I first saw Bonnie when I was visiting the Halifax Humane Society in Daytona Beach. When I looked in her cage, I saw the most beautiful blue merle sheltie I had ever seen looking right back at me. Her coat was a gorgeous white, silver and black, with just a touch of brown. It was so thick and full. At least I thought so until she turned to her side, when I saw that from the middle of her back all the way to the end of her tail, she was virtually bald. I later discovered that Bonnie was suffering from a flea allergy. Luckily, after treatment she got almost all of her fur back. Except for her tail. That never quite came back all the way and we always laughed about Bonnie having a rat's tail for the rest of her life.|
And what a life she had! Shortly after seeing Bonnie, I called my wife Carrie and asked her to come out and see Bonnie. I was always the sucker for the animals and I depended on Carrie to be my rational voice. But when she came out and saw Bonnie, we both decided that she needed to come home with us. And as the saying goes, the rest is history.
I always kidded Carrie about stealing Bonnie from me. Though I was the one who first saw her, when we took Bonnie home I drove and Carrie rode with her in the back seat. In those 15 minutes to drive home, Bonnie and Carrie bonded. Bonnie loved me, but she was always Carrie's girl. Or as we called her, Carrie's "little gray shadow". Where ever Carrie went, so did Bonnie. If we were sitting in the living room and Carrie got up to go to the kitchen, Bonnie would get up and follow her there. Now at night, I might be the first one to go to bed. Bonnie and the rest of our fur kids might follow me into the bedroom. But if after a minute of two Carrie didn't show up, Bonnie would get out of her bed and go find Carrie. Now if Bonnie wanted dinner, or needed to go outside, or was sacred, she would always come to dad. But for everything else, she was mom's girl.
Already having a sheltie (Barclay), we knew that shelties were known to bark. And Bonnie didn't disappoint. For the next 7 years, every time we left the house, or arrived home, Bonnie was at the door barking. In the morning when we left for work, she would bark because she didn't want us to go. And in the evening when we got home, she would be at the door barking to welcome us back.
We also discovered that Bonnie was quite a water dog -- just not in the way we expected it. We had a pool at our house in Florida, but she didn't like to swim (and never liked to take a bath). But one day she was outside when we turned the sprinkler on and Bonnie went crazy. She loved to bark at the spraying water and tried to bite it. Or if I turned the hose on, she would always go after the stream of water. She would always get soaked, but she absolutely loved it! We also had a pool cleaning device that would go all over the floor and walls of the pool to keep it clean. When the cleaner got to the surface, it would spray a jet of water out before diving back underneath the water. When Bonnie discovered that, it became Bonnie's favorite toy. For hours, she would follow the cleaner as it moved around the pool and Bonnie would just wait until it sprayed that jet of water out and she would try to bite it. Bonnie did that for several years until her eyesight started to fail and after falling in the pool a couple of times one summer chasing the cleaner, she finally gave up that sport.
Bonnie also had a fixation with the vacuum cleaner. For 7 years, despite failing eyesight and arthritis in her legs, every time she saw us get the vacuum cleaner out, Bonnie was there barking and biting at it. Luckily, in her final few years her hearing was also going so sometimes if she was asleep we could run the cleaner and she wouldn't even wake up as we ran it right past her. But if she happened to wake up and see it, watch out!
Bonnie was the first to introduce us to the "nose of petting". Whenever she wanted your attention, she would come up to you and put her nose right in your hand. If you didn't pet her, she would keep flipping your hand with her nose until you did. And while she loved getting her head and ears rubbed, what she really wanted was her tummy rubbed or her butt skretched. We used to call Bonnie a "tummy-rubbing Ho" because she would greet visitors but immediately flipping on her back and wanting you to rub her tummy! And while Bonnie was not big on giving kisses, if you really gave her a lot of butt and/or tummy rubbing, it would fill up her "love bucket". And once that was full, she would shower you with tons of kisses.
