Sunday, May 3, 2009

Tail Of A Princesse

Well, it's been a year since we lost our brindle princess. Adios Treat was one of a kind and we'll certainly never forget her. It's been a year of ups and downs as I try to collect my life and move past losing her. Some days I still cry when I think about her, but more often now I smile when I think about the things we went through together. Losing her was certainly one of the harder things I have gone through. A year later, though, I don't want to think about her loss or about how we lost her. I want to celebrate how she lived and how she changed my life for the better. I'd like to share the joy of Treat so that others can enjoy her like I did and so I don't forget some of the better stories we had about her.

Not long after we'd bought our house and moved out of our apartment, Treat came into our lives. She was our Christmas present to us in the year 2000. We went up to the Quad Cities Greyhound Adoption kennel and met their four cat safe greyhounds. One was a livewire who nearly jumped through a window, one only wanted to get back to his food, one was very shy and sweet and the female was very lovey dovey with us. That little female was the only one who looked back at us as they led her back to her crate. We went home to think about it. We thought we wanted the shy, sweet boy, but they advised us against him since we'd have to be walking the dog on a leash. So, we went back up to meet the dogs a few days after Christmas and make our final decision. The males milled about and socialized with the volunteers. Treat had made up her mind and she stood plastered to either my husband or me the entire time we were there. Finally, we got the message. She had decided that we were hers. She pretty much ran the show from there on out.

One of the things about her that amused me to no end involved my husband's habit for always forgetting his wallet before we were about to go somewhere. We would get to the door and Treat would be dancing with joy at the prospect of going out when he would turn and go back to the bedroom to get his wallet or checkbook. Treat always followed him, stamping her dainty feet in outrage because it was time to GO! I'd hear it start, and it always reminded me of the Jaws theme. I'd hear her teeth click together, once, twice and then "Dammit Treat" as she bit him in the rear to hurry him toward the door. It was funny because she never did it to me.

Another story that comes to mind involves her diva tendencies and her extreme dislike of the rain. Treat loved to play in bodies of water, oceans, lakes, wading pools and creeks were all things she would dive fearlessly into. However, if it came to getting a bath or going to the bathroom in the rain, she was not into it at all. One October we had a deluge that went on for about a week. We even got her a raincoat, but she would stand outside in the pen, squinch up her eyes and just wait for us to come and take her back inside. She held it for the week as far as I know. I could see the wheels turning in her head. The people have a place to go IN THE HOUSE. The cats have a place to go IN THE HOUSE. Why am I, a superior being, expected to go outside IN THE RAIN?! Friday night came and my husband and I went out to see a movie. We came home and found that Treat, who had never voluntarily gone down into the basement ever before, had gone down to the basement and relieved herself in the litter box. If she hadn't been holding it for a week, it would have been a brilliant plan. However, she flooded the cat box and made quite a mess of things. Still, how mad could I be? She'd gone downstairs, on the concrete and given it her best shot.

Treat loved to travel with us. We took her on several trips and she always handled it with such enthusiasm. The other greyhounds would sleep as we drove, but Treat was always worried that she'd miss something. She usually had to stand behind me with her head out the window as she smelled out where we were headed to. She really didn't care. Everything was an adventure just waiting for her. It amazed me how many people knew her from message boards and asked to pet her and meet her. She was always gracious and loved the attention she got. She seemed to think that it was simply her due. When we would get out of the van, we usually came back to find her sitting in the driver's seat, wishing her feet could reach the gas pedals, no doubt. I'm sure she could have driven it if she could have gotten the mechanics down. She'd still be out there, driving around the country and meeting people. We met so many wonderful people through Treat, and that is one thing that I will always be grateful for. To all the people who ever sent her gifts and well wishes in her many ventures, I send my heartfelt thanks. Treat really did know that everyone thought she was special.

Treat was in a ballet performance here of Giselle. She dutifully attended ballet practice for weeks and pranced across the stage during the performance as if she were a ballerina. While we were waiting to perform she even met Roberta Flack, who happened to be driving by and made her driver stop so she could meet the greyhounds. Treat, my little diva, was even featured in Celebrating Greyhounds magazine with the other greyhounds who were in the show. She loved all the attention. No doubt she was sure all the people showed up to see her. The mob who surrounded us during the intermission confirmed her thoughts. People couldn't get enough of her.

Another thing we experienced because of Treat was therapy dog visits. Treat became a certified therapy dog, and we went to several nursing homes where she had quite a fan club. She loved all the attention she got there and made everyone feel as if she came there just to see them. She always seemed to have time for everyone. Aside from the nursing home visits, she also was a READ dog and she helped quite a few kindergarteners and first graders believe that they could read. She loved to close her eyes and just listen to their voices as they read stories to her. Every one of them believed that she came just to listen to them. That was a huge part of her charm. She was there to make everyone feel better just by being with them.

Treat was always my nurse. I had several battles with pneumonia, and she was always right beside me, making sure my blankets were properly held down. She kept me under constant supervision when I was sick. When I had to have surgery on my hand for some nerve damage, she paid extra close attention to me. During that time, she took to sleeping right up beside me, her head propped on my splint. It was something she only did while I was recovering from the surgery. How she knew I needed extra attention at those times, I'll never know, but she was very diligent in her care when she knew I was sick or injured. Something in her always felt she should take care of me and she never failed in her mission. It was one of the things that endeared her the most to me, along with the dance of joy she always did on my behalf when I arrived back home, whether I'd been gone for a week or five minutes. She was always happy that we were back together again.

I learned so many things from her. I learned patience and persistance. I learned about a special kind of unconditional love. I learned the value and beauty of old age and dignity. I always thought I'd go through years with her where she was an elderly grande dame, but she became an old dog overnight. The disease that attacked her stuck quickly and ruthlessly, but she kept up the fight for me. She never bowed her dignity or pride to it. She learned to love having us carry her up and down the back steps and she demanded to live life, even her last weeks, on her terms. There will certainly never be another like her and while I miss her still, I am so very thankful to have shared my life with her. She made me a better person and that's something money could never buy.


  1. What a wonderful post! I must confess to getting a little teary at the end. Treat sure was an amazing dog. :)


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