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May 4, 2014

Great loss of a very good dog

The word great is overused. To me, greatness should be reserved for the absolute elite.

For a dog to be great, for instance, it needs to save someone from a burning building or fight off a bear or catch a Frisbee while blindfolded.

Pebbles never did any of those things, so maybe she wasn’t truly great. But she was really good, right up to the end.

Sure, we had squabbles. I’d like to say that I won them, with my strength of will and greater intellect, but that wouldn’t be entirely true.

There was the emotional battle over the couch. She knew that was one place she wasn’t allowed, but it was not uncommon to see her peaking sheepishly over the back when we drove up. She’d greet us at the door as if nothing happened … and then slink head down to the back door when she realized she’d been spotted and would be serving penance in the backyard.

There were the physical battles on many walks. She would attempt to sniff every tree; I would attempt to keep her on the straight and narrow, yelling, to the amusement of passers-by, “This is a walk! Not a sniff! For the love of Rin Tin Tin, please walk!”

Though we would never give her scraps in the kitchen, she would lurk around the corner every time meat was prepared. Though we’d never feed her from the table, she would saunter up to the table during every dinner.

Given the sliver of any open door, Pebbles would bolt for freedom, leading us on a merry chase. She’d let us get within an arm length or two, then dash further along, until she tired of the game, or found a particularly interesting tree to sniff.

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