I wanted a dog of my own my whole life and when I was in 10th grade, my parents finally agreed. I requested a chocolate lab, but on Christmas Eve morning there was a small basket on the hearth with a note from “Santa” that said he’d been worried this little puppy might get mixed up in his sleigh with the Beanie Babies that were all the rage that year and so he’d brought her a day early.
She wasn’t a lab, but it just so happens that I’m a pretty big fan of dachshunds and so I was thrilled. I named her Abigail and called her Abby. While I thought Abby was pretty great, it quickly became apparent that this little runt of the litter was partial to my mom. Luckily, my mom was pretty partial to Abby too. So much so in fact, that while I wanted Abby to be named something very
stupid pretentious regal like Princess Abigail, my mom forged my signature on the AKC registration and named her the much more appropriate “Itsy Bitsy Abby.” You can imagine the controversy that ensued.
Yesterday, Abby died. It feels like the end of an era. She was the last of the sweet threesome of dogs I grew up with—dogs who all had personalities that could have competed with most humans I know. My mom called Abby “the old lady”—and had been referring to her as such for the last ten years I think because that was how she always seemed.
I’m mostly sad for my mom. Losing a pet you’ve seen almost every day for more than a decade feels like losing a close friend. In Abby’s case, that friend was completely neurotic and pretty weird, but she also had sweet, big eyes and the kind of devotion you can only find in the canine species. We’ll miss her, but I’m hoping dog heaven exists and she’s much too busy hanging out with her old pals to bother with missing us.