This is the story of a dog named Sunny. It began on tax day 1993 with her birth in Williamstown to an average litter of puppies. About the same time a woman that had always wanted a small house dog decided it was time go to looking for one. Her son would soon graduate from high school and begin attending college. Perhaps it was time to find a four legged companion she had often thought about.
After talking it over with her husband, they decided to find a puppy to share their family’s lives. The lady soon traveled to the breeders business to view the new litter of Dachshund that had not yet opened their eyes. Their was a variety of colors for the lady to choose from. Soon, it came down to a choice between one with deep red hair or a smaller black one. The small black one had a little white and tan on its face, giving it a bit of personality. Finally she chose the dark one. She named her, Killer Sunflower on the AKA papers. I am not sure why she called the little dog, Killer, but Sunflower reminder her of the bright flowers in her garden.
Sunny was barely six inches long when she came home for the first time. When she walked through the tall grass in the yard on two inch legs the woman smiled at how funny she looked.
From the start, the small dog loved to play. As she began to grow she retrieved toy balls that were bigger than she was by pushing them with her nose. Time soon passed and the miniature dachshund continued to grow. By fall she was the size the breeder said she would grow to be. But, Sunny continued to grow, and grow. By the end of the first year she was a full size Dachshund. The family had paid for a miniature and in the end they owned a full size dachshund.
Time passed and the son went off to college to begin his new life. The woman and her husband were once again alone in their family’s home, except for Sunny. Like in most families, it was hard when the sound of their son was no longer part of their daily world. But, now a new sound had taken over the house as Sunny ran and played with her toys most of the day. They once bought her a yellow and green ball with a fuzzy tail attached. Inside was a small motor. When turned on it would roll wildly around the room. Sunny would chase the ball until the battery ran down or the man tired of the endless banging on the furniture.
One day on a warm summer afternoon, Sunny took her ball outside to play. After a time of throwing it to the untiring dog the man sat down in the yard swing and closed his eyes.
At first Sunny pushed the ball against his foot to try and get him to continue playing. But, the man continued to ignore the dogs pushing the ball onto his foot. He doesn’t remember how long it took, but soon Sunny stopped trying to get him to play.
In front of the house a small stream no wider than a couple of feet ran through the yard. After a while a strange sound began coming from below the creek bank. Sunny decided if no wanted to play toss the ball, she would go diving for it in the muddy water of the creek. Time after time she felt for the ball with her feet and when she found it she disappeared into the murky water and returned with the muddy ball. After that, the man called her DogerWoger, part dog and part pollywog.
Sunny loved the sunshine, so much so, she began climbing onto the back of the couch and lying in the front window. The woman made her a soft pillow bed and placed it on the window seal. When the family went to work, Sunny would lie in the warm sun that came through the window and dream of playing ball. When the woman returned home and opened the kitchen door, Sunny would be bouncing up and down welcoming her home.
Eating may not have been as important to Sunny as playing ball, but it sure ranked up pretty high on her list of things she liked to do.
A combination of those two once led to a major problem for her. While visiting their son and his family, Sunny was playing ball with their grandson. Time after time Sunny retrieved the small ball in her mouth. Then someone offered her a piece of food. For an instant, Sunny forgot the ball was a toy and not food. The ball disappeared and Sunny got her treat. A few days later surgery recovered the small blue ball.
Sunny could sniff out a new plastic ball faster than a bloodhound on a convicts trail. Toys left under the Christmas tree were searched out with her ever reading the name tag. If the family visited a Chinese restaurant Sunny would know as soon as the door opened. Upon the woman’s return Sunny would bounce around until she was given the warm egg roll she expected. They never forgot to bring one and Sunny never expected less.
The years passed and Sunny grew older with each passing tax day birthday. Before you knew it, fourteen years had passed and the once energetic bundle of joy had slowed down. Now, playing time was short and sleep time was longer. The warm egg roll from the Chinese restaurant grew cold sometimes before she would wake to eat it. In dog years she was very mature for a dog, in people years she was over a hundred.
By her 15th year Sunny slept most of the days. Her perfect bathroom habits were now behind her in a little puddle. Still, Sunny wagged her tail and occasionally rolled the ball with her nose. The family knew the time was coming soon. She was not suffering and the family hoped they would not have to make a painful decision.
Two weeks before her 16th birthday, the woman covered Sunny with her favorite blanket before going to work. Sunny went quietly to sleep for the last time.
We tell ourselves they are just dumb animals, but in reality, they are family. I am sure anyone who has ever had a family pet can understand the loss of a long time friend, even if it has four legs, sheds on your clothes and swallows a fifteen hundred dollar blue ball. The loss is real and the pain can hurt even the strongest of us.
Sunny was my wife’s dog and friend. She was a big part of our family for many years. She will long be remembered for the simple joy she added to our lives.
Sunny is buried on the hillside near our house, a place where the sun will always shine on her. Our pets ask very little of us except to be loved and the occasional Chinese egg roll. Remember Sunny this tax day, and the special bond all our pets have with us as family, when we look Thru the Lens.