Thursday, December 17, 2009

Raise a Parting Glass To Snickers

11 years ago this February, I met my best friend. That’s how the saying goes, right? He was 8 weeks old and weighed in at 12 pounds. Chris had just turned 6 years old and he had a new playmate who would just keep running back to him with the tennis ball. Jessica was 4 and spent many months using the couch and kitchen chairs for her refuge from the overly hyperactive puppy who showed up one day and invaded her life. By the way, I mean terrorized in a harmless, puppy kinda way with a quick and sloppy tongue as the primary weapon of destruction. We called him Snickers back then because of his chocolate color and (yes, I’m this warped) because he had nuts. We thought for a few brief seconds about changing his name to Milky Way when we had him neutered (no more nuts, get it?), but that never came to pass. He was a Snickers through and through. Over the years, the frightened Jessica and the amused Christopher took Snickers in as their brother.

An undeniable presence in our home and in our family for the past eleven years, the memories will live with us forever. For those of you who have crossed the threshold into our home, you understand what this obnoxious, crotch sniffing, biscuit begging oaf meant to us. I am sitting here today and thinking back on our boy - the same good boy who would stand at the edge of the yard, held back by a monstrous 1 foot garden fence bordering newly planted flowers. We could almost read his mind as he would stepdance at the fence, itching to find a way over it… “I sure wish I could jump over this big giant fence that barely comes up to my chest.”

We have had many visitors and our share of big parties. And one thing is for sure - Snickers had his favorite people…. Butch, Donna, Ray and Diane… the “cookie people.” Snickers loved all company. But these four people held a special place in his heart… never would these dog spoilers darken our doorway without a cookie in their pocket or in their hand. His excitement level would be so high, spontaneous combustion would not have been a surprise. I would be remiss if I were not to mention Eileen down the street and her years of capturing Snickers after he would escape the yard and go on patrol along Hill Street. Eileen's trick and Snickers' weakness? One gently rolled slice of deli baloney. A quick wave of the tasty treat out her screen door and Snickers would be distracted just long enough for the prison guards to catch up to him.

Thinking back, it seems we have more than our share of funny memories. From the moment he was neutered, Snickers developed a twisted fetish for any blanket or pillow that would find its way to the floor, often humping the hell out of it until he could barely walk away. I would often joke that after a love session with his doggie bed, he walked around with the legs of a newborn giraffe.

Last night, we laid down with Snickers with the knowledge that it would be his last night with us. Despite a killer disease running through his body, he will only know love and happiness. And that is how it will be forever.
After today, the gate to our yard will be open, no longer with a reason to keep it closed. It is open to let him run free. Our boy will be gone from our house but never from our home! Godspeed Snickers… say hello to Nipper and Freida for me.