I’ll never forget the day my God daughter showed up on my door step holding a big black dirty gym bag across her shoulders saying, “Hi, Auntie, I got a surprise for you! “; little did I know this day would soon become an event we’d each retell throughout the years.
As I welcomed my niece inside, she quickly flopped this bag onto my kitchen table, carefully unzipping it to reveal its contents of what looked like a large fluffy balled up blanket (you know the ones that comes with the matching pillow built in and all rolled up into one) Well, as my son and I moved towards the kitchen table for a closer look, we noticed that this large fluffy black ball was not a blanket-pillow thingy at all, but a real live dog. Oh no! My heart immediately began to sink and the look on my sons face went from sheer excitement and enthusiasm and sudden sadness.Order now
You see, it was not too long ago that we lost our dearly loved Snow. Snow was our Maltese terrier. She was my eldest son’s first pet, which was also given to us as a gift. Until one day, incidentally, while out for a walk with my son, she was stolen. My son was only eight years old at the time; and for him, the loss of Snow was very traumatic and still very fresh in his mind, that the thought of replacing his Snow with another dog was unthinkable. While we all missed Snow very much, and missed having a pet in the house, the idea of getting another one never came up.
Yet here we are today with this tiny, big brown- eyed, fluffy mound of cuteness sitting on our kitchen table. And from what my God daughter explains, is in need of a home. Ok, right now I’m thinking “I’m the adult here; and as you can imagine, this entire scene has caught me completely off guard. At this point, I’m feeling completely uncomfortable and annoyed towards my God daughter for putting me in such awkward position. And even though having another pet in the home would have filed the obvious void that Snows absence has left, I am honestly not ready to deal with nuisances that having a new pet can bring.
Before I could get another word out of my mouth, my son and my daughter quickly swoops in and grabs this fluffy goodness into their arms, swarming around me, begging if they could keep her. Well of course seeing this very outward display of affection and emotion from my kids, especially that of my son absolutely melts my heart and any resistance I had to argue against the idea has completely shattered. Right then and there, the obvious choice to keep her was already made; and from that day we adopted a new family member, whom because of her regal appearance, we all decided to call “Cleopatra.
Over the next few years, ten to be exact, Cleopatra, whom we affectionately call Cleo, has definitely proven to be the “Queen” in the family. She quickly made it known who was boss. Everyone loved her; family friends, neighbors as well as strangers. Everywhere we went, she went; and if you didn’t see her, you knew she was not too far behind. New to the family, Cleo went everywhere and always knew how to behave and have a good time. Most weekends the kids and I would try to find something to do that included Cleo so that she would not be left home alone.
She’d often accompany us to zoos, church picnics; back yard Bar-B-Q’s as well as the occasional walk to the local supermarket. The neighborhood we live in has plenty of parks for her to run around in, dig up holes, lay in the grass or just sleep, which she often did. Cleo’s easy going and fun-lovin’ demeanor made it comfortable for anyone to be around her. I can recall a time where she laid quietly and let my little nieces actually put pigtails in her hair and on her entire body; including her ears and tail.
What a silly sight, but as “queen” Cleo took it all in stride. The absolute best thing about having a dog like Cleo (in an apartment without a yard), she knew exactly when she had to “go” and had no problem letting you know when it was time to “go”. My girl not only brought her leash to you, she would knock on the front door barking until you got up to take her out. We could never really figure it out, but Cleo made it clear to us that going out to take care of her business, was also her time to meet and make new friends.
Yes, Cleo was very friendly and the whole neighborhood knew it. Sometimes she would walk us specifically towards our neighbor’s yard. On a few occasions either before work or in the evening afterwards, during her walks she would wiggle her now large and fluffy body out of her leash and make her way into one of our neighbors yard, where I would then have to beg, plead, whine and cry to pry her back home only to have her run right back to the neighbors yard the very next day.
Even though we lived in apartment with plenty of space to roam, Cleo always wanted to be outside, such is the case that whenever she heard the front door open, she’d dart straight out into the hallway; and if you weren’t paying attention, in a flash she’d be out the door quickly making her way down the three flights of stairs, around the corner and up the block! Before you can figure out how, when or what happened, you’re quickly engaging her in a long winded chase.
For the next few minutes what seems like hours, you would be either running, threatening, cussing and screaming out to her to stop. I swear this dog was too fast and slick for her own good. Then it occurred to me this was actually a game for her. I’m convinced she got sheer pleasure out of watching us chase her. Sometimes, she’d even have the audacity to let you actually catch up to her; at which point she’d look at you and scurry off again.
Frustrated and annoyed you take off after her yet again for another tiresome chase. Neither of us (the kids or I) found this game amusing, in fact after a while we figured once we stopped chasing, she’d eventually give up and came back home. While chasing after Cleo wasn’t exactly my idea of a goodtime; truth is, she actually helped me shed some unwanted pounds and stay in shape-back then anyway. Today, I preferred her late night company, with her sprawled across the foot of my bed keeping my feet warm.
No matter which role she’s comfortable in; guard dog, best friend, feet warmer, fitness guru or neighborhood watch, my girl Cleo is definitely one of a kind and the Queen of her throne. And after two liters of puppies, mounds of green grass and dirt holes dug up, a dozen or so picnic scraps, endless cheesy puffs and doggy treats later, we discovered our dearly beloved Cleo was silently suffering from ovarian cancer.
Not long afterwards, we gave her a final run in the park, where she was laid to rest to become a part of the beauty that will forever sprout up and bring new life for others to bask in and enjoy. Since Cleo’s passing, my family and I have rescued and adopted 3 more dogs, who have each brought us a ton of love, furry fond memories and more one on one chases down the block, and for that we would not have it any other way.