The Daisy

Once upon a time, very long ago, I went to college.  When I came home from school for the Thanksgiving holiday, my mother told me that I couldn’t move back into my room and that I’d have to go back in with my younger sister. 

Here’s a little background information for you:  I’d shared a room with my sister our whole lives.  When our older brother moved out after high school, I finally got my own room.  Granted, it was the size of a crackerbox, but it was mine.  And now I had to go back in with my sister because there was a new puppy in MY room.

“He’s used to it.  We don’t want to upset him,” said my mother. 

Are you kidding me?  We’d never had a dog in the house, and now one was in MY room.  The little bugger had taken over in my absence.  I’d only been gone a few months.  So I went back in with my sister, keeping in mind that I had the first final exams of my educational career the following week, and I was worried about how was I going to study. 

The infiltrator was named Derringer, because his father was Pistol, so Derry was a little son of a gun.  Personally, I’d go with the Irish influence, and not even explain the gun factoid, but, clearly, nobody was asking my advice.

Derry was a little poodle, and my parents were enthralled with him.  He was smart, and as he grew older, he learned little tricks, and enjoyed riding around with my dad in his pickup truck.  I attempted to explain to my father that the dog was ruining his image, for how could this 6’6″ man wearing a John Deere hat drive to the feed-and-seed with his.  Poodle?  Please, the family pride was at stake.  But it was for naught.

Derry adored me, or so my mother said, and she was distressed that I did not adore him back.  I thought he was a brat.

One day years later, the day came that everyone dreads.  Derry died.  My mother wrote me that he just “went under the dining room table and died of a heart attack”.  She said that she “cried buckets”, which really wasn’t that hard for my mother to do because she was a crier.  Emotions, she had some, and she had received an extra-large portion of the crying gene, which sometimes skips a generation.

She was given another poodle puppy, but she said it just wasn’t the same.  It just wasn’t Derry, and she couldn’t get attached to the new one.  By that time, I was long out of the house, and I don’t even know what happened to that little Sambo dog, because I was busy with a home and family of my own. 

One day I went to visit my parents when my children were small, and we were outside in the yard, and two little dogs came running up.  One was a little beagle named Tyke, and the other was the shaggiest, messiest little poodle, if indeed that’s what she was, that I had ever seen.  Her coat was thick with briars, and little sticks trailed the ground behind her.  She was the happiest dog I had ever seen, her mouth open wide, panting out a big grin.  I thought she was the cutest thing.  Mom said offhandedly, “That’s Daisy”, and I thought that was the oddest name.  She further said that Daisy and Tyke would go off running for days at a time, and when they came home, they were exhausted and wet from playing in the fields and streams. 

I really wanted Daisy.  That was probably in the early 1990’s, and I knew that she wouldn’t fit in my home situation.  A bit later, my mother moved into a nursing home, and my father moved to an assisted-living facility, and BigBroSteve and his wife took over Tyke and Daisy’s care.  When I would go visit, BigBroSteve would ask if I was ready to take Tyke and Daisy, and I would say, no, not yet, I’m not ready yet.

Fast forward to 2004.  I was officially divorced, had built a home, and had one dog.  Mom had been deceased since 1999.  It was almost Christmas, and it was time to go get Daisy and Tyke.  I took along an afghan that the dog had been sleeping on so that Daisy and Tyke could become accustomed to his smell on the way home in the car. 

When I got there, I found that Tyke had died earlier that year, and Daisy had her own little house and yard.  BigBro asked if I was ready to take her, and he looked dumbfounded when I said that I was.  When it was time to go, Daisy knew that something was up, and she was a nervous girl.  We said our good-byes, and started out on our journey, with a side trip to the vet to update her bordetella vaccination, and headed to our home 8 hours away.

The next day when I went to work at the luxury boarding kennel, I took Daisy with me.  I found out that PetSmart was sponsoring pet photos with Santa, and I begged my employer for an hour off to take Daisy to have her picture made with Santa.

It was sad how quickly I became one of "those" people, who dress up their dog and have their picture made with Santa. But doesn't she look happy?


