Sunday, September 13, 2009

Ode to Valentine

the dog, not the day.

Last Saturday, September 3rd, our sweet pup of 17 years passed away.
I know I'm biased, but she really was just the best dog.

About 16.5 years ago, the Hennighausen family decided it was time for us to get a puppy. We conducted hours of research together all sprawled out on the living room floor with encyclopedias (the real books) and newspaper articles, narrowing our choices down to the perfect breed that would fit all our family's needs.

The final choice: a King Charles Spaniel.
The reasoning: small, does not shed, great around kids, calm indoor pet, pure bred, light colored hair, and various other very important things.
So we set out on our quest to find one.

About two week later my mom and us girls were driving by a parking lot. There was a little tent set up by the humane society and they were giving away puppies. We thought we should take a look...and the rest is history.

We walked away with everything we didn't want in a dog:
Black hair, sheds everywhere, hyper, loves to run and play outside- especially hearding sheep and eating birds, potentially large, a mut to the fullest extent whose past and breeding were totally unknown to us.

It was two days from Valentine's Day, so we naturally named her Valentine in the car on the way home.

My dad stared in bewilderment as the puppy that was everything BUT a King Charles Spaniel ran up to him through our driveway. He was a bit sceptical at first.

But we soon learned how wonderful our choice had been.
Valentine was the best dog our family could have asked for over the years, and incidentally she and Dad were the absolute closest. She would do anything he said.

The morning she passed away she was laying very still and barely moving in her regular sleeping spot. Dad came and found her there early and held her for about 5 minutes until she took her last breath. It almost seemed like she was just holding on until he came.


Here are a few of our family's favorite memories of her that we thought of this last week:

Incredibly effective at chasing away uninvited young boys who would sometimes try and creep up in the night (especially during slumber parties).

Was sometimes the only teenager to cheerfully greet Dad every night when hecame home from work.

Great guard dog - well, great barking dog.

Consistently gave Dad a high five many times each day by touching her nose to his hand as they passed each other around the house.

Knew that we didn't allow her on the furniture, so would wait until we left to stretch out on the sofa.

Kept an eye on everyone and anything going on in the house by watching from her lookout on the bridge. Through the years and different phases of kids in the house, she always knew who was sleep where and would position herself accordingly in order to hear and protect everyone.

Would withstand unusual physical manipulations without an angry response as multiple children rode her, pulled her, pushed her, and danced with her.

Demonstrated her health and stamina as late as last week (at over a hundred years old) by chasing a coyote down the street that was over twice her size

Everyone loved Valley-girl. She will be so missed.
Here's the whole family together last Christmas.