Today was the day we took Weagle to the vet for the last time, after her battle with lymphoma. The photo here is of her last visit to Galveston, which was yesterday. She loved the beach, it was her favorite place, so we took her for one last visit. As you can see, we had the beach to ourselves, down by San Luis Pass, and Weagle strolled in the surf and chuffed at some birds, and had her own Sausage McMuffin as a treat.
Weagle was an extraordinary being. She came into our lives as a tiny puppy, adopted from the Houston SPCA after Houston was devastated by storm damage and flooding from Tropical Storm Allison. We knew there would be a lot of dogs hitting the shelters after the storm, and we knew we had to help save at least one.
When we got to the shelter, there were two of cutest little black-and-brown puppies in a crate together, litter-mates. The sign said they were six weeks old, and that they were Rottweiler/Labrador crosses. We picked one to bring home, and she fit in my cupped palms, and was the calmest, sweetest dog we had ever met. That changed dramatically once we got her de-wormed and her true nature as a smart, protective, complex, loving, vigilant, fiercely loyal family member was revealed.
We gave her the name of Princess Buttercup (from the film The Princess Bride), and as she grew her face (and howl) began to look very much like a beagle, so we started referring to her by the nickname of Rottweagle (combination of Rottweiler and Beagle), which was quickly shortened to Weagle, and became her permanent name. We never did figure out her ancestry.
I wrote more about her protective and loving nature two years ago, which you can read here: http://www.cleverdonkey.com/1385-wonderful-weagle/.
Was she perfect? No, but who is? She barked too much, although it was with the best intentions, as she always wanted us to be aware of any real-or-perceived dangers, and we never could convince her the postman wasn’t dangerous (as far as we knew). She did not enjoy rambunctious puppies, although she tolerated them with extraordinary displays of benign disdain. She never fully accepted that she was not part of the committee of humans that ran the household, and although she was never actively mutinous, she did sometimes comply to requests with melodramatic resignation and doggy eye-rolling.
But she was a great soul, and highly intelligent. We recently watched an episode of Nova ScienceNow, where they asked the question, ‘How Smart Are Animals?‘, and they showed some of the astonishing levels of intelligence demonstrated by dogs (and dolphins and octopuses and parrots). And while it was a very interesting program, it wasn’t all that surprising to us, because Weagle was damn smart. Smartness is not always convenient in a pet, because intelligence means that the dog will take your commands more like requests, and they will assess those requests for validity, and then act only when they have thought it through.
That could be frustrating at times, when we just wanted her to do what we said, but it also meant that we knew that no stranger or ne’er-do-well would ever be able to order her around into blind obedience, just because they spoke authoritatively. Unlike a gun or other weapon for home protection, we knew Weagle could never be disarmed (or taken away and turned against us). There’s no sleep as relaxing as when you’re being watched over by a benevolent canine Terminator.
But now she’s gone. We still have her two brothers: Biscuit, our blonde white-shepherd cross of unknown ancestry, and Ruckus, our probably-a-runt-Rottweiler-but-maybe-some-kind-of-hound-mixed-in-there-too.
Biscuit has become Avelynn’s self-appointed protector, which was surprising to us, as he’d always seemed like a pretty laid-back surfer-dude type before this. He’s older than Weagle, but appears to be going strong.
Ruckus is four now, and while he’s not nearly as smart as Weagle or Biscuit, he has a huge heart full of nothing but love for the family, and he’s happiest when he knows he’s doing the right thing.
We love them both, and we’re glad that Weagle was around long enough to show Ruckus the ropes, and pass down the responsibility for guarding the family to him, so that now she can rest, peacefully. We’ll miss you, Weags.