Missing My Penelope

We’re approaching the fourth anniversary of my first dog’s death, and it still catches me off-guard. While cleaning off some old patio furniture cushions the other day, Tom found a bevy of Penelope’s white hair in the creases. And, it totally made me cry.

Penelope Grace was my first dog as an adult. We had several dogs when I was growing up, but Penelope was the first one I chose (via Dal Rescue) and raised myself. She came to live with us just a few months after I finished college. I shudder at the lack of training she had, but I was young (22) and didn’t know better. Plus, she was very, very ornery. She did pass a basic obedience class at Petsmart as a youngster, but that’s it. I never did teach her to walk well on a leash, so she dragged me around for 14+ years.

Sometimes I still marvel that walking with Lilly isn’t a struggle. I look down and see her smiling face right next to my leg and think HOLY CRAP!

Still, Penelope holds a special place in my heart, and I miss her. She loved food like you would NOT believe, so we keep her ashes on top of a bookshelf in the kitchen. Weird? Probably, but it makes sense to us.

I dug out and scanned a couple photos to share. I sent these a while back to a writer friend who was going through a rough time. She’d asked people to describe in detail what their Patronus would look like. For those who haven’t read the Harry Potter books, a Patronus is an animal made of light that shoots out of your wand to protect you from a particular brand of evil.

Since Penelope was afraid of nothing, and I mean nothing, I decided she would make a good Patronus to share. She was born in 1990, so in the bed photo she’s about 6. In the other one, I’m guessing (based on the collar color) she’s about 2 or 3.

I’m pretty sure I’ve written about this before, but she was born with a significant orthopedic birth defect in her left rear leg. That’s why it turns out. She had 2 complete feet and 2 complete ankles on that leg. The inside foot was removed when she was just a few weeks old. She also had an extra bone between her knee and her hock joint. That came out when she was about 6 months old. Then, when she was about 8, she blew out that knee, and we had that fixed. Kidney failure eventually got her when she was 14 1/2 years old. We do have photos of her as an old girl, but I prefer to think of her in her prime.

And, yes, it appears I have a *thing* for black-and-white dogs.