The loss of a family pet can have a major impact on the entire family. It is like losing a member of the family. Recently, our family experienced the death of our beloved dog, Pebbles. Although we have lost many pets over the years—mice, hamsters, fish, gerbils, iguana, cats—losing Pebbles was the first dog Christine had ever lost and she was taking it very hard.
Pebbles was adopted from the Mercer County Humane Society over ten years ago—Christine was about three at the time, so the two of them have grown up together. Pebbles was a Sheltie-mix and she was approximately one year old when she came to live with us. Keith had seen a picture of this cute dog in the Harrodsburg Herald and the next day he and Christine went to check it out. It was love at first sight and they adopted her on the spot. He took a picture of Pebbles to bring home and show the rest of the family because it would be two days before she was ready to come home.
Christine picked out the name Pebbles after the Flintstone’s Pebbles and Bam-Bam. Amber and Marie were also excited about the new addition to the family; they had been wanting a dog and we just kept putting it off because we had an indoor cat. Pogo was Keith’s cat and she didn’t warm up to new people or animals easily. After Keith and I got married, it took a long time before Amber and Marie were able to even get near Pogo to pet her, much less pick her up. We were afraid a dog would throw her into shock. We lost Pogo over four years ago—she was over 18-years-old.
It didn’t take Pebbles long to become one of the family. She was most attracted to Marie, although she loved to be around all of us. After the first few weeks, Pebbles was not the same skinny dog we had originally brought home. She was happy and healthy and had put on some weight. Apparently, Pebbles had come from an abusive situation, because she had a tendency to “cow down” whenever anyone raised their voice.
I could never get Pebbles to come to me when I would call for her—she always seemed to run in the opposite direction when I would call her. But she would always come to Keith’s call or whistle. Pebbles would do almost anything Keith would tell her to do, with the exception of getting her to stay down at meal time.
Pebbles loved table scraps and she was not above begging everyone for a bite. We knew table scraps were probably not good for her, but she loved them so much. We also had a hard time keeping her out of the cat food, even though she always had food in her dish—she would always sneak back and finish up whatever the cats had not eaten.
Even though she would not come to me when I called her, Pebbles would follow me around the house like a shadow. Whenever I was home she would slept at my feet or follow me from room to room—even the bathroom. Pebbles could be a nuisance at times, but we all loved her and we could tell that she loved us.
Pebbles would get so excited when it was time to go outside. She would jump and prance around the door waiting for someone to open it. Then she would charge out the door like the Calvary coming to the rescue. She would run several laps around the front yard just as fast as her legs would let her. She would sometimes bark and root her nose into the ground. We still have a few bare spots in the yard from where Pebbles got so excited.
Pebbles was a wonderful guard dog because she would bark at any noise she would hear outside. Once she became used to friends or relatives coming to visit, she would become excited to she them—running to the person or trying to jump up on them. The jumping up on people was something we were still working on with Pebbles, but we weren’t having much success.
Over the past few years, Christine and Pebbles became the best of friends and you could tell they loved being with each other. Sometimes Christine would but the leash on Pebbles’ collar and take her for a walk, other times they would just run and romp in the backyard or the back field. I can still see Christine rolling around on the lawn with Pebbles jumping on her, trying to lick her face.
Although we still have three indoor cats, Christine misses Pebbles and she has started to talk about finding a replacement dog. Although there is no substitute for Pebbles, it would be nice to have another guard dog. We are trying to put Christine off—we want her to get over the initial shock of losing her first dog before we try and become attached to another one.
Pebbles is buried in our pet cemetery, along with Pogo the cat, Tully the bird and Snowball the rabbit. I will occasionally see Christine near the pet cemetery and my heart aches for her sadness. Although we all miss Pebbles and I know one day we will have another dog, there will never be a replacement for Pebbles. She will always remain in our hearts.
© Bobbi Rightmyer, April 2006