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Thursday, October 08, 2015

Miss Nancy Pants Simmons, The Dog Who Didn't Wear Pants

Spring 2007 - October 4, 2015

She chose us in the fall of 2007. We had been in Emporia just over a year and the hubby came back in the house just after leaving from work one morning. "There's a pup on the front step. You should call the pound."

He said later that he never expected me to call the pound, of course. She was thin and sick. I took her to the vet who said he'd give her everything he had for parasites, and if she was still alive the following week, we should bring her back in for her puppy vaccinations.

Thus began our life with Nancy (named after Nancy Drew, of course) the German Shepherd who probably would have been better suited to life on a sheep farm, but instead became a member of our family. Though many never saw her best side, she grew sweet and lovable, and was the best rug a cold foot could ask for on a winter's day.

It's almost hard to remember the days we struggled with her health's up and downs, those chewing-up-things days of puppy-hood, the stuffed animals she would carry around and sleep with until one day we'd find them with all their stuffing removed. We figured out her quirks, however, her food sensitivities and that her anxieties were diminished when she could count her people and know they we were all corralled for the night. 

She count us constantly with a nose-nudge. She'd circle the room and if everyone was in place, she'd relax in the middle of the floor, happy and content. Should a kid be missing, however, gone for a night at a friend's house or such, she'd circle the room again and again and pester me. Once I understood that she was simply trying to alert me to the fact that someone was missing, we got along better. Maybe I learned to reassure her. Maybe she learned, after some time, that they did come back eventually. Family always does.

Nancy was a very smart dog, smarter than we usually gave her credit for. We often praised her for her beauty, rarely for her brains. But we loved her and she loved us back in that way that only dogs do. Even when we were exasperated with her. Even when I lamented at all the hair she left on the floor. 

In the last couple of years, we've commented often at how calm our pup has grown. At 8 and a half years old, we figured she was entering her golden years. She'd become--finally--a delight to take on walks. Every morning she'd make the trek with hubby and I, sometimes with a kid or two, as well. She actually smiled when she saw us crawl out of bed at o'dark-thirty. She waited patiently by the door for us to get ourselves in gear to go.

Our Miss Nancy fell asleep by the door one last time on Sunday evening. It was a shock. I have been mentally preparing myself for the demise of my little dog (age 18 in people years). I knew Nancy wouldn't enjoy quite such longevity, but I didn't imagine the end coming so soon.

I've spent four days now listening for the click-clack of the toenails across our linoleum floor. It's strangely quiet in our house. When I close my eyes at night, though, I still hear her. The contented sigh as she drops to the floor at the foot of our bed. The midnight wandering when she changes sleeping locations or worse, gets one of us up for a bathroom break. There's a hole here, a lack of presence that is loud and still a bit startling. There are Nancy claw marks on the bathroom door, the bedroom door. She was never a dog who needed help getting in or out of a room. And when I fixed breakfast this morning, a stray Nancy hair drifted through my field of vision, landing on the black stove top.

I wonder how long before there comes a day when her absence is not noticed.


Nancy stories...

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