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Sweet Pea

Sweet Pea's Memorial
Donate in Sweet Pea's Name
A donation was made in Sweet Pea's memory by Doctors and Staff of the Siskiyou Veterinary Hospital. Her memorial was created on 6/14/2012.

By Linda S.

It was love at first sight. The shaking, quivering ten pounds
of shaved and shorn canine didn't look like any Yorkie I'd
ever seen. I took her home with me that day, this throw away
dog that would become my best friend for the few years I
would have her. She'd been a breeder dog, bought by a family
that wanted a pedigreed Yorkshire terrier, with no idea of
what it takes to raise one. I changed her name from one of
those yuppified names people want to call their dogs nowadays,
to Sweet Pea. It would take my other companion, the two legged
male variety, at least two years to befriend her, she was so
traumatized by her previous life. The first couple years, she
spent much of her time hiding under my bed, afraid of her own
shadow, and scared to death of any and all loud noises. Putting
dishes in the dishwasher was enough to send her skittering off
to the bedroom. She was a restless sleeper with frequent
nightmares, doggie PTSD, I humorously called it.

Somehow, she trusted me from the day I brought her home. Still,
under the bed was her safety blanket, and that's where I think
most of her time was spent before I became her world. Sweet Pea
had no concept of play time and even after introduction with dogs
that did, she never learned.
But love, there was more than enough to give and finally, to get.

Her hair came back in, a wonderful tricolor of champagne and honey
and wheat with that odd blue gray underneath. She had lots of it
and it was curly, from the hormones, I suppose. She was longer than
my other Yorkies and her legs were short to the ground like a
Dachshund. Sweet Pea had no trouble keeping up and was often first
in line to go on a walk.

Funny, funny little lady, she learned how to "work" me. She would
jump on my lap, leap up with paws on my chest, lick my face and then
turn to see if it was going to work and I'd ask her " What do you
want"? She'd lick my face again and again; then jump down, head to the
kitchen, and look up at the cabinet where the treats were stored.
If I didn't get up right away, Sweet Pea would repeat this trick
again. Two Bitz, Max and Itzy, our other dogs, would patiently wait,
knowing if anyone could pull this off, Sweet Pea could and of course
she always did.

Saturdays became our shopping day. She would know somehow when
the weekend came and patiently wait until I was ready to go.
Some stores would allow her in, and she'd go, but every time
a loud noise would occur, she would start shaking and panting.
Older people, little kids, most everyone would make over her
and in fact two people, never having met her before, called her
Sweet Pea, totally surprised to find that was her real name.
It suited her. Saturdays were our day to be alone together. The
other dogs, two more Yorkies and a Lhasa/Westie Mix would stay
with Dad. After shopping we would get my coffee and she would
get a biscuit and then we would go for a walk. How she loved those
walks with Mom. She had a walk like a runway model, one small
foot directly in front of the other, little swish of the hips
and curly tail. She was so very regal when she walked.

I became ill with cancer a couple years after Sweet Pea came into
my life and because I was hospitalized longer than expected,
my companion, Steve, began bringing her to the hospital every
night for visiting hours. That first night she crawled up by my
side and did not want to leave,but regulations prevailed and Steve
would take her home. Sweet Pea would return each night to comfort
me, or I her, I'm not sure which. My small comfort, this wonderful
friend of mine. I recovered from my ordeal, with complications
that led to my retirement from work within eighteen months.

Sweet Pea seemed to know when I needed to take a nap. She
would come out to the living room or computer room, wherever I was,
do her funny little whinny and I would say okay and go off
for my nap with her.

These little darlings, these Yorkies and a few others of the small
nosed breeds, have what the veterinarians call a reverse sneeze.
It sounds like a small snort and it happens occasionally with
the allergy season and overexcitement. I didn't think too much of
it that Friday when Sweet Pea did this many times over the course
of the day. By Saturday, I knew something was seriously wrong. She
could barely move without this snorting and paroxysmal breath
holding that goes along with it. A trip to the vet and a look in
her throat revealed a huge swelling with a lot of redness. The vet
said it could be just inflammation and infection but also might be
a tumor. The decision was to get the swelling down and then under
anesthesia, take a biopsy. Lab tests would be needed to rule other
things out. I almost knew it was cancer, but held out hope it surely
wouldn't be. The vet called back with the worst of news, many of the
labs were elevated, especially the renal tests.I took her back in on
Monday for fluids to be administered hoping against hope it would
bring her renal tests back in line, but no, it was too late for my
Sweet Pea. I could only wait for what the next tomorrows would bring.
After only sixteen days, Sweet Pea still wanted her walks and begged
for treats. That last day, I took her for several walks and fed her
mashed up food and tiny bits of biscuits. She refused ice cream even
though that was her favorite treat. She had been choking on food and
struggling to get water down that day and even though she
did not look sick and her little legs would trot just as fast that
day, her throat was almost totally occluded with the tumor.

Neglect, abuse, nightmares, then love, and finally cancer. Her little
life seemed to parallel my own. I would survive, she would not. Small
wonder, my small comfort and I bonded so closely.

That last day, Steve and I took turns taking her for walks and when
Steve took her, she turned around to me as if to ask why I wasn't
going too, and even though it broke my heart, I knew that the tough
old guy needed his time alone with her.

One more trip to the veterinarian and this would be the final one. Dr.
Babbitt, her veterinarian,(along with Dr. Sinner) was surprised the
tumor had grown so fast and told us gently that she had at most only
a few days left and death would not come easy. I chose not to let her
suffer anymore.

My Sweet Pea, my small comfort, was laid to rest on Tuesday, March 9.2010.
May The Great Spirit take her and my love across the winds to the Big Sky.

Linda S.

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