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By: Patsy Gates 8 May 2002
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She came into my life the same day we put our Cairn Terrier down. I did not want another dog so quickly, but everyone else did. So, we got our $5 puppy on a warm Saturday afternoon in June. I had a very difficult time for about the first week because I felt guilty about my other dog. After that, I fell madly in love with Stormie. She was the first dog I ever had that went through obedience school both beginning and advanced. I have her certificate on the wall along with her beautiful picture. Stormie learned how to heel, shake, sit, stay, come, and walk on her leash. She never forgot her lessons even right up to the end. (Photo: Stormie in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan at Sylvania Wilderness)
Stormie and I weathered many storms together. When she was 4 years old, she required surgery on her back leg: cruiciate ligament surgery and work on her knee. On a Saturday night while I was in the shower, Stormie was in the backyard (which is fenced) and all of a sudden we heard the most awful scream from her that I have ever heard from a dog. We had no idea what was going on but the ligament that holds the upper and lower parts of the back leg together had snapped when she was frightened by a stray cat in her own backyard. This surgery was expensive and it also took about 6 weeks of recuperation time for Stormie. She could not go on any walks and it took some time before she could even go outside without help. When you have a dog that weighs over 60 lbs. you need some creative ways to get her outside. We enlisted the help of the kidsí Red Flyer wagon, brought it into the house, loaded Stormie in it, and then wheeled it out to the deck where we lifted down the steps to the yard. Then we would help her stand while she did her business. Stormie was always the perfect patient; she NEVER ever complained and let us help her although she would have rather done things herself. Her beautiful, brown eyes were big as saucers when we moved her around in that wagon. I don't think she really enjoyed that but she knew she needed the assistance of her family. Stormie required the same surgery on her other leg when she was 7 years old. Again, she went through everything without complaint. I remember the night she was in the hospital in March of 1999. I drove to the parking lot, sat in my van and just prayed and cried for Stormie. Only the wall of the clinic separated the two of us but I missed her so much even though she would come home the next day. We went through another 6 weeks of recuperation and things healed nicely. Finally we could go for our walks again!
Stormie came to us in June of 1992 when she was 8 weeks old. She weighed 10 lbs. and was the first puppy the kids remember having. Since I have 4 kids and they were much younger then, Stormie had a lot of people to play with. Stormie loved to run in the backyard. She went on her first 2 week vacation with us in July of 1992. It was very interesting camping with 4 kids and a puppy. Stormie was a natural. She was never a barker and took to the outdoors just fine. (Photo: Stormie camping in the Upper Peninsula...she loved to watch the loons) This was the vacation when we lost the transmission in our van while pulling our camper out in the middle of nowhere! Every summer we went on a 2 week camping vacation which sometimes required 8 hours of driving time. Stormie was fine; the kids gave her water from their water jugs and Stormie had a pillow to lay on on the floor of the van. When we finally got to our campsite, she was the first one we got out of the van because she just couldnít wait. We had to keep her on a chain, which was different for her, but she never complained. Since our backyard is fenced in, she never had to be tied at home. In a campground far away from home, I would not take any chances. We gave Stormie plenty of walks on the leash and she slept with my daughter in the camper at night..right in bed with her with her own blankie. Stormie was just another kid in the family. Her blankie and dishes are still in the camper and I dread seeing them again. It wonít be easy for me. Stormie was fascinated with the loons on the lake where we camped many times. She watched and listened to their eerie cries but never bothered them or any other animal. Stormie seemed to sense that all life is precious; she will always be a very special part of my life. It seems like many times Stormie had more sense about life than many people do!
We were in for a treat on December 25, 1992. Stormie just seemed to know what to do right from the start. I put the kidsí presents under the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve after they had gone to bed. Once they were all arranged, Stormie walked up to the tree, took a present, held it between her front paws, and proceeded to open it with her teeth! I had never seen anything like it! Since it was not her present, I had to take it away. On Christmas morning, Stormie thought EVERY present was hers! She got her share thatís for sure and we have her on video opening her own presents. It is the sweetest thing I have ever seen. The kids got a little miffed at times because everytime they would get a present, Stormie was right there to help them open it. Christmas day of 2001 saw Stormie still opening presents although she did a lot of sleeping too. She was her happy, smiley self and we had no idea that it would be her last Christmas on this earth with us. (Photo: Stormie opening Christmas presents)
Some of my fondest memories and the things I miss the most are: whenever I would have yogurt, Stormie would get the container to lick out. She loved to do that! I can still see her with the container between her paws, her nose deep in the container. I always shared my popcorn with her and she also got some of my chicken when I had that. I can hardly eat those things now because she is not here to share them with me. Stormie was the most loyal dog anyone could ever hope for. Whenever I came home (even if I just came in from being outside), she would greet me with that big, fluffy curly, tail wagging and her smiley face. I could always count on her to be there for me. Stormie LOVED cats!!! Each night when we went for a walk, we had to visit Brutus, who lived at the end of our street. Brutus died about 6 months ago. Stormie still wanted to go to the porch where he used to be. In fact, our last walk together on Feb. 14, 2002 took us to his front porch. Stormie thought all cats loved her. I had to protect her when there were cats that hissed and raised their backs because Stormie just thought they all loved her like she loved them. (Photo: Stormie laughing)
Wintertime was Stormieís favorite season; she just loved the snow! I can still see her on her back, wiggling and twisting in the snow just for the fun of it! She would also eat the snow. Often I would make snowballs and put them in the freezer. In the summertime, imagine the puzzled look on Stormieís face when I gave her a snowball in a dish! She loved it! Plus it didnít have any calories. The winter of 2001-2002 gave us some deep snow just like the year before. Stormie would plod into the snow even when it was up to her ears; thatís how much she loved snow. We did have to snowblow a path for her to do her business when it got really deep. Sometimes I went out and shoveled a path around the backyard for her. She would sit on the deck just watching and wagging her tail.
