Friday, October 5, 2012

Brown Dog

She came tumbling out of a box of six small puppies on the front lawn of Campground Methodist Church in Fayetteville, NC. Some blond, some black, and one feisty brown and red.  She couldn't have been more than 4 pounds of fluff. Her owner said she was almost 6 weeks old, a mix between and long-haired Dachshund and a Pomeranian. They named her "Juliette" but we called her Camy. An acronym of sorts for my children Chas, Andrew, Margie. (The 'y' came later since all names seem cuter with a 'y' at the end.) For some reason, Bill always called her "Brown Dog".

We brought  Camy home and she quickly won us all over...except maybe our black lab, Tinley, who was not quite sure what to make of this ball of energy. Camy ruled the roost. I think she firmly believed she was also a black lab and acted accordingly. Chasing much larger neighborhood dogs and other creatures, she was fearless. She was also full of joy. She loved the woods, the ocean (she was a great swimmer) and kept up with her much larger companion with out a misstep.  She always seemed thoroughly  mortified if anyone picked her up. She would get this look on her sweet face that said "You know I'm a black lab, right?"  We even started to tell everyone that's what she was!
She loved to swim
Always looking for the next adventure
She was a great traveler, as all Army Brats are.  We moved with Camy and Tinley to Newport, RI then to Vicenza, Italy and next to Stuttgart, Germany.  We lost Tinley in Germany. She went down quickly which I guess was a blessing. We mourned for her...all of us, including Camy, who seemed to looked for her everywhere.  
When we moved back to NC Camy was 10 years old. Her little face starting to gray but mind and body still behaving like a puppy. She would run for golf balls, leap after squirrels, bark at the doorbell, and welcome anyone into the house with unconditional love. 
The children went to college, Bill deployed, and she was my constant companion. She would jump happily into my Mini Cooper and we would take off to visit friends and family.
In February of 2012 she turned 14 and I could tell her hearing wasn't as sharp but her spirit was going strong. Bill  deployed again and I was grateful to have this pup here at Quarters One.  She was a small dog but she had enough energy to fill up  9,000 square feet of old house.
Ever watchful on the porch at Quarters One
For Camy, the end came quickly, too. Our veterinarian, Dr. Casey Thomas, was caring and kind.  To be alone and have to make the decision to let my old girl go was the hardest, and saddest, decision of my life. The final day of summer I said good-bye.
 I miss her boundless joy and her happiness for just being alive. I miss her companionship and devotion. I spent more time with Camy in the past 14 years than I have with my husband. I literally walk around  Quarters One crying shoulder shaking sobs. My heart is broken and my soul is bruised. Her bed sits empty, I can't bear to move it since it still has the imprint of her little body the last time she lay there. Her ashes are tucked safely in a small box and someday, when we go home, we'll free them unto the places she loved the most.
I  swear the night I brought them home I heard the tip tapping of her little paws on our hardwood floors, ever so briefly, just to say goodbye before she ran off after a new adventure.
My sweet friend, I will always miss you I feel blessed to have loved and been loved by you

Thank you to my amazing group of neighbors, friends and family who understand what it means to lose a pet who is so dear to your heart...I sincerely thank you for your support.
'Til Next Time...Duty First


  1. Shand, I'm sorry for your loss. Our pets are cherished members of our families and it's so hard when we lose them. We lost our golden on Christmas Day (2009) when we were at Bragg and just recently adopted a new dog from the local golden retriever rescue. The kids wondered why I waited so long, but it takes time to mourn. Hang in there!

  2. Thank you, Christy! I'm so glad you were able get another furry friend. My friend sent me this quote by Roger Caras "Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole." So true!!
    Shand :)

  3. I am so sorry for the loss of your sweet family member, we lost our rowdy Roo on May 1st last year and it happened so quickly that we never really got a chance to say good-bye. Doc Thomas has been our Family Vet since we married and welcomed us back everytime we PCS'd back here. When we lost our Roo, Doc took it hard and was amazing to our Family. Our Roo is buried in her favorite spot in our backyard with huge wild Marigolds gowing over her. So wild, even in her new adventures. I hope you find peace with Camy's passing and thank you for sharing.

  4. Thank you! Dr Thomas is a wonderful, compassionate vet. Thanks for sharing your story of Roo! Shand