Calamity Jane, a.k.a "Scruffy"
Though she was our first family dog, she was able to accomplish so much more than what is usually expected of a REGULAR house pet. Scruffy had a real humanitarian purpose in life. She had three separate litters of very healthy wire-haired fox terrier puppies, with the main purpose of giving children and adults with allergy issues a dog that they could hold and enjoy, like the rest of us.
She also had a bit of "Lassie" in her, literally rescuing one of my sons when he was heavily sleeping in a room filled with smoke (the flue in the fireplace had not been opened before starting a fire and the room was totally smoke-filled, and no one else was home) <<--DON'T ASK--I was not in town at the time! Anyway, Scruffy jumped on his chest--barking, pulling at his shirt--til he woke up.
She also was a bit obsessive-compulsive. If I left the freezer open to briefly do something in another room, she would stand under the open door barking a high-pitched yip. If one of the boys left the sink water running, she would stand under it, barking, and stare at me until I turned it off.
She didn't like to be held much, since she thought she was the size of a great dane. Her attitude was, "why would you want to hold me on your lap when I am this huge?" She was all of 20 pounds. Instead she was most comfortable sitting beside us, on the floor.
She was also a tomboy-for which I am so grateful! Raising three boys (preferred by the way!) meant the family dog better be fine with roustabout behavior at any time. Scruff explored, she swam, she tried to climb trees to reach that crazy opossum. There's a family of chipmunks in our woodpile. All hers, she thought. And of course, she loved the outdoors.
The very best thing about her though, was how she made children and elder folks feel. She had a way of bringing cheer to anyone who might usually hesitate to pet a dog--well--damn--she looked like a Beenie baby! Who could resist? And she welcomed children at any hour to watch the miracle of birth. Unlike most female dogs, Scruffy let others be present while she had her babies. She would be quite discrete though, careful NOT to "dispose" of the afterbirth in front of the neighbor kids. Gentle, tolerant, intelligent and motherly, she tried to "mom" the three boys, the occasional rescued squirrel or cottontail, and even a number of homeless ducks. (Again, don't even ask!)
She passed away this morning, after nearly two years of illness. She never once had that "feel sorry for me" look on her face. She never complained with all the lab testing, daily medications, not even the craziness that the other dogs displayed around her.
In her last moments at home, I let the rest of the pups frolic in the room around her, let each one kiss her good-bye, then my son let her have a lick of a glazed donut (she would have gobbled it down had she been well--but never allowed to eat).
The rest of this day, the canine corps at home are all having a free-for-all--running through the rooms, jumping on the beds, squeaking toys and making an unGodly mess. Kind of an "Irish-style" wake, if you will. All in memory of their "Queen Mum".