I found you online, a “tweenie” dachshund with one blue eye and one brown. A few days later, we met in front of the Ralph Lauren outlet store in Carlsbad, you on a string leash, no collar, walking two humans, anxious to let you go. You and Joey didn’t seem to mind each other and so I said, “I’ll take him,” and the string leash was handed to me. We walked, and you, well-trained dog that you were, stepped to my left and stayed there while Joey, still being trained, pulled and jerked his leach, his “must smell everything” at full operating mode. You didn’t seem to care.
Until we got in the car. Then there was a minor dispute about who would occupy the front seat and who the rear. You claimed the front as if it was rightfully yours, and this time, Joey didn’t seem to mind. No growling, no snapping, just as it always was between the two of you, brothers in spirit if not in breed.
Billy Blue Eye, little Billy two-shoes, Billy of the Wild Niguel, always available to be petted and admired, loved and stroked. The softest of fur as if you were put on this earth just to be petted. And so everyone you met automatically reached out to touch you, even in your last days, carried in my arms, friends and strangers would stretch out their arms and wiggle their fingers behind your ears, stroke your snout, kiss you.
A couple of years in, you popped a disc and had to have back surgery. You never complained. A year after that, another disc popped and you had a second surgery and suddenly you were our “$9000 free dog”. What was to be done, though? We loved you and you loved us back.
You loved to go for walks almost as much as you liked to curl up by the back door in the late afternoon sunshine for a siesta. You and Joey were inseparable. We traveled together; up the coast a couple of times to stay in Carmel and no matter where we went you were the star attraction.
There’s so much more, after all we spent almost 16 years together, but this last year, your 20th, was rough and today was the roughest. We had to say goodbye. But you had one last little surprise for us, didn’t you? Driving down the freeway this afternoon, after our last good-bye, Michael said, “look, a rainbow!” And sure enough, there you were, one last doggie kiss in red, orange, blue, green, and violet.