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Wow, 14 years have gone by since the death of my dog Billie.  Yes, I had a dog, in fact I had three dogs:  Billie, Ciara and Bo.

Ciara was a mix of German Shepherd and I believe Great Dane.  Bo or Hobo Dog was probably Collie and German Shepherd.  They both died well before Billie.  Along with those three dogs were about 4 cats at that time:  Sammy, Nikki, and later Minx and Puffer.  They are all gone now.

Grief is a funny thing for it can hang on for years.  They say it takes about 2 years to go through the grieving process after loosing a significant person in your life or pet.  Sometimes a lot longer.  Billie was like that for it took me a really long time to get over his loss….well actually I still grieve.  I can sometime feel him – still.  For help in healing go to this website called Rainbow Bridge:   http://rainbowsbridge.com/poem.htm  I like to write about each pet that has come into my life and passed on.  It helps me to grieve and I was reading it over and realized that I had not written about Billie till 3 years after his death and I was still hurting.

Billie passed on May 10, 1999 of Cushing disease,  it is usually associated with horses. The medicine was very expensive but my vet was kind and gave it to me at cost.  Billie was with me from 1986 to 1999 a good and happy 13 years.


Now what did he look like or what breed was he?  Well, I think he was a mutt.  He reminded me of the famous dog “Benjii” but he had floppy ears. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benji

Billie helping me in the backyard of our new home

Billie helping me in the backyard of our new home.  He would dig up the tulips as I planted them!

I was living on south Beacon Hill, Seattle, when he came into the backyard of the rental house and headed for the blackberry bushes.  It was about October of 1986.  If he had gone inside them and taken the Raccoon paths he would not come out.  It is the greenbelt between I-5 and Beacon Hill that he was headed into.  I started talking to him and coaxed him into the garage.  He went over to the cushion I had from a Rattan chair and flopped down with a big sigh.  I took him to the vet in the area who pronounced him about a year old which surprised me because I thought he was much older for he had gray hair.  He had a bit of an intestinal issue from eating things he shouldn’t have.  He must have been on his own for a good two weeks.   It is difficult to say how he ended up that way.  He either wandered too far or was abandoned.

I had to go to work so I put him back in the garage and closed the pocket door to the kitchen leaving a little room for the cats to wiggle in and out.  I left and was gone all day till about 6 pm.  When I got home…HE WAS GONE!

He had pushed the pocket door to the kitchen open and climbed onto the dining room chair and went through the window that I had open for my cats.  I figured that was that! So the next day I left the garage door up about a foot so if he decided to come back he would.  Just as I was about to leave I heard some crying and scratching.  He had returned and crawled under the garage door.

Well you can imagine what I did this time.  I closed the garage door and the kitchen door completely so he couldn’t get out. From that day forward he was by my side till his death.

Billie loved the beach but not the salt water

Billie loved the beach but not the salt water

I was not used to a dog and Billie’s exuberance was hard to deal with.  It took me a good six months to adjust to dog behavior after being a cat person for so long.  He would be enthusiastic about everything and jump up on me when I came home.  POW!  BAM!  He was little but he was strong.   One day I came home and there was Kleenex all over the living room. He certainly had fun that day.   When I started looking for houses I took him with me.  It was not a good idea, for he barked, cried and even threw up.  So I went alone the next times.  Now that I think about it, he was a pushy little dog! HA!

The landlord of the rental house was tolerant of my many cats:  White Kitty, Nikkie, Breezy, Sammy, and Cinamon, but he was unwilling to let me keep a dog.  Fortunately, I was able to buy a house and so all of us moved north to the area I was more familiar with and near where I grew up.

First, I carefully took each cat and placed them into the car.  I put two of the most difficult ones in cat carriers.   White Kitty was determined to be on my lap between me and the steering wheel.  It was not safe but he insisted.  One of the others tried to sandwich itself under the seat. I think it was Breezy. The others just tolerated the drive to our new home hollering all the way. MEOW MEOW!!!  I drove very carefully with my 5 cats up the I-5 freeway past Northgate shopping center.  It was a good 20-30 minute drive with this precious cargo of mine.

I went back to get Billie.  He was ready and willing.  He sat in the passenger seat and I piled more of my stuff in the trunk and backseat.  That night Billie, the 5 cats and I spent the night on the living room rug of our new  home. It was February 1987.  I had a sleeping bag and laid on the rug and they gathered around me close.   For some reason, I think they all understood the move and adjusted real well.  They stayed in the back bedroom when we did the BIG move to the new home the next day.

Good Friends

Good Friends, Billie and Ciara

The new home had a fenced backyard.  I installed a pet door in the back door because it would have been a lot to be getting up and opening and closing the door for one dog and 5 cats.  It worked great till Ciara came to live with us.  I had to upgrade to a larger dog door for she was big.  Bo was also a large dog so it turned out to be a good thing.  My neighbor gave me his wooden picket fence when he put in chain link.  I installed it in the front yard so I could keep Billie and Ciara from terrorizing the neighborhood.  I am kidding a little.  They were just having fun.

He was JOY!

He was JOY! Reminds me of Rocky’s Theme!

The first year in our new home I lost White Kitty, Cinnamon and then Breezy to heart disease, old age and cancer.  So that left me with Billie, Nikki and Sammy.  Ciara joined us and a little later Bo..  Billie liked the big girl dogs so he would bring them home and wrestle with them.  He ran up to Bo and I thought it was not safe but she greeted him and it was a matter of time till she moved in as well.  It was sort of funny.  This very short dog with a very BIG dog wrestling.

Ciara and Billie in the front yard.  One of my favorite pictures of them.

Ciara and Billie in the front yard. One of my favorite pictures of them.

I bought a Jayco tent trailer and we started going camping on the western side of the Cascades because my car was not really a truck.  We had to stay on the flat roads for it to haul it.  Both Ciara and Billie would run ahead of me on the trails, wiggle in the sand on the beach.  Ciara loved the water, would drink most of it and chase the waves.  Billie like the dunes.

Bilie and Ciara & the trailer

Billie and Ciara & the trailer

During the 13 years we were together Billie and I were only parted for 5 days when I went to Disneyland.  I was told by my neighbor that he could hear him HOWLING!

Me and Billie 1998 a year before his death.  He was so good that day getting his picture taken

Me and Billie 1998 a year before his death. He was so good that day getting his picture taken

If I was to give any advice about a dog or a cat, I would tell you to give it love and hug it and hold it and play with it for they just don’t last that long.

So go now and hug your dog or cat!

Find this post showing the pictures of my other animals in the Archive on the right of this blog:  Looking Back to Past Furry Friends, March 2011.

This message approved by Sneakers and Ebony who knew dogs in their life before me!