In memory of Rosie, BIMBS RBIMBS Am Ch GRCH Dalwhinnie Lady Primrose, loved by Laura Frizzell for 17 years
It doesn’t matter how much or how little time we have with our dogs, it is simply never enough.
I have pressed pen to paper half a dozen times trying to find the words to express my feelings of grief and loss as well as joy and love. There have been periods of tears and quiet reflection. In all honestly, I had taken the time to say my goodbyes and wish her a safe and peaceful crossing when the time came. I have had time to prepare and have been preparing myself for quite a while and yet, I find myself completely and entirely unready to face the reality that the dearest of friend’s heart is broken and there is a new bright star in the sky.
I understand that there are many people who do not understand how some of us grieve the loss of dogs that aren’t even ours. It is, however, a very real thing. And today I find myself not simply grieving the loss of a special dog but grieving for an amazing friend who I know is hurting beyond measure, so I will share this…
I still remember the very first time I saw Rosie. I had only recently begun working with Laura to find the ideal terrier for me and it seemed likely that one of Rosie’s brother’s might just be the fit. This was back when photos still largely came by post. Physical glossy images of puppies in a kitchen with a hand scrawled note on the back: “The girl is mine, but look at the boy.” And she was Laura’s, but let me tell you, all those things I said about wanting a tan and white smooth coated boy nearly went out the window when I saw her. She was special even then. Even in photos, you could feel her presence: quiet and regal. Rosie was a lovely puppy who grew into an even more lovely adult. She set the standard for Laura and therefore for me.
My own puppy wasn’t in Rosie’s litter and when Laura selected the handsome tan and white broken coated super star to be, the infamous and in my heart legendary Kendrik, there was but one stipulation in my taking him: He would someday be bred to Rosie and I would take their daughter. This wasn’t optional. This was the way it would be. Most people today would shrink away from such arrangements and agreements. It’s too much to deal with. Too many rules and expectations. The thing is that with Laura and I, it was never an obligation or a restriction, it was always part of a bigger picture. She was my mentor and later a very dear friend and I had complete faith and trust in her judgement. You all know that puppy. Her name is Emma.
The advantage of having a mentor is that mentors often turn into the very best kind of friends. They become family, partners in crime and even when you feel you are all grown up and can handle this all your own, you know you have someone far wiser and with far more experience than you to ask a simple question like, “Have you ever seen…?” More importantly, you know you will get an honest answer. I have been so fortunate to enjoy an amazing friendship and partnership with Laura and as a result, I have been afforded a luxury many never have and sadly, for those seeking to breed dogs, they often do not have the patience or interest to seek such an opportunity. That is, I have had the opportunity to personally know, play, live and work with so many of the dogs behind my own.
It goes without saying that I would have had to pry Rosie out of Laura’s cold dead hands to take her adventuring with me, but fortunately for me, I knew better than to try. As an alternative, I begged and pleaded for her half-sister, Penelope. I wanted a Phoebe daughter like Rosie all to myself, but those daughters were few and far between and certainly rarely if ever left Dalwhinnie Farm. I BEGGED AND PLEADED. I am still not sure if Laura relented just to get me to stop or because she knew it would save her own sanity to send me THAT puppy. In either case, we still joke that one should always be careful what one wishes for. Penelope could not have been more different than Rosie in disposition. Sure, they share Phoebe’s characteristic shoulder spot but that is really where the comparison ends. Where Rosie was a lady, serene and gentle, Penelope was a ditch digging, sailor swearing beast. Where Rosie was elegant and refined, Penelope was categorized as…intense. So very intense. I loved Penelope even more for it and thankfully, I had Rosie’s daughter Emma for sanity.
I have always felt profoundly fortunate for the time Laura has allowed me to spend so much time with her dogs. I don’t mean on a visit here or there, I mean share my home, my life and my adventures with so many of them. Laura and I have even shared adventures with our dogs together, going here and there to this event and that, affording me time to enjoy Rosie’s company throughout her very long life.
I still remember a trip to California when both Rosie and Kendrik were youngsters. Kendrik laid in wait for Rosie in the front yard and when at last she trotted by, leapt out in front of her, spinning and dancing like the doofus he was. Rosie leapt sky high only to land with grace and dignity, staring down her nose at him with an expression that clearly said, “You sir, are a rude little brute. Off with you.” Kendrik was undeterred. She was not impressed.
And then well into her senior years, when she took off down a steep hill after a red fox, sending me climbing through hot wire in flip flops to catch her, calling her in my happiest high-pitched voice as she slowly trotted between horses farther down after that fox. I had always had the vision of Rosie in my head of this pristine, almost royal presence. She never set a paw out of place and was always a perfect lady just like her daughter Emma, until that day when she embodied every ounce of terrier naughtiness of her mother Phoebe and her half sister Penelope.
Most recently, however, I spent time just sitting on the porch, arranging her shade, sharing special snacks and tending to the other simple enjoyments of an old dog’s life rapidly coming to a close. I am also eternally grateful that Laura was willing to take on some punk kid with big dreams and a small apartment. And this is really why my heart hurts so much today. Rosie was an old soul who lead a long and happy life knowing she was loved beyond measure. I know that she left us with peace and dignity. I know in my heart she was ready for her next adventure and I am even more certain that Kendrik was hiding on the other side of the bridge, set to spring out at her upon her arrival. I warned her about this before I left in May so that this time, she might have a head start on him.
Although my heart always grieves the loss of their physical presence beside us, my grief today is for a very dear friend who has lost a piece of her heart that can never be filled or replaced. I am deeply grateful for Chuck’s presence and love because a hug cannot be felt from 2,500 miles away. To Laura, I am just so very sorry. There is nothing I can say to ease a broken heart except that I love you. We all love you. And I am so very grateful for all that you have shared and continue to share with me. Dogspeed, dear Rosie.