Dan and I do not have children or at least the 2-legged kind. Our children are furry, have four legs, a tail, and may bark on occasion. Dan and I are the drivers of the bus we call life and these little ones all come along for the ride. This is the story of our little lucky four-leaf Clover whom we recently had to say our final goodbye. Here is her story.
For those that have known me for a while know that I had the pleasure to be owned by many Dachshunds in my life. Each of them were/are special and they can always find a way to put a smile on your face. For those of you that remember Tindra and Audrey… I raised Tindra as a puppy and bottle fed her; we had that special connection. She was my rock, my soul. Audrey came into our family when we needed her most. She was a rescue out of a neglect case, and was the sweetest little thing ever. We lost Audrey in a tragic accident and Tindra (a senior) was left alone. She became depressed and I knew we needed to find that special one to fill a gaping hole. I searched for months until I ran across this sweet face on a rescue site out of Rhode Island. Daisy (renamed Clover) was 6-8 years old and came from a neglect case where 40 Dachshunds were taken out of a home in New York. Some of those 40 dachshunds (adults and puppies) made it, while others unfortunately did not. From what I was told, the conditions they were living in were horrific. I connected with her beautiful eyes right away, it was almost like I could see into her soul. We reached out to the rescue group with our story and with the details of what we needed to fit into our family. We were told she was shy and feared men. We were also told that she was extremely loveable and took care of the other dogs she was with (we eventually nicknamed her Mama Bear for this very reason). Dan and I started the process of adoption; I just knew she would be the right fit. I flew to Boston and met Clover for the first time at the airport. After a brief meet and greet, Clover and I loaded the plane and headed home. We got home late and the first thing that Dan did to greet her was to lay down on our kitchen floor. Clover instantly crawled on Dan’s belly to love him up. With her being “fearful of men” we were concerned that the first meeting wouldn’t go so well but she knew this was her forever home. It was off to a great start.
What we learned over the years is that Clover was afraid of men when they wore a white T-shirt; she would instantly run the other way or hide (I am not sure she ever got over that, but we accommodated). She had lung issues; radiographs showed scarring in her lungs with minimal breathing airways. The doctors thought the scarring was most likely from some type of allergen/poor air quality from where she was kept and she was on lifelong medication to open her airways. She was kept in a kennel for the first part of her life which caused her back legs to never work right and seemed to be underdeveloped; she mostly bunny hopped when she ran, and her back legs were always wobbly. When we first bought her home, she didn’t know what stairs were, what a toy was, what a squirrel was, or how to walk through a door. She was afraid of the world (because she was never exposed to it). What we encountered with Clover was that she was loyal, wanted to give and receive love, and never, I mean NEVER, complained. Not a peep, never. Tindra became her courage and Clover learned quite a bit from following her lead. The transition we saw in Clover was not quick by any means, but she came to know what being a dog and being part of a loving family was all about. She learned that she could trust people and there was more to life than a cage. She amazed me every day as I can only image the trauma/horrible experiences that she went through and yet, she never complained, never showed aggression, she just took all that came her way in and pushed through. She became part of our family instantly.
When we had to say goodbye to Tindra, we were determined to find the right fit for her and our family. Working with another rescue group, we did just that. Enter Little Lucy, aka “Gooseball”, a little blue and tan piebald Dachshund. Clover instantly latched on to her and they became best buds; over the years her courage and love for life grew even more. Throughout Clover’s 8 years with us, she became attached to many other Dachshunds… Tindra, Lucy, Harley, Daisy, Aine, and lastly Duncan. Clover accepted and loved each and every one of them. She was our Mama Bear.
Clover’s life with us was full of cuddles and adventures… We hiked, we walked, we camped, we went on car rides, we kayaked, she went on bike rides in a basket, we traveled, we snuggled, we enjoyed life, and most importantly we loved.
The end is always so hard which is why it took so long for me to write her story (I’m tearing up now). She started to deteriorate years ago with what we called her little Parkinson episodes, her mind went (puppy dementia), and she became anxious, confused and sometimes aggravated by being confined. As time went on, her symptoms got worse; her body and internal organs were failing, and a mass was found in her bladder towards the end. If anyone knows a Dachshund, you know they LOVE to eat above anything else. When she stopped eating, I just knew the time was near. She was so dang stoic and never showed us any sign that she was in pain; she hid any pain she ever experienced from the world or from her failing body. Fast forward to the day we said our goodbye… The worst part about having a furry family member. With her becoming more and more anxious and confused, I had thought this was going to be a horrible experience. It wasn’t. She as ready to go and the end was so peaceful.
I want to thank every Veterinarian (Dr. Jen, Dr. Chris, Dr. Emmy), each Veterinarian Technician (specially Gina and Jamie), and Customer Service Representatives (specially Brianna) that work at Black Dog Animal Hospital here in Red Wing, MN. You understood Clover (and our) needs at the time we needed you most… That day and every day. Thank you for the support, for being there, for the care you give, and for just being the beautiful souls that you are.
Driving Ms. Clover was a privilege and an honor; we created many wonderful memories, and she left a little piece of her that we will treasure until the end of our time here on earth.