No one really knew how old she was, but she was still plucky and independent.  She didn’t like sitting on your lap, or even the furniture.  She was happiest down low.  When I installed a dog door panel in the sliding glass door track, she was the first dog to figure out how to use it.  It helped that she was only ten pounds and that I could push her out the door, but she caught on really fast.  Sometimes in the middle of the night, she would jump out of the laundry basket in my closet that she used for a bed, and the sound of the dog door flap flip-flip-flipping would wake me up, and it always amused me that this little bitty dog used the tools I gave her to take care of herself.

In 2008, when I moved to the Swamped! Plantation, Daisy was still with me.  I wondered how to know when this dog was going to give me a sign that she was getting older, for was she ever going to slow down?  She had cataracts on both eyes, but still got around, and ate like there was no tomorrow.

Last year, in the fall, Daisy wasn’t eating as much, and she tottered when she walked, not that she walked much.  She spent most of her time sleeping in her little bed at the foot of my bed.  Remember that the main bed in the RV can only be approached from the foot, and I had to remember to not spring up out of bed too quickly in the morning so I wouldn’t squash Daisy.  One day she stood at her water bowl, her hindquarters slowly collapsed, and she went down into a sit position and then popped right back up into place.  I knew that the endtimes were approaching. 

Daisy continued to eat, and drink well, and pee and poop, and totter about under her own steam, and all those things were on the list of important basic behavior.  You know the list I’m talking about.  Sometimes she looked like someone from the home who is driven by some inner force to continue to move.  You know the old person I’m talking about, the one that won’t stay in their room, that roams the halls, standing, leaning, exploring, moving about, occasionally resting.  That was Daisy. 

I asked her to tell me when it was time, but she would not.  Sometimes she turned over her food bowl, or slopped her water out of her dish, or I would find her in the one-step stair well in front of the RV door where she’d fallen and she couldn’t get back up the single step.  Near the end, when I was talking on the phone to Sugar at night, she would pace in slow motion back and forth the length of the RV.  One night, when I got home from work, she could not stand.  She had stopped eating.  And drinking.  And all she could manage was one small abnormal poop later that night, as though she were cleansing her body for her final journey.

The next morning when I got up, Daisy was not in her bed.  I found her *standing*, the little dog that could not stand the day before, standing in the stairwell facing the door, waiting for it to open so that she could get out and go off by herself.

It was a cloudy, gloomy day when Daisy and I got into the car for the last time, and as we set off in Ole Yeller, the sky began to weep soft tears.  I had already called the vet’s office to discuss the situation, and told the vet tech that Daisy would be dehydrated and that the vet might not be able to find Daisy’s vein for the final injection, but under no circumstances was the vet to do a heart stick.  (Y’all just go google that term.)  The tech said that rarely is that method used but only when the animal is fully sedated.  I told her that if Daisy were too dehydrated and her blood pressure had dropped, that the injection could be given in the abdomen. 

Sugar met us at the vet’s office.  When we got into the exam room, I reiterated that *under no circumstances* would the injection be given in the heart, and that it could be given in the abdomen if they couldn’t get a vein.  The vet said that would take longer to achieve the final effect when given in the abdomen, and I said, “What’s the hurry?” 

We started the procedure, and I held off the vein, and the vet was able to insert the needle, and Daisy slid away from us at 3:15 PM. 

When we went outside, it had stopped raining, and the sun was coming out.

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4 Responses to “The Daisy”

  1. Kariann Says:

    I am so glad you cared for sweet Daisy.Lots of great Tennessee memories for me in this post.


  2. Linda T Says:

    I had to do this to my dog. It breaks your heart and you never forget the tiny details of it.


  3. walter hines Says:

    Hey Ruth, Walt here! Your blog is amazing! I look forward to it every month and marvel at the detail of your research – I wish I had that sort of passion about anything!!! Send me addresses for all the Rawls please – Trinity will celebrate our 150th. year on Sunday, September 9 – We want to send invitations to as many as we can find. Try to come!

    Liked by 1 person

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