Friday, February 12, 2016

My Beloved Cheyenne RIP

Now it has ended but this is how it all began, Posted December 8th 2009, the day after I picked her up on Pearl Harbor Day.

Meet Cheyenne

Okay, it's not my kind of name, but she is my kind of dog. 73 pounds (33.2 kg) of Labrador love. I picked her up just before lunch yesterday, and we spent a rather hectic afternoon together once I signed the adoption papers and forked over $50- cheap at twice the price in my opinion. The Florida Keys Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has it's work cut out for it; I don't recall seeing a sign like this at any other animal shelter:

There were lots of dogs to choose from but my wife spotted Cheyenne at the Holiday Parade Saturday night and my heart was set on her. This was her neighbor, cute and full of life.

They are trying to raise five million bucks to build a hurricane proof air conditioned shelter here on Stock Island and they do a great job with what they have, cobbled together pens and kennels and a surprising amount of love:

Volunteers walk the dogs and spend time with them. Cats roam free in a large cage, if they are suitable for the communal experience while some of the dogs get to hang together in groups and play madly. Cheyenne was aloin her pen when I arrived
Neither of us needed it but we got a get-to-know-you-walk together and she was as ready to go home as I was.
She's a cheerful dog, wagging her tale on her way to saying goodbye to her former fellow inmates. She was dumped at the pound on October 27th 2009 by a military family from Louisiana, who, to my horror got rid of her, their older dog, and kept their younger animal. What a mistake they made. I cannot imagine the cruelty of dumping your family pet because she is old. And Cheyenne is a very young eight. She's never coming back here, that's a promise.
Cathy checked me out and told me about her issues, the usual skin problems caused mostly I suspect by stress, ears itching and so forth. No big deal. She was spayed by the pound (eight years old and not previously spayed- who are these idiot people who dare to own dogs?) and she got a vet's check out before being put up for adoption.No heart worm which is nice and a bit surprising
Before we could leave my wife had to come by and bond with the dog so the SPCA is sure the animal would be compatible in the home. They checked county records to be sure I owned my house, and then all the shelter workers came by to say good bye to their favorite Labrador and we were off.
The plan was to take a quick walk, go home and relax. The day did not go as planned. Cheyenne walked straight to the car and climbed into the back seat like a pro. This was going to be easy I said to myself.
We stopped by Little Hamaca city park and Cheyenne was off, sniffing and checking every little piece of greenery out. She looked like a dog in need of stimulation, and I think she found the right home because I know every wild dog walk within 30 miles of my home.
She rides like a dog raised to be in a car, settled in the back seat, never bothering me at the wheel. I left her to do a little light shopping (brushes, bowls, some food etc...) and she sat quietly in the car while I was gone. It was heartwarming to come back to the car and see the little yellow head peering out looking for me.
The beach brings out the juvenile in a dog and I met a couple of my friends who wanted to see my "new" dog on the waterfront. We ate our Badboy burritos at a Rest Beach table (and I was delighted to see no begging!) and let her loose on the sand. She started to run like a newly liberated dog.
Cheyenne doing her pit bull imitation tearing up and down the beach ears flat back:
She apparently has never been trained to enjoy the water and she didn't do much more than paddle around a bit before fleeing back to dry land
Noel thought the water was too cold so I had to explain a little about the Labrador breed's heritage as boat dogs raised in the cold Canadian North. They were first recorded as a distinct breed in Britain arriving off a Canadian fishing boat in 1820. In England they were trained to retrieve birds shot down in brush and bog. They thus have thick oily coats and Key West's balmy waters even in winter are nothing to them.
It really was time to bugger off home and do some settling in. So off we went, Cheyenne doing her duchess thing in the back after a firm rub down with a towel...

..before settling down for a nap while I did the chauffeuring thing up front. We got as far as SugarloafKey when my wife called requiring my presence back in her classroom on Stock Island. Heavy lifting is my specialty. She was in a meeting so I figured young Cheyenne might as well get some more of the great outdoors she had obviously been missing for a while. We went to the Bat Tower.
It's pure speculation on my part and I doubtless have an over active imagination when it comes to dogs but I spent apart of the afternoon wondering how long she had fallen out of favor before the bastards dumped her. I wondered about being supplanted by a new younger dog in the family and being sidelined. I wondered even if they had had the gall to breed her and kept one of her puppies to replace the aging version. I really don't understand the prejudice against older dogs. To me they are more deserving of care and love and security. And Cheyenne is great company. She found an abandoned lunch on a utility trailer bed and amused me for a few minutes as she circled and tried to figure how to get it. She leaped up and almost nailed it but gave up.

I am a lot less fanatical than some about what a dog puts in their mouth. Emma, my last Labrador sailed with us through central America along with our husky mix. They ate anything and everything they could find in every harbor we stopped in, and along every beach. Chocolate, chicken, greasy nastiness, whatever they found they ate and no way was I sticking my hand in their mouths. I metanother cruiser who freaked every time his German Shepherd so much as looked at the gutter. I found my style of travel was much less stressful and the dogs did fine. I have no doubt Cheyenne will too. Though I do want to try to keep the weight off as much as I can in our calorie filled world. Labradors don't age much and I want her as long as possible.

