Her name was Rosie.
I usually called her Little Dog, or Wombat, because she was just so cute. My dad usually called her Woofie. She answered to all of these pet names.
Her favorite trick was to bring me a piece of paper or anything else that she found on the floor, and bring it to me for trade. You could point to something and say “Pick it up” and she’d rush to get it. If you dropped a pen, she’d rush to get it, and then put it gently in your hand. Trade it in for a dog cookie, or ‘bisky’ .
She was an accommodating little dog. If you wanted to sleep in for just five more minutes, she was fine with that, she’d snooze patiently until you were good and ready to start the day. When the moment arrived, however, she was on her feet in a flash, wagging her tail, nose at the door, big smile on her face as she waited for you to get up and start the routine.
The routine was to let the cat on the porch, and then Rosie would follow, and then me. It was always the cat first, even if you had to wait for her at the open door. (we knew who was boss) Then came walkies, and then breakfast. Rosie would finish first and stand at the glass sliding door and watch the cat eat. You could tell when the cat was done, the excitement would build and build and then yay! The cat was finished, and Rosie was let out to swoop onto the leftovers. That dog loved cat food. (Sometimes I would give her a whole can on top of her dog food, just because she liked it.)
I think she was probably part bird-dog or pointer. She would focus on what she wanted and stare and stare. She had such eyes, so dark and intense. Sometimes she would be staring like that at your dinner, and you would feel warm breath at your elbow. She wasn’t pushy about it, she would just gaze, and it was very effective. If one of our pet birds got onto the floor she would run over to it and point at it with her nose, so careful and so gentle, just to let you know it was there.
It was hard to keep your lips off Rosie. She was so cute you just wanted to kiss her all the time. She had a quiet reservation about affection though, the best time to catch her was when she was waiting to be let in the glass sliding door, then you could dip down and give her a quick hug and a kiss on the snout. She wasn’t a licker, but sometimes you would be giving her a kiss and her little tongue would dart out and catch you on the nose.
In later times, she mostly slept on the floor, but she used to spend some time on the bed with me. She’d nap on the foot of the bed, with her nose in the left corner, her back pressed along the soles of my feet. Every once in a while she’d heave a sigh, and ripple like a caterpillar against my feet.
She was timid but brave at the same time. Cautious, I guess, is the word. But whatever I wanted to do, she was game. If I asked her to get in the car, she’d bound on in. If I wanted to walk down the street, she was ready to go. She trusted me, and I was honored by that, because it wasn’t something she gave lightly or often.
She loved to stand in the kitchen doorway and watch me prepare meals, but somehow she always knew if I was handling dog-approved food or not . If I was making vegetables or something, she’d stay in the living room, but as soon as I picked up cheese or lunchmeat, she would appear, and I always gave her something. She wouldn’t get underfoot, either, she would stand at the doorway where the carpet met the linoleum and wait. If you dropped something, she would venture in to get it. If it was edible, she’d eat it, considering it fair game, if it wasn’t, she would return it to you for trade. She was very handy, if you dropped something and couldn’t find it on the patterned floor ,she would come in, find it, and point at it for you. Sometimes we would do a little cha-cha in the kitchen, back and forth.
I feel like I never really had to teach her anything, she just knew. I could go to the store and not worry, I knew exactly what she was doing, which was napping until I got home.
Her favorite toys were paper of any kind, which she enjoyed shredding into confetti, and squeaker toys. She loved the squeaker toys. She would stand next to you and squeak the toy in her mouth and if you looked over and said something she would squeak the toy like she was replying to you. This was always an easy cookie, it was so funny. We also used to give her some of the junk mail, the plain paper pieces, which became known as “Woofie Mail”, she liked to take it from your hand and trot off with it.
She could sit up on her back feet if she wanted a cookie. For a big dog, this was pretty impressive, she would balance very delicately and could stay there quite a while. If she still needed to get your attention she would raise her front paws up in the air or reach out with one and delicately tag your hand.
She was a quiet dog. Not a barker. If there was someone at the door, she’d let you know by pacing around and making funny little huffing noises. The only time she barked was for joy when my Dad came home, and then all of a sudden this quiet little dog would start booming out these amazingly loud barks. If you were outside you would think she was a Rottweiler.
I remember the sound of her nails clicking on linoleum. I remember that she always backed out of the kitchen. I remember she was good in the car. I remember the cool, sweet spot just on the top of her nose where the fur started. I remember the smell of the soft fur on the back of her ears. I remember the color of her coat in the sunshine. I named her Rosie because of that color. Because she surprised me by being a girl, and therefore needed the most feminine of names. Because she needed the most beautiful of names. She was a beautiful dog, my Rosie.