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A sweet old girl

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Posted: Friday, December 5, 2014 1:41 pm

I said goodbye to a sweet old friend this week. 

My dad got a female German shorthair pointer dog when I was about 9 years old. He’s been a recreational pheasant hunter for as long as I can remember, and he was tired of borrowing dogs from friends. One day I got home from school and my dad was in the recliner with this tough little puppy curled up on his shoulder. 

I named her Addie, after one of the girls in the American Girl Doll series I was obsessed with at that age. But if I’m 25 now, that dog was at least 16 years old. For a working girl, that’s a long time. 

She was such a good girl: Not a digger or a chewer. She came when you called her and fetched birds in the field like a professional. She was big. She stayed mostly in the backyard unless the nights got too cold in the winter. When Addie did come in, she’d try to curl up on my dad like she used to. And he’d let her. My dad might be a big, tall, gruff looking guy, but put him near babies or animals and he’s a different man. 

That’s why losing Addie is tough. She was fully my dad’s girl. Seeing my dad choked up like that is hard. I stopped by to see my parents and say hello to the rest of the pets (another shorthair pointer, a rabbit and a cockatiel), and my dad told me about Addie’s final hours. 

One of the nephews was over before school and went to let Addie out into the backyard from the family room. One of those cold nights, again. But Addie couldn’t get up. My dad comforted his grandson then took him to school before carrying Addie out to the backyard. He watched her hobble slowly to her water dish and knew it was time. 

My dad laid a blanket in the back of the van, then stood at the side gate and hollered, “OK, Addie! Let’s go!”

It’s the same call he used every time they’d leave for a hunting trip, or to go on a walk. Dad said the dog’s ears perked up and she trotted over like the last ten years just fell away. 

She wasn’t my dog. But she was the dog of my childhood and I just loved her a lot. 

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