The last I saw of her before I went in to work for some late night overtime was a big yellow mound next to my wife's shape under the covers. She stopped snoring a moment and raised her head off the bed. Then she flopped down and I tip toed out and fired up the Bonneville. A home isn't a home without a Labrador and a rescued Labrador is the only way to go. Why buy a dog when there are so many abandoned animals looking for love and appreciating it when they get it? I just don't know why you'd encourage people to produce more dogs when there are more than enough already available.
I won! No, my wife and I both won! No the SPCA won! No really, Cheyenne won the lottery (look at her on the bed for confirmation). Now we just need to figure out a new name.

I may have to take a few days off. I know life goes on and all that but this page is as much about Cheyenne it turns out and I cannot face this blank page without her for now. Time heals all things but this obituary was prepared before the event and now I need to rest and remember before picking up again. I miss her so very very much. Tear are inadequate.


Andrew A said...

Michael, I'm so sorry. Thanks for sharing Cheyenne with us these past years.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry for your loss, Michael. Hearts are breaking and tears are flowing everywhere. She was a special dog (they all are) and thank you for sharing her with us

Anonymous said...

Michael - I am so very sorry to hear about your beloved Cheyenne! You shared so much of her with us that many hearts are broken right along with you. RIP Cheyenne. Thank you for sharing her with all of us.

Mike Ward said...

Michael - Such sad news, my thoughts are with you and your wife.

SonjaM said...

Michael, so sorry for your loss. Cheyenne had a lovely home that's for sure, and through your eyes and words we had a bit of her. Thank you having shared her with us.

Richard Holt said...


Sherry said...

I'm so sorry. She was a great dog and you gave her a wonderful life. Bless you and your wife.

Mike Harris said...

I am sincerely so very sorry for your loss, which because of your writing and blog is our loss as well. I grew to love Cheyenne and hoped one day when I was back home in my native Key West I would see the both of you...and naturally say hello to Cheyenne. What a life of love and exploration she led because of you and your wife. In the end all that matters is that life is a collection of memories. No doubt Cheyenne forgot about her ugly past and remembered only the good that you provided. The rest of us were graced with her presence because of you, and your blog provides enough memories to last a lifetime.
Requiescat in pace, Cheyenne.

Anonymous said...

Michael, So sorry for your loss. She was a great pooch and I really enjoyed following her adventures. Take care, take your time, and we'll see you back when you're ready.

Ginney Camden said...

I am so terrible sorry for your great loss. I know there are no words to express how you must feel. Thank you so much for sharing her with us!

Anonymous said...

Run free pretty girl! We will all miss you. So glad we got to follow your adventures for a little while.

David Masse said...

Michael, I new this day would come and I was dreading it.

Please accept my deepest sympathies on the loss of Cheyenne. It was a pleasure to read about her, and an honor when she visited us last year.

No dog could have asked for a better savior. The fact that she lived to be so old, by large dog standards, speaks eloquently for the care that the two of you took of her. The day that you stopped by the shelter was beyond doubt the luckiest day of her long life.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your time with her. I really miss her already.

Anonymous said...

How we all looked forward to your pictures with your pal because she became our pal as well . But as her end drew near, we hoped, along with you, she might sail away, secretly in the night.
No- one could have given her the ride of her life as you two did.
And how blessed she was to have had that long voyage from beaches & parks, to old Key West lanes.
We all will walk with her , now, no matter where we go, and gently await for her spirit to return, should you find a sister soul in yet, another.
Here's to Cheyenne.

Conchscooter said...

She died as she lay in my arms without a needle and no decision on my part. I miss her terribly. The house is empty. But I have no regrets
Thank you for all good wishes.

SalParadise said...

I am sorry. I just had to put down my best friend, my lab of 12 years so I know how you feel. So very sad. The day after my dog died, for two days at least , I was not myself. Go easy. You rescued Cheyenne that is so wonderful, but damn is it hard to let them go. Rest in peace, old friend.

Perry Cumbie said...

What a great life you gave her!
Sorry for your loss, Michael.

Trish R said...

I'm crying right along with you, Michael. I will miss the Cheyenne pics and stories. RIP Cheyenne. She had a great life!

Gretchen said...

I'm so sorry. I've followed your journeys since she came into your life. She was lucky to have found you. RIP Cheyenne. You will be missed.

Anonymous said...

All that you did for her and all that she did for you are beyond words.
You know in your heart what you meant to each other.

Sadness for your loss. And tears.


Dea said...

Oh I am so sorry Michael.. my heart is breaking for you.. We have had several neighbors who just had to put their dogs to sleep and my own dog who is 13 1/2 is not doing well. We all dread the moment we have to say goodbye but hopefully your wonderful memories of Cheyenne will carry you through this tough time. I so enjoyed reading about her and her antics and she definitely had a wonderful home with you!

Sandi Foster said...

such sad news...she was such a wonderful companion and she had so many fans ... we will all miss her.. thank you for sharing her with us.. take good care.. ♥

Anonymous said...

I'm in the airport crying about your dog.
I just left my friend who's wife is dying,
to go home to my wife and two goldens.
All your readers have felt it a privlige
to know your dog. Thank you for that.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about the loss of Cheyenne !

Ken in Cleveland