as possible in her fur and disdaining the little jacket we bought for her. She would jump so deep in the snow that we lost her in it a couple of times! It didn't matter how cold outside, she loved running around and playing in the snow! When she came in the house, she would hop up onto the fireplace hearth to melt the snow and warm up, but 5 minutes later, she was ready to go back outside! Fearless!
Gretchen had pneumonia a couple of times in the last 2 years here in Klamath Falls. Usually, Yorkies live quite long lives for dogs- usually 15-18 years. The doctors told us that she had an enlarged heart, because she had to struggle with the flaccid trachea and it made her heart work harder. We knew she wouldn't live as long as a normal Yorkie without the flaccid trachea-we just never expected that it would be the cause of the end of her life in such a sudden fashion at age 12.
Here are some pictures of our sweet girl- she loved her place on the back of the couch, and loved living life to the fullest. She is at peace now after a full 24 hours in an oxygen cage.
In honor of her, and all the parishioners at Sacred Heart, and all my friends who took the time to offer some comfort to us in our time of loss- I am reprinting a wonderful prayer. It's also in the parish bulletin this weekend...because, in reality, our beloved companion pets do give us a glimpse of the unconditional love that God has for us...Gretchen was always happy to see us, loved us no matter what or how grumpy we were, and only asked for clean water, food, and a ball to chase. Rest in peace, Gretchy. We miss you so much and are struggling with your loss. We know we will see you at the end of time- because God knows how much we love our pets.
In the name of God the Father,
who created you and all the animals,
in the name of Jesus the Son,
who spoke of you in parables and stories,
in the name of the Holy Spirit,
in whom every creature lives, moves, and has their being,
go now in peace, dear friend.
May you find rest near refreshing waters,
may you lie in cool, green pastures,
and may you warm yourself under the sun that never sets.
You have been my constant companion,
my shadow and confidante,
my comfort and playmate.
You filled my days with life and brought me endless joy.
For this I give thanks to God who gave you to me.
Now return to your Maker who eagerly waits for you
as you waited for me at the end of each day.
In the Father’s arms, let there be no more pain.
Let there be no more suffering.
Let there be only light as it was on the day God created you.
For our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
Blessed be the name of the Lord, now and forever. Amen.