Before there was Lincoln, there was Shaggy. Before Shaggy, there was Mystery. On July 30, 2017, she turned 13. She’s the original wheaten (at least for our family).
My parents got Mystery in 2004. My mom had recently retired and wanted to get a dog. My mom and dad went to visit the litter in Long Island. They had no specific requests other than the puppy be sweet. One little girl came over to them and put her paw on my dad’s leg. They say wheatens pick their owners, which I think is true. The little girl was going home to my parents.
I was living in New York City and came up to Connecticut for the weekend to go with my parents to bring her home. In between the time they met the litter and found out who they were getting, they just referred to the pup as “Mystery.” Once they brought her home, they’d decide on a name.
At 9 weeks old, the puppy was sweet, but nervous. She sat on my lap and strained to look out the window at the outside world. She was fluffy, curious and felt very fragile. She peed a bit on the towel on my lap, but that’s normal. Puppy’s are often scared on that ride. Also, small bladders.
Once we got her home, she settled into the family room. She played with her toys and went into her crate. She even went into the backyard. But when it came time for bed, I tried to take her upstairs to my parents bedroom. She cried because it was another new place, her third or fourth for the day. Instead, she slept in the family room on my brother’s chest.
Mystery grew from shy puppy to a grand dame. Despite some health issues, she still likes to roam around town with my dad and loves the beach. They’ve had a lot of adventures: getting stuck in quick sand, taking a nap in the cemetery and the mystery of the black cat.
She’s never been a good eater, but my mom has worked hard to make sure she eats. She now cooks for her and hand feeds her. She gets her “ice cream” every night (yogurt) and all of her medicines. She’s my parent’s third child.
At the age of 8, she was diagnosed with Addison’s Disease. Last December, she was diagnosed with a tumor in her liver. I wasn’t sure if I’d see her again after I visited at Christmas. I was happy I got to spend her birthday with her for the first time in 9 years.
She moves at a slower pace and sleeps more. But that puppy did shine through. We played her favorite game, Shoe, with me and she even humped me to show me she was still my boss.
Before we left for the airport, she positioned herself so she could stare at me. I wanted to think it was because she wanted to play shoe. I was hoping she wasn’t gazing at me for the last time. I cuddled with her on the ride to the airport and loved her up as much as I could. I did the same in December and I hope to do it again this December.
Its the beauty and heart ache of having a dog. When they are with you, they are your loving shadow. And then they leave you. We all know it, but push it off as much as we can. You don’t want to future trip to a place that hurts too much and doesn’t yet exist. “It’s the cycle of life,” you say.
For now, this girl is squeezing every drop out of every day and having a good time. It’s a good lesson to see–stay in the moment and live every day to the fullest. It’s all we can guarantee.
Happy 13th birthday, Mystery!