Posted in Family Legends at 6:57 pm

Windy's 9th BirthdayWe choose a Neuf because we always have numerous small guests underfoot (2-footed) and we lived next to a lake – although I never would have let my children go down to the lake alone, extra insurance never hurt.

Windy arrived as a small ball of fur (she never looked that beautifully brushed again) with paws half the size of my foot. Small is a relative term – even at 10 weeks she was bigger than the dogs of many of my friends. She was named after Windows 95 which had just been released. (My husband did not want to give the dog a name that could be confused with a person and my kids thought it was Peter Pan’s girlfriend). Everyone happy.

The question of using a city vet or a country vet was quickly settled – within hours of her arrival a bee stung her on the nose. Horror ensued, so we raced to the country vet (I don’t recommend the methodology but the choice was excellent.)

Windy fulfilled every expectation of protection one could hope for from a dog. We never had a single fear of being attacked by a new mailman. A 150-pound bear rug lying in wait for her daily cookie (freely dispensed by the regular guys) was an absolute deterrent to getting our mail whenever a newcomer had to deliver.

No one was going to drown in the lake on her watch. One foolish guest had thought about swimming across the lake in lieu of the laps he might have done in a pool. As long as he swam with his head out of water there was no problem. As soon his head went in the water Windy was off the dock and swimming over to him barking hysterically. When she stuck her head under his arm so that he could cling to her, he was a little slow about cooperating with the rescue. No problem – she decided that he might have been scared of her teeth so she swam with her tail in his face. Guest swimmer stood up (it wasn’t that deep near our house) explained he was OK and then started swimming again. She didn’t believe him and swan along him the whole way barking.

In some immaculate homes there is very little scope for job appreciation for the maid. They work all day dusting and cleaning and there really isn’t much of a visible difference. We did not have this worry in our home. Windy spent her days going outside to watch for the mailman or other friends, making sure to pick up as many leaves and sticks as possible in her fur. She would then come inside for a drink, a brief visit to check on the home’s occupants and to unload her fur. Some days I wondered if it would be simpler if I could just convince everyone that wood chips were the latest in organic home floor coverings. The maids would uncomplainingly clean every floor, thinking my children were exceptionally messy.

Things came to a head when we had a Hispanic dog sitter and the maids coming while we were on vacation. The maids finally asked the dog sitter if she were staying at the house or had had a large number of people there since the floors were so messy. The dog sitter laughed and assured them it was all just Windy.

In later years Windy had arthritis that the vet would prescribe medicine for when it was particularly bad. Despite the dangers of side effects, it really was a miracle drug. Windy would go from slow wanderings in and out of the house to little bounces of joy whenever a family member would approach. It also would give her the urge to wander.

I would get calls from the police saying that my dog had been reported wandering down the street. I would indignantly assure them that someone had not realized where Windy lived or had to have enticed Windy away since she could barely walk. After the third course of treatment (3 months apart) and the third call from the police I decided maybe the neighborhood kids weren’t trying to get Windy to play with them and she might really have been wandering. I did apologize to our policemen.

After what looked like a stroke Friday it looked like she might pull through and regain the use of her limbs. While she briefly improved Saturday it was clear that she was sinking again Sunday. After 12 and half years of living with Windy, we took her to the vet Sunday and said good-bye.

She was a wonderful dog.

Comments are closed.