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Phoebe was a wild puppy. But then, I guess most puppies are pretty wild. She delighted in ambushing my older dog, another cairn named Forrest, and unmercifully harassed him. Luckily, though he was bigger and could easily have whacked her, he was a total gentleman and never did. As time went on they became devoted friends.

She always had a mischievous side. She was also smart. Before we put a rug under the dining table, she would slide a chair on the hardwood a bit away from the table, enabling her to jump on the chair and thence onto the table. If I left the room she would would jump up and gobble whatever was available, such as my morning cereal. Once when I went to consult with a plumber, she ate two entire shish kabobs, including pointy bamboo skewers. Agh! This necessitated a trip to the emergency vet, but luckily eventually everything, uh, came out all right.

Before her knees began to go bad she loved playing ball. I have a wonderful stop frame picture from video of her stretched out in midair, mouth open about to catch the ball. She particularly liked the chasing part of the game, but considered the retrieving and carrying back rather a meh activity.

She loved her walks. I hired a dog walker so that she would get lots of walks and be in the company of other dogs. She was especially fond of Busby, a handsome Westie. We referred to him as her “boyfriend.”

She particularly liked her off leash forays running on the beach or on the trails near our daughter’s home in Idaho. She was fond of wading in the streams there, constantly running from the trail to the stream and back as we hiked along.

She pursued what she wanted with vigor. If I was busy at the computer, or trying to take a nap, and she was hungry, wanted a chewy, or in the mood for a walk, she would whack me on the arm with her paw as if to say, “Get up! Let’s go out! “ or “Get off that stupid machine and fix my dinner!” Sometimes this was accompanied by impatient vocalizing.

She loved frozen blueberries, and I gave her several every morning when I put them on my cereal. She would come running when she heard the freezer open and the bag rustling. “Morning blueberries!” I would say. At night before bed she would get a little treat. “Phoebe night snack!” I would say. She was totally woven into our lives, a bright light, which is the meaning of her name.

She would often sit on a rug in the absolute center of the house. She was the heart of our home. Now I feel like that heart has been torn out. We miss her so much.

Phoebe lived 2 3/34 years after her diagnosis and initial surgery with the excellent care she received at VCSS. For all that time we had the blessing of her presence, and I believe she had good quality of life. Thank you to Dr. Freeman for making this possible, Dr. Wooldridge (who handled her orthopedic issues), and all the staff, who were wonderful and welcoming every time we came in the door.

– Louisa M.