Friday, March 21, 2008


Emma’s gone. She died at the end of January after a brief illness of severe arthritis combined with spinal stenosis that incapacitated all four of her legs. Twelve and a half is old for a dog like Emma whose mixed heritage of Sharpei, Pit Bull and Black Lab frightened more than a few passersby. But for most who met her, the wrinkles congregated around her face and her sleek black coat combined into a regal beauty and loving demeanor.

As a pup, she challenged us every day, as she ate batteries, table legs, one fur jacket, wood trim, plaster walls, and dismantled a steel cage. A constant moving target, she skittered up and down front stoops, sniffed bushes, and reversed direction halfway across a street.

Emma moved from puppy hood to old age overnight. One day she leaped onto our bed, balanced on her hind legs to open the laundry room door for a drink and raced down the street to chase a squirrel. And then she didn't.

In November, Emma refused to walk more than five feet past the front door of our building. She stopped walking up stairs to her bedroom mat. Food lost its charm. I carried her outside, fed her herbal supplements and scheduled acupuncture treatments.

The last weekend in January, our entire family assembled for the Waisman screening for Indestructible. She seemed to rally. Late one night, when Ben needed help, Emma licked Elizabeth, his caregiver, until she woke up. But after everyone left, she collapsed for the last time.

Every day, I miss Emma’s crazy tail whipping against my leg, her smushy face and sweet eyes. I still hear her coming up the stairs to visit me at my desk. She enjoyed a full life, was well loved and is missed by many, pretty much what we all hope for.

Emma’s Legacy:
1. Love with abandon
2. Find joy in the small moments
3. Stand firm when it matters
4. Show respect for the alphas in your life


Anonymous said...

Emma will always be remembered for all you write, and more. A loving, friendly, intelligent, caring, funny, creative doggy. What a beautiful posting. I'll miss her, too. Love, San

ela said...

I am with You missing Emma,and I want to say- it was wonderful when she knows about that who need wake up,she had a choice-Josh was around,but she walked straight to me
I'm never forget Emma

Steve Byer said...

Emma, and her adopted mother Annie, who predeceased her by exactly three years, will always live on in my memory. They were like two more children (which by simple arithmetic gave us seven)--unrequited love, an occasional disagreement, they always cleaned their plates, and we enjoyed each other's company immensely. But there were only five college tuitions.

Emilie said...

I read your tribute to your sweet Emma as my Miles and Faye breathe contentedly at my feet after a just completed strenuous outing. You remind me to cherish Faye's head on my feet, the seemingly never ending wiping of paws, and the gray I see creeping into their otherwise colored fur. I am reminded of a saying I have hanging in the house - Money will buy a fine dog, but only Love will make it's tail wag. Here's to all of our tail wagging loves!