Tribute to a Little Friend

She lived up to her name every day

Happy ...

Text Box: My earliest memory of Happy is one of motion and joy. Happy was hard to get a fix on right away, because she was always moving. But I remember a little honey-colored blur in my Grandma’s back yard. Zoom she went across the patio, out past the clothesline, where she had a secret Happy place behind the garden shed. 
She was Grandma’s dog at first, a gift from a neighbor who knew of a little dog who needed a home. That he managed to show up with the perfect dog must have been God’s idea. Nothing else accounts for it. And Grandma loved her Little Happy, who laid beside her chair through long dark stormy nights. 
Her original name had been Sheeta—Grandma saw that it needed changing, to Happy. 
Happy was an escape artist from the very first, darting out and running like the wind through the neighborhood. She made an adventure of it every time, being rescued by neighbors and strangers, tracked down in back yards and chased down on foot if she decided to give up. I’m saying the little dog could run!

Happy with Grandma, 1998

Text Box: My parents adopted Happy in 2002 and she came to live with them. If you were to ask Happy how she felt for the first few weeks, she might say, “I dunno. I guess fur me I was a widdle bit nerbus. I sleeped under da bed sumtimes.” Happy wasn’t strong on spelling.
Soon she came around, stopped hiding altogether, and got to know her new home. She saw that she was loved. Of course, she knew all of us anyway, but she wanted to be clear about who was in charge. 
She got along fine with my sheltie, Tasha. They were like siblings in the best sense; never any discontent. They were even the same colors, honey and white. 
Text Box: I remember one escape in 2002, when drove to The San Joaquin Valley in hopes of helping to find her. We sat into the evening, Grandma and I, praying for the phone to ring. It finally did. Happy had been found and taken in by a family a mile away, and they spoke mostly Tagalog. But there was a young girl there who spoke English, and I went to their home. I’ll never forget they had her in their back yard, which we reached by a door in their garage. When I opened the door, there was Happy and she popped through the opening into my hands. I think that night was the first time she rode in my pickup truck, but it was far from the last.
Text Box: After Tasha went to the Rainbow Bridge, Happy stepped right up to be my pal and to fill the lonely void. She was ready to be our alpha dog. We went for walks in the park and rides in the pickup truck. She came to my condo for visits, to keep me company through long dark stormy nights, just like she had been there for Grandma. What more can we ask from our little friends than to keep us from being too lonesome in the world? 

In the fall of 2005, Happy had her first health concern. We were walking through the park one afternoon, when she grabbed a piece of chicken that someone had dropped. I couldn’t get it away from her fast enough, and a bone became lodged in her throat. That night, she had surgery and we learned that Happy had a problem with her heart. A murmur, they said, an enlarged heart, and a collapsing trachea. 

In May 2006, Happy started to faint during walks. Congestive heart failure, they said; since then, she’s been on heart medicine. A raft of pills each morning, evening, afternoon. And she did very well. She had good doctors, and her family took good care of her. 

So Happy did great until April 2009, when she became weak and was diagnosed with renal insufficiency. Kidney disease, which progressed through May and June despite all our efforts— acupuncture and herbs, fluid treatments — lead to where we are today. 

Happy, who came to us by chance and kindness, and loved us through our losses; who might have been named Consolation except that Grandma saw how brightly this little one lived and had a better name in mind, has gone to the freedom that all good dogs deserve. She was beautiful and fun loving, sweet and good. 

She was a member of our family, bona fide and true. Even the veterinarian said, on the day before we let our Happy go, that “she might keep rallying for a while, because she loves you and she’s loyal.” What greater loyalty is there than an old, sick dog who wants to stay? And what greater kindness is there than a human who says Go, Be Free? 

A favorite Happy memory for me will always be the way she led me to her leash. She would walk toward the front hallway, looking back to make sure I was following, then stop and look up to where her leash and harness hung with hats and jackets on a peg. And bark, or say chuff. If I got ahead of her and passed it by, she’d nip at the leg of my pants to try to make me stop, or poke me with her nose. She growled at the leash while I was putting it on, bit and chewed it in her excitement, then grabbed the leash and started pulling for the door. 

Happy was a dog who brought us happy times, who brightened every corner of our lives. We were blessed to have her in our family. We are very sad, but will not forget her smile, her love, her life-embracing joy. 
Text Box: Happy’s Favorite Things

Her leash and harness: she liked to grab the leash and bite it and growl while you were putting it on, especially when she heard the clasp on the harness go snap. 

Her bed, with the pretty blankie that my cousin made for her. 

Her cookies: Trader Joe’s peanut butter dog snacks. She would raise her paw and wave it or shake hands for her cookies. She always got three of these for her snack, and you better believe she could count. 

Barking for treats, at anyone and everyone who stood in the kitchen. 

Liverwurst or cheese to take her pills. 

Long, happy drinks of water. 

Rides in the car or pickup, going anywhere, anytime, any distance. She liked to jump on a center console and ride standing up for a better view.

Click for more Happy photos

Text Box: Dog Song

My song begins at sundown
when the twilight wind comes up.
A cold wind, brushing 
my hair and my tail.

Butterfly light is shining.
Butterflies lift me at nightfall, 
and nothing hurts me now.
Look, the light is brighter than ...

See the little dogs come running!
See the bigger dogs come running!
See the kitties and dogs come together, 
and all the animals singing. 

~ Tasha Kimberlin

Adopted 1997 (Born 1994?)

Rainbow Bridge, July 8, 2009