He ate a peach.  A corn cob too.

Both got stuck in his puppy stomach so by the age of six months he’d had two life-saving surgeries.

“Ka-ching!” as my husband, Steve, likes to say.

Blizzard was a joyous little dog, a coil of ready-to-expend energy, some of which he released in agility class with our son, Gabe.

He was not an easy keeper (horse term). Blizzard would sneak down to the basement from time to time to crap instead of waiting by the door like most dogs.  “Bad dog!” I would tell him as he watched me deposit his turd in the toilet and flush it away. Blizzard would look at me semi-apologetically like, “Sorry, but that’s just the kind of guy I am.”

Our neighbors were politely long suffering. Every time Blizzard would run into the backyard, he would bark and bark in a voice surprisingly loud and deep for a 35-pound dog. If I instructed him to stop, he’d only bark harder.

Blizzard became so anxious at the groomer that he would come home with nicks on his feet from the scissors. One woman told me not to bring him back—his barking had given her a headache. After that humiliation, I decided to groom him myself—one time, I confess, cutting off a small piece of his right ear.

The English Cocker loved fresh vegetables, especially baby carrots. In fact, he was such a food hound that he twice almost died from pancreatitis after stealing and consuming enormous amounts of food.

He had a little sashay in his walk that made me smile. He knew he was damned good-looking and used it to his advantage to get extra treats.

He liked to swim but was afraid, edging out a little further from the shore each summer.

For some mysterious reason, he hated greyhounds and would snarl and bark at the two that live in our neighborhood as they sauntered past our house in their fancy coats.

He loved me hugely, obsessively and without reservation.  If I was in a room, it was taken for granted that Bliz would be there too. One of my favorite jokes was to hide and watch him run from room to room looking for me.

Two years ago, I was struck by a mysterious infection that stumped the infectious disease specialists. For four weeks, I couldn’t eat. I was unable to walk without tremendous leg pain. All I did was sleep. Whenever I lifted my head, that black-and-white pup was right there beside me. His presence was soothing, reassuring me that I still existed in time somewhere.

After Sunny, our old Lab died, Blizzard clearly missed her yet also seemed to enjoy being the only dog.  When we eventually got a Lab puppy, Blizzard greeted the effusive baby with a face bite.  But before long, Blizzard grudgingly allowed Bear to chew on his long ears, just the way he had feasted on Sunny’s years before.

Blizzard hadn’t been himself lately. He turned down his dog food, but began eating again when I tried a new brand. This weekend, he couldn’t defecate. I was shocked to discover this morning that an X-ray revealed cancer spreading throughout Blizzard’s body. It was clear what to do. Our little buddy was suffering. My husband and son quickly joined me at the vet’s office to say goodbye. 

Dogs love us when we fail to rise to their expectations. They give us unwavering companionship and understanding. They remind us that life is not just short; it’s a blink.  That we should let most of the bullshit roll off our backs and appreciate each day. Even the sad ones.