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.
February 20, 2011, my fourth son, Quintin, and I, along with Flyer, who’d recently lost her sight due to a ferocious, near deadly bout of pancreatitis, were winding our way through the eastern central countryside of Indiana after spending the weekend with Mother and attending my third son’s indoor percussion competition in Indianapolis.
We turned the corner, somewhere near Monroe Central High School and there it was… a huge plywood board with a very sloppily painted, “Free Puppies.”
I slowed down but then sped up to move on. Less than 100 yards I stopped the car. Quintin asked, “You gonna do it?”
I knocked on the door and an interesting gentleman in a white tank top, pants, eating a stuffed sandwich with various ingredients sliding out and onto the floor. I mentioned I was there to check out the puppies. With a full mouth of food, he yelled for his daughter who escorted us to the large barn.
We carefully, near dangerously made our way back to the stall where a beautiful black lad female was surrounded by seven or eight 10-week old puppies. They were mostly black with a bit of white, here and there. Two puppies were completely white.
Quintin asked, “Are we getting one?”
“Pick out which one you want for the family.”
Quintin selected a male dog that was adorable. He would later be known as Chief. I looked down at all the puppies who were clamoring over one another to get closer to us. I saw this very tiny runt being trampled.
“Can you please hand her to me,” I ordered the young teenager. The girl handed me this tiny little girl and I cuddled her.
I never set her back down. We left with both puppies.
Back in the car, a blind Flyer was a bit startled when she discovered there were two lively creatures wanting to play with her. Flyer immediately barged to the front seat and settled on the floor beside Quintin’s legs.
The girl puppy was timid and sweet and preferred to rest in Quintin’s lap during the ride home.
The girl puppy was named Navi, in honor of Quintin’s Navajo heritage. Navi was fairly petite but animated, making great strides to keep up with her brother, Chief.
Her tiny frame bounced as she moved about the house. While Chief could barely manage the steps, Navi was to be carried. Eventually, I had to point out to my very attentive teenage sons that Navi could manage steps; she was simply basking in being a princess.
Navi was the comedienne to a rather stoic Chief. Navi would scoot beneath a blanket, rise, and walk around like a ghost, often chasing Chief with the blanket draped over her head.
Navi and Chief were the best of pals, often snuggling with one another and very attentive to Flyer. When they took naps, they were either divided up on either side of Flyer, or snuggled around her in what almost seemed to be a protective circle.
July 2013, Flyer’s health took a huge dive. Navi and Chief were constantly at her side, their bodies pressed against Flyer for comfort and reassurance. After Flyer died, the siblings wore a sad pall for a few weeks and often sniffed Flyer’s collar which was draped over a door knob.
Five months later, while my son, Josh, and I were unloading items from the van, Navi and Chief both escaped the front porch and took off to the high school next door. I began the chase while Joshua went to retrieve leashes.
I saw one of the dogs run across Shroyer Road. In the northbound lane, I saw a black figure run in front of a van and heard two thumps. Until I got to the figure, I had no idea which dog had been hit.
It was Navi.
Joshua safely retrieved Chief and I carried Navi’s limp body back across the street. One guy saw what happened and stopped to assist. Once on the front porch, Navi revived and was somewhat animated. The three of us examined her and couldn’t locate any cuts, gashes, or signs of being injured except for a skin burn under her one arm.
A veterinarian friend suggested I take her to the emergency vet in nearby Moraine. Navi was checked in and seemed to be doing very well, walking on her own, wiggling, and licking both Joshua and myself.
“I’m sorry, but the X-rays are not good. She has a perforated lung and her stomach is practically shredded. Even with surgery there’s no assurance she will survive.”
It was quickly decided that we needed to prep Navi for Rainbow Bridge. I returned home to bring Chief back so he could say “goodbye.”
The door opened and Navi walked in, very excited to see us. I immediately slammed against the wall of denial: she looked fine! How could I do this?
I laid on the floor and held her. Chief laid beside her. About fifteen minutes later, her breathing became labored. It was obvious she was suffering. Joshua opened the door to alert the vet that we were ready.
I held Navi.
The vet administered the solution.
Navi kept kissing my cheek, showing her devotion and love to the very end.
The kisses slowed down, weakened, until they came no more. Navi laid her head on my shoulder and went into her eternal rest.
When we left the room, those gathered in the waiting room saw there was an empty color and gasped. One lady came up to me, smiled, and patted my arm.
We stepped outside in the unseasonably warm December 21st night. A thunderstorm began. I sat down on the walkway’s curb and sobbed, holding Chief close to me. Josh went for the van as the heavy rain poured down on Chief and me.
The rain stopped. I looked up to find one of the men from the waiting room, standing above me, holding his umbrella over me while he accepted the downpour in my place.
For the next four days, Chief and I remained upstairs in bed. He was miserable. I was miserable. Christmas night, our world changed when I returned from Lasourdesville Road carrying two sister-puppies.
Navi was only three years old and I had only two years and ten months with her. She was cute and humorous, a different dog. She loved to snuggle with me and I often found her sleeping on my pillow, breathing right in my face.
I miss her breath.
Ironically, the two sisters I brought home Christmas night were junior mirrors of the two beautiful females that preceded them. Navi and Bailey are my wigglers and runts, my snuggle buddies, my “lots of kissers,” and the babies.
I still miss and love my Navi.