If you’re wondering why JimandJamie.com has been so quiet lately, here’s the answer:
Cricket, our little shih tzu, fell ill a couple weeks ago. She was diagnosed with a congenital liver defect and went downhill very quickly. So Jamie and I flew home to spend a little time with her before we had to put her to sleep. Very sad.
Cricket loved three things more than all others:
1. Jamie. Oh, my god, did she love Jamie. When we got Cricket we didn’t realize that shih tzus are “one person” dogs. We figured she would like both of us equally. We were wrong. In Cricket’s mind, I only existed when Jamie was gone. The photo (above) shows her racing through the snow to greet Jamie.
2. That being said, she did love it when I came in the back door and hollered, “Doggie, doggie, doggie” at the top of my lungs. She’d come running from wherever she was in the house, jump up into my arms, and lick my nose. (Admittedly, these were the only times she ever indicated that she might actually like me.)
3. Brutus, the Yorkiepoo who belongs to our friends Joe and Judy. Little Cricket really didn’t like any other dogs, but she worshipped Brutus from the moment she met him. They were inseparable. Joe and Judy lived in our guest house while their new house was being built, and whichever dog came outside first in the morning always waited outside the other one’s door. Wherever Brutus went, Cricket followed. Whatever Brutus did, Cricket imitated. Side-by-side, they bravely patrolled our yard, protecting us from maurading UPS trucks and the police department’s dastardly horse-mounted patrol and the daily incursions of the United States Postal Service. Cricket was a rescue who spent the first nine months of her life trapped in a small cage, so she didn’t really know how to be a dog until she met Brutus. He taught her everything, including how to lift one leg when she peed.
I told you that Cricket loved Jamie, but by the time we got home, she was too far gone to even recognize us. Except for one little thing.
Every day when Jamie drove home from work, she gave us a little beep of her horn as she passed our front door. Cricket quickly learned that the “beep” meant Jamie was home. She’d run over to my easy chair and look up at me, wiggling and squealing with excitement. I’d look down at her and say, “Mommy’s home,” and she would erupt in a fit of excited barking until I opened the door so she could run out and greet the love of her life.
On the last day of Cricket’s life, just minutes before we took her in to be put to sleep, she was truly at death’s door, her head limply lolling to one side. She appeared to neither hear us nor see us nor respond to us in any way nor even seem to be aware that she was being held in Jamie’s arms.
Then I said, “Cricket! Mommy’s home.”
Cricket’s head snapped to attention and her ears stood on end, just as they had done hundreds of times before when she heard those special words.
Jamie and I both teared up.
It was Cricket’s last act of recognition and love.
A few people deserve special call-outs:
Our friends Joe and Judy and their dog Brutus. As you can see in this video (above) Cricket loved the Bratchers almost as much as she loved us. And they loved her, too. Joe and Judy kept Cricket while we were out gallivanting around the world, and thanks to them we know that her final days were filled with lots of love and and we cannot thank them enough.
Doctor Bob. We have a dear friend and neighbor who also happens to be a world famous veterinarian surgeon. He jumped in the moment he found out that Cricket was ill and made sure she received the best diagnostic care possible, kept us posted on her condition, and was with us at the very end.
Don and Jennifer, Doug and Kelly, and Randy and Diane. Good friends, one and all, who were there when we needed them and always show us what friendship is all about.
The Ginsbergs. Dan and Caren and Jack and Stella. Each and every one of them was there with love and support and the right words at the right time.
If I’ve forgotten anyone, I apologize. Please forgive me and attribute the omission to stress.
We’re back in Australia now and Cricket has a new home in our backyard, right next to Queenie the fat cat, who tormented the little dog when she was just a pup. Seems fair that they should spend eternity side-by-side.
We’ll miss you, little Cricket.
Hey, leave her alone, Queenie!