For my 11th birthday my parents bought me my very own dog. I researched, pleaded, and built a case that I was old enough to carry on this responsibility. I desperately wanted my own miniature dachshund because I thought they were the best dogs ever. I guess I finally proved that I was ready because a couple days after my birthday my dad took me to go “look” at the puppies. Now, when a dad says “look” he means “look” but when a tween hears those words she knows she is coming home with a little puppy in her arms (or at least this one did!).
As we searched for the right one my dad was the first one to actually spot her. Weighing in at under 2.5 lbs was the most pathetic excuse for a dog, and it was love at first sight. She was so tiny, energetic, and adorable. I glanced at my dad with the “daddy, I need this puppy, otherwise I may die” look. He was sold on the look, and then on the puppy.
The whole ride home I carefully cradled her thinking about what I would call her. It was one of the happiest days of my life. I finally decided on Princess Anastasia Cafariella and explained that I wanted the longest name for the shortest dog. She also built up quite a list of nicknames: catdog, primpy, primp, princess, rat, mooch, you get the idea.
Years passed and she was with me through the awkward phase(s), as well as breakups, achievements and well, life. She always knew when I was upset and she always wanted attention. She was always there to greet me with a happy hello. By the time I met my husband she started to really age, and with that came the smell haha.
When I moved to Syracuse I knew I couldn’t take her. Part of me joked that it was good (because she smelled and was kinda a handful) but the other part knew she belonged with my family. She became a part of everyone’s lives. Plus I don’t think she could make it in the amount of snow that we usually get. Every time I visited home I would sit with her and give her some lovin.
The day after my first anniversary I received a phone call. My little Princess died that morning in my mother’s arms. I didn’t think I would be emotional but I cried all day sitting in my cubicle at work. I tried to imagine my home without her and that just brought on the tears.
The only way I can really explain it is that a part of my childhood (maybe the last remaining lively element) was lost. The innocence of my first pet (that I could pet, fish don’t count…Douglas earmuffs!) was gone and I can never have that back. In the future when I talk to my kids I will be talking about her, in past tense, and remembering the good ole days. I guess I just wasn’t ready to grow up in this last area. It may seem overdramatic, it may seem a bit strange but it’s the only way I can explain the feelings.
It’s hard to really know when little girls grow up. Some may say it is when they stop playing with dolls, or start wearing makeup. I’d say I’m a late bloomer. I’m living in a world well aware of childish ideas that puppies can’t live forever. At least I still am secretly hoping that all dogs go to heaven.
Today was Princess Anastasia’s birthday. In loving memory.