My adult life has been enriched by the love of the pets who have lived with me.
Let me introduce my furry kiddos, past and present.
One Sunday morning in early November 2001, I scanned through the Dayton Dayton News and clipped out an address. Within 20 minutes I was in the car, heading to a farm just a bit south of Xenia. I arrived at the farm and spent some time. I left the farm with a blue-eyed, black and white ten week old puppy.
She was a mix of her springer spaniel dad and her mom, a solid statuesque black lab with blue eyes, compliments of her husky mother.
I had been working on a musical about the Wright Brothers of Dayton and often hiked through Woodland Cemetery where they are buried in a plot with other family members. Woodland was our first stop. I opened the door and the little puppy hopped out the car and scampered right over to the Wright family’s plot! She laid down in front of Wilbur Wright’s tombstone.
Flyer. Her named would be Flyer and how it fit the sweet, talented pooch who possessed a lot of personality and intellect. Later, I was to discover that Wilbur Wright, while doing test flights in France, adopted his own pooch which he named Flyer.
For twelve years, I had all the favorite television and movie dogs all wrapped into Flyer. She quickly learned commands from a very impatient Logan who would smack Flyer-puppy, sparking command memory. The treats were not distributed until both Flyer and Logan had performed each command in a routine of commands.
Flyer won the hearts of everyone and seemed to create a huge fan base. She rode everywhere with me, often perched in the back window of the blue-silver Chevy Lumina.
I will always be grateful for the love and affection Flyer freely offered each newly adopted son and foster son. She was a true therapy dog and shared her love and maternal soothing with each son as needed.
August 2010, Flyer collapsed and per the veterinarian could not be saved as pancreatitis was killing her. We opted to return to the office the following morning to help her over Rainbow Bridge. That night, 52 people, mostly students and parents, came to bid farewell to Flyer. Two former students, both unknown to one another at Bowling Green State University, drove down together for one last farewell with Flyer. Those two young men became best friends due to that drive down to Kettering and back to campus.
For some reason, I could not buy into the fact Flyer’s time was up. It was more than wishful, hopeful thinking – it was my gut. I spent the night researching and with the aide of some friends, put together a diet, learned how to manage her diabetes with insulin shots, and became determined she was to wait a bit longer for her departure.
Three years later, Flyer was still going strong. She lost her sight but had no issues getting around the yard or house.
Flyer was uncertain when we brought ten week old puppies, Chief and Navi, into the mix but they both became her new eyes and guardians, especially Chief. Those rare times Flyer became disoriented in the backyard, Chief would shoulder her to the stone paths and then hurry to the deck to bark so she could follow his sound.
July 2013, Flyer’s health deteriorated rapidly. Mother came to spend several days with us and a parade of loving friends passed by to spend time with Flyer. I would lay on the floor of my study to hold her; as I rose to teach a lesson, Chief, not yet three years old, would scoot in and wrap his paws around Flyer.
The last Monday morning of July, Flyer slipped away. I was holding her and Chief was resting his head on her hip. While Navi whimpered, Chief bellowed and howled with grief.
Flyer’s cremains were shared in several different places in Ohio and Indiana. Her collar, like the collars of beloved pets no longer with us, hangs on the tree each Christmas in lieu of a star. My pets are the real stars of The Haasienda.
It’s been eight years since she passed and I still very much miss Flyer. She was just the best girl. In some ways, Erma seems to be an extension of Flyer, always attentive, playful, intelligent, and loving.