Through the years, Bonnie was always a pretty healthy girl. But as with everyone, time and age affects us. This past Christmas (2008) Carrie and I realized that both Barclay and Bonnie were turning 14 in 2009 and that we would probably lose both of them this year. We hoped we would be wrong, but unfortunately we were right. In June, we lost Barclay. Bonnie, though hobbled with arthritis and a growing heart murmur was still hanging in there. We knew she was on borrowed time, but every time it seemed like she might be slipping, she would bounce back. But last Saturday, time finally caught up with her. Around noon, she came to me and wanted to go out. I let her out into the back yard and watched her like I always did. As she headed to her favorite spot in the yard to do her business, I could see that something was wrong. Bonnie's back legs had always given her trouble, but now it appeared that her front legs were bothering her. She stumbled a few times and then tried to turn around and come back to the house. I could see that she wasn't going to make it and ran and picked her up. I brought her inside and laid her down. She was panting and I could feel her heart racing. I tried to calm her and after a few minutes I picked her and to see if she could stand. She couldn't. None of her legs were working. Carrie took her and held her while I tried to reach our vet. Bonnie had had a stroke and we could tell that she wasn't going to pull through this time. Unfortunately, our vet was closed on this Saturday and rather than take her into the emergency vet, we decided to just keep her at home. We didn't want her last moments to be laying on a cold, steel table in a strange room surrounded by people she didn't know. Instead we fixed a place for her on our living room rug, with Carrie and I right by her side. We stroked her, and combed her and told her it was okay. Carrie laid down in front of her so Bonnie could smell her. Bonnie's eyesight and hearing were basically gone, but her nose was as strong as ever. We told Bonnie that her old friends -- Barclay and Henry -- were waiting for her. She would be with them until we could all be together again one day. I put my hand on her chest as we kissed her and told her we loved her. And then I felt her heart beat for the last time.
When we first got Bonnie, I made her a promise. I told her that since she had not been with us for her first 7 years, she needed to stay with us for at least 7 years. She kept her part of the bargain. And I kept mine. I told her that we would love her for as long as she was with us. And that when the time came for her to go, we would be there with her right until the end.
Bonnie was never the brightest bulb in the box. But she was always the happiest. Every morning Bonnie would greet me with a smile on her face and her tail wagging. Every night Carrie would tell Bonnie to have a good sleep and she would see her smiling face in the morning. And every day when Carrie got up, there was Bonnie right there to greet her.
Bonnie, you were such a good, good girl. We miss you so very much, sweet girl. But we know you are with Barclay and Henry. And with Maggie & Rusty & Brody. You are now at peace and free of pain. Run and play and bark like you did when you were young. Bite at all that nasty flowing water. And know that one day we will all be together with you again. Love, Dad.
*December 25, 2009. Merry Christmas, Bon-Bons. We sure do miss you, Sweetness. This is our first Christmas without you and Barclay, and it is just not the same. Mom and I are trying to get into the spirit, but it is very hard without the two of you. Mom really misses her little gray shadow. And Dad misses seeing your smiling face every morning. I know you and Barclay are playing with your other fur brothers and sisters at the Bridge, but don't foget to come and visit when you can. We love you. Love, Dad.
*August 15, 2010. It has now been one year since you left us, Bon-Bons. Mom and I were talking about you today. We miss your happy-go-lucky spirit. Our Sweetness was always happy and wagging. Little Beau goes in for surgery tomorrow - all of you watch over him. And come by to visit mom when you can. She misses her little gray shadow. Rest easy, our sweet girl. Love, Dad.
* Christmas, 2010. Merry Christmas, Bon-Bons! Perhaps this day more than any other during the year, Mom & I miss you and all our other departed fur-kids the most. Christmas is the day for families and we wish all our family were here together today. But we know your spirit is here, and we feel your warmth and your love. We love you Bonnie. Love, Dad.
* August 15, 2011. Hello, Bon-Bons. I can't believe it has now been 2 years. I thought about you all last night, and how sad we were when you left us. But then I remembered how much joy you brought into our lives. And we wouldn't have traded that for anything. We miss you sweet girl. Love, Dad.
* Christmas, 2011. Merry Christmas, Miss Bonnie! We miss your smiling face. It was always so much fun to see our happy girl enjoy her presents & Christmas turkey! We love you Bon Bons! Love, Dad.
* August 15, 2012. Bon-Bons, how can it have been 3 years? I still think of your smiling face every day. Beau brings in the new day every morning by squeaking one of his toys, but I sure miss your smile and wagging tail that welcomed me up each day. And I know Mom misses her little grey shadow following her everywhere. Rest easy, sweet girl. Love, Dad.
* August 15, 2014. Hello sweet girl. Can't believe it has now been 5 years since we said good bye to you. Bear Monster is a doofus boy but he can't hold a candle to you. We miss you Bon-Bons. Rest easy, little grey shadow. Love, Dad.
* August 15, 2017. Oh dear Bon-Bons, how can it have been 8 years since you left us? So much has gone on this past year and we are getting ready for yet another adventure. How Mom & I wish you were with us. You always enjoyed life so much - and made life so fun! But you are forever in our hearts. Rest easy, Bonnie. Love, Dad.