My daughter has a rabbit named Moose and Stormie was very good to Moose. Now mind you, Moose weighs 3 lbs. And Stormie weighed over 65 lbs. Moose marched right up to Stormie everynight and sniffed her. Stormie just looked at her and then laid back down. Sometimes she would move to another spot if she didnít want to be bothered. I remember the last week Stormie was with us, Moose went up to Stormie in the livingroom and was chewing on her hair! Stormie just looked at her. She didnít care; Moose was her friend. Stormie got "bunny nummers" everynight from my daughter. She would go in the bedroom and wait to get her treat: alfalfa nibble rings for rabbits that Moose would have nothing to do with but Stormie would eat them!!! Moose was very upset and thumped over and over the first night Stormie was gone. She looked for her everywhere and it was a sad thing to see. Before we had Moose, we had a bunny named Smudge. He and Stormie were also friends; when Smudge went to heaven, Stormie kept looking for him. Now they are together.
Stormie loved carrots and would do almost anything to get a nice, big carrot. When she was a little puppy, she once won a dog race because I was at the finish line with broccoli! She loved to lie out on the back deck and in the summertime she would lay UNDER it in the dirt to keep cool. Stormie dug herself a hole to lay in under the deck and after her last leg surgery, I dug with a shovel way down in front of the deck lowering the ground level to make it easier for her to get under the deck. I didnít want her to have to crouch so much to get under; she was able to just walk under the deck and lay down. When it got really hot in the summer like in 2001, we took Stormie down the basement where she stretched out on the cement floor. It was hard getting her to go down all those steps but I would stay just in front of her and go backwards right in front of her and then she was fine. Stormie also loved to lay out in the backyard; when the weather got nice, she would rather be outside than inside. .
The squirrels in the backyard would sit in the trees and chatter away at Stormie; she would look up at them like "WHATEVER." She was not impressed with them and would not chase them. We NEVER left her outside when we went away and she would reluctantly come in if mommy said "Stormie, do you want a carrot?" Stormie also loved salad! If I would put some in her dish and say, "go look in your dish" she would trot to her dish in the kitchen. When the kids had salad, they would have to give her some pieces. Stormie just plain loved food! Since we had to keep her weight down due to the leg surgeries, she got a lot of vegetables and we put pumpkin in her food to fill her up. I still have the last can of pumpkin in my cupboard that I bought for Stormie. I had to turn the can around because I can hardly stand to look at it. I miss her so very much!
Sometimes when I went to the pet store, I took Stormie along. Before we even turned on the street, she would be whining because she knew where we were going and she was excited! When we went in the pet store, Stormie would walk right up to the cashier and get into the treats under the cash register! She knew just where they were and she never failed to get her share of treats. We would walk the aisles, she on her leash and me pushing the cart. Stormie had a good time just investigating everything, and she always stopped at the cat cages to wag her tail and sniff the cats up for adoption. It was a great joy to buy things for her that I knew she would enjoy. When I went to pay for my things, Stormie would stand on her hind legs and put her front paws on the counter asking for more treats! She sure knew how to get what she wanted! Everyone said she was so cute and she was!
I miss seeing Stormie in her normal places. She loved to lay by the front door; that was her place. When she wanted to be left alone or when she knew mommy was going to put stuff in her ears (which she hated), she would go under the endtable in the livingroom which was quite a feat for a dog her size. Sometimes Stormie would lay in the kitchen under the table or on the floor.
I still canít believe sheís not here in my house. Stormie was a true gift from God for I have never had such a wonderful, compassionate, loyal dog. In many ways, Stormie was so much easier to love and be around than most people! She made it easy to love her. Anyone who saw her, loved her. Little kids would always want to pet her. She was just that kind of dog. Stormie captured my heart and when she left, part of it went with her. Stormie is truly unique. She is missed constantly. I am very blessed for having had Stormie in my life for almost 10 years. Although Stormie is not in my present life now, she is in my past and she IS in my future. It will be wonderful to see her again and look into those liquid, brown eyes full of love and kiss her beautiful face. A person has not truly lived until they have known the love of an animal as I have known with Stormie. Wait for me little horsey! Mommy will be coming soon. Then we can go for many, many walks in all of eternity.
Mommy loves you Stormie. Iíll always miss you. You are so very, very special.
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