Sunday, November 10, 2013

Constant Smile and Wagging Behind

17 years ago this cute little fur ball came into my family's life. She was a puppy from our next door neighbor's dog and my grandma decided to buy her for my grandpa. I was only 7 at the time and spent A LOT of my time with my grandparents and was so excited to have a puppy to play with. I always wanted a dog of my own, so this was the next best thing. Mitzi was the best dog right from the start. She loved to play in the water and my grandparents got her a kiddy pool to put in the backyard. Even before she was big enough to jump in that dog was in and out of the water. I spent hours in the backyard throwing the tennis ball and playing with that pup.
Pictures I took last summer of Oakley and Mitzi playing in the backyard.
 Since my mom worked my grandpa picked me up from school every day, from kindergarten till my junior year of high school. Who came with every single day? Good ole Mitzi. She was always there to greet me with a big smile and her whole back end wagging back and forth. When I wasn't in school my grandpa picked up my cousin Dan and I and took us to walk the dogs every day up Muller Park canyon. When he came to pick me up he'd let Mitzi out and she'd come meet me at the door ready to go. Everyone knew Mitzi and loved her. She would go in and out of the water and wonder off to see every person we happened to walk by. She greeted every single one with her same big smile and the wag of her entire back end. I remember one time she was sitting in the back seat of the car and had an apple she found somewhere along the walk and my grandpa threw the apple out the window. There goes Mitzi straight out the window of the moving car to get the apple.
Mitzi was a tease, she would make you think she'd give you the stick. Then she'd turn at the last second. 
Mitzi was really a neighborhood dog than a household dog. She never had a collar, she refused to wear it even when she was a puppy. She wouldn't take a leash and would just carry it in her mouth instead. It didn't ever matter, because everyone in the neighborhood knew Mitzi and loved her. Many kids and families in the neighborhood considered her their dog. She stopped to see everyone whenever she saw them. The neighbor kids would come over and knock on the door to play with Mitzi. Anyone who came to visit my grandparents house were greeted in the driveway by Mitzi and she would walk them to their car when she left. When we moved into my grandma's house it was my favorite part of the day was coming home to that sweet dog. When I'd shovel the driveway in the winter Mitzi was always right by my side and ready to play in the snow, her favorite thing. She truly was a puppy at heart to the very end.
Mitzi was the smartest dog I have ever met. My grandpa used to joke that she was smarter than George Bush. You may not believe me if you never met her, but she really understood you when you talked to her. For a while my grandparents had another lab dog named Sage. When they first brought Sage home my grandma told Mitzi that this dish is Sage and that Mitzi couldn't eat out of it. She only told her once and Mitzi (who loved food more than anything) never touched that food dish, even after Sage wasn't there anymore. My grandpa taught Mitzi one day to go get the newspaper out of the driveway when she was a puppy and that when she brought it up in the morning she would get a treat. So a couple days later Mitzi thought if she got a treat for one newspaper that if she got every newspaper in the neighborhood she'd get a whole bunch of treats, so that's what she did.  After my grandpa died my mom walked Mitzi every night after work. Mitzi, again not on a leash, would walk along side and when they got to an intersection my mom would say stop and they'd look both ways and off they'd go.
Mitzi was a stubborn dog, especially the last couple of years, she would only come inside when she wanted to and if she didn't there was nothing you could do to get her inside. Last winter Jeff and his brother, David, tried to get her to go inside one night (remember she weighed about 120 plus pounds of solid lab) and they'd push on her but and try and pick her up and there she stood firmly planted. She wanted to be outside so that's what she did.
She really was the best dog and everyone loved her. Yesterday when my mom called me and said that Mitzi was dying it broke my heart. We dropped what we were doing to go up and see her. We got there within 10 minutes of my mom's call and when we got there all the neighbors had gathered and everyone was crying and loving on Mitzi. It was the hardest thing for me to say goodbye to her and I will miss her every day. My mom, Jeff, and the two guys next door went to the vets. Mitzi didn't have the strength to stand up anymore, but she would lift her head and look at each of us with her big smile and her tail was wagging like it always had right up to the end. She knew she was surrounded by those who loved her and she got to be with her best friend again, my grandpa.
Oakley is really going to miss his friend
I can't tell you how much everyone is going to miss that sweet dog. I know Oakley really will miss her. He loved to play and chase her around the yard. He always greeted her with a kiss. We love you Mitzi.


  1. This made me cry! :( I am so sorry you lost such a good friend! Stories like these make me happy though. I am so thrilled to know that this sweet dog lived such a great life surrounded by so many who loved her. When my sweet little Ellie passed away (she was only 3), my aunt Denise told me that she believes dogs are angels sent here to be with us. I whole-heartedly believe that. You hear of so many dogs out there living in bad conditions and it is heart breaking but knowing that Mitzy had so many people who loved her and took good care of her. Isn't it incredible how these animals can have such an impact on so many people that an entire neighborhood gathered around Mitzy to pay their final respects? What a sweet dog. Thanks so much for posting this, Katie!

  2. She really is a great dog and its still really hard to not have her greeting us when we come to visit in the driveway. A couple days after she passed this little girl, none of us had ever seen before, came and knocked on the door wanting to know where her friend the big yellow dog was. She lived the street above my grandma so makes me wonder how many other people are wondering where their yellow dog friend is. I completely agree with you and Denise dogs are angels and are there when we need them.


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