Mandy Went to the Rainbow Bridge

The house is quiet today. No barking at the mailman; no paws thumping on the floor running from window to window; no being chased into the bathroom by a barking growling dog emerging from the darkness in the middle of the night. She never bit me, but she liked to chase. No more barking when I brushed my teeth. She didn’t like that for some reason. She could be a weird dog.

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I had lots of funny names for our family pet dog. I rarely called her by the name Mandy. Mostly I just called her Dogger. Sometimes I called her Dogger Wogger, Dogger Strudel, Schnitzel eating Dogger, Miss Thing, Woof E. Dogger, the Wild Dingo, or Gray Bearded Dogger (as she got older her muzzle turned gray and she looked like she had a white doggie beard).

Mother got Mandy from a neighbor who had adopted her from the pound as a puppy. The neighbor couldn’t keep her. When she came to our home, she was still just a little thing. At the shelter, they called her Cutie Pie. The neighbor named her Mandy, and Mother liked the name so much she kept it.

Mother would sing out to her “Maan-Dee-Pan Der,” and I would sing back: “The Saan-Fran-Cis-Co Treat.” Mother would respond back on behalf of Mandy Dogger: “I’m not a San Francisco Treat, but I like Treats!”

Yes, she liked treats. She was spoiled. Every morning Dogger would get her morning treats of Baconens and Bonney Wonnies. Sometime I would hide them under throw rugs for her to find. She would sniff and paws up the rugs to get to them. She liked cake and ice cream too. Here is Dogger waiting for her bite of Mother’s birthday cake.

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Many times we played “meat rain.” I would chop up some hotdogs or a sausage into little pieces and toss them around the room for her to sniff out and gobble up. She chased the little pieces of meat falling out of the air that bounced off her back, landed in the cushions of the couch, and rolled under tables. She would snatch them up. When they were gone she would keep looking. “They’re all gone Baby,” Mother would tell her, “they’re all gone.” Then she would lie on the loveseat or the couch for a while and nap.

She was protective of her turf. She took up her spot on the couch. Whenever someone walked down the street, a kitty or a loose dog or a wild bunny ventured into the yard, she threw a fit, running back and forth between the living room window and the bedroom window, leaping over obstacles, barking the whole time. At the living room window, she would plant her front paws up on the back of the couch, pushing the cushions further and further down, barking up a storm, and rubbing her nose on the picture window, until it was so covered in dog snot you couldn’t hardly see out anymore. It didn’t stop Mandy Dog from woofing until the intruder was gone. When Miss Chicky Chicky was still with us, she would come into the front yard for her breakfast of corn. Mandy always thought the corn was for her. Dogger would watch her peck away at the corn through the front window. It would drive poor Dogger crazy crazy!

The cushions on the couch, however, didn’t survive the onslaught! Mandy Dog’s favorite perch, where she could survey the entire front yard was with her back feet on couch seat, and front feet on back cushions. No matter how much Mother yelled at her to get down, Dogger had her territory to defend. Little by little the cushions tore loose; day-by-day the cushion was smashed further and further down. Don’t worry too much; we bought the couch used.  Dogger! Look what you did!

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She kept watch.

When visitors came inside to visit, she was always well behaved. She would sit next to mother, perched on the arm of the couch. Imagine that, a seventy-pound dog perched on the arm of the couch.

If Mother went outside, Mandy would whine and fuss as she watched through the window, as if Mother was going to leave her. If Mother did leave her for a while she would sit on the couch and howl. Mandy thought she was alone. If I was home, I would have to go talk to her so she could calm down. Then she sat there at the window and waited. She would not do anything else but wait. Poor Mandy had separation anxiety.

When the city storm sirens sounded, she would howl right along with them. We said Mandy was singing. Howwrull.

At night, she had her own pillow to sleep on. She slept right between Mother and David. Mother married him after my parents divorced. Mandy would lay on the blankets, and Mother would have to pull them out from under her. She was a blanket hog!

When I cooked, Dogger laid near the stove waiting for her dinner. If someone opened the fridge, she was right there looking for something to eat. She knew where the food was. Whenever Mother and David ate, she barked and barked at them for food, until they gave her something off their plates (and they always did). Dinnertime was always noisy. I told Mother, Mandy has you trained to feed her; she knows you will always give in. Of course, Mother (unaware) trained Dogger to do that, but she will never admit it. How could you resist that poor beggar dogface with sad pitiful eyes! She starving and will get all skinny if she doesn’t get a bite of hamburger, or spaghetti (she would dump her plate on the floor and eat the noodles off the carpet), or some chicken. She also liked watermelon, cucumbers, and cheese (she liked cheese a lot). She was also a ham dog. If I made ham, she would gobble chunks of ham and get to chew on a big ham bone too.

When Mother came into my room, Mandy would slip in behind her. If the light was off or the room was dark, when Mother left and closed the door she would leave Mandy behind. Dogger was black and would get lost in the dark. I would tell poor Dogger, “Did she leave you?” We would sit and wait for Mother’s return. Then Mother would realize Mandy was missing, and have to come and let her out. Many times, she left poor Mandy dog in the dark.

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Mandy is gone now. No more Dogger in the window, or lurking in the dark. No more begging for food, and no more “meat rain.” She was doing just fine. At first, she didn’t want to eat and just lay around. The vet gave her some pills to stimulate her appetite, but she still didn’t want anything. Not even ham! Then she started drooling and snot running from her nose. We made her an appointment to see the vet, but she passed away in the night. She was up walking around Saturday night and gone Sunday morning.

Mother found her in the night, lying in her spot on the couch by the window. She went to pet her and found she was not moving. She woke me up around 3 a.m. and told me she was gone. Poor Mandy Dog passed away. She was 10 years old. She went to play with the other dogs at the rainbow bridge.

We buried Mandy in the backyard. Two neighbors came over, father and son, and dug a hole for us. I wrapped Mandy in a sheet and we laid her in the hole. We went back into the house and they finished putting the dirt in. Mother was choked up and crying.

David didn’t fully understand what happened. He has dementia. He saw me lay Mandy on the sheet and wrap her up. He asked where she had gone, and thought maybe she had run away. Mother tried to explain to him that she had died. This just upset Mother even more.

Mother placed some pink artificial flowers on the spot where Mandy was buried. David finally came out to see the place. He has stopped asking where she is now, so I think he understands. Here is a picture. That is a brick to mark the site.

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Here is a picture of Mandy Dogger with Mother.

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Mandy Dogger: August 31, 2006 – September 18, 2016

Mother gathered up all her toys and collar. She put them into an empty popcorn can for safekeeping. Mother said she didn’t want any more animals. Later she mentioned maybe getting a kitty, at some time in the future. A little white kitty.

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