Tuesday, September 25, 2001, at about 7:30 in the evening, Wendy ceased to be--unless surprised by doggy heaven. She was ill last summer in South Bend and seemed to recover by a dose of antibiotics, but she went down pretty fast before the end.
We got Wendy in March or April of 1985 as a rollie pollie ball of white fuzz from a family west of Starkville on Hwy 12. Her mother was an ugly mutt with an Airedale-like square moustachy muzzle. Father unknown. We named her on the way home as we turned the corner onto Jackson St. just by Wendy's.
Fortunately, Wendy grew up to resemble nothing like her mother. Perhaps the Airedale-like creature was a surrogate rather than biological mom. In any case you will all remember Wendy with a sharp nose, short hair, black eyes, tannish brown ears and similar spot on her back. By last week the tan was nearly white. A circus dog, able to climb ladders and fences and able to dodge most cars.
The two outstanding qualities I remember about this puppy, whom we installed on what was then the screened porch at 311 Hogan St., were that all nasty business was done in one corner, as far from the normal traffic as possible, and she managed to get out and run away every time we turned around. Not until last week did she ever do a mess in an inappropriate place. I knew something serious had gone wrong.
The next utterly surprising thing to me about Wendy occurred on our return from Australia in January 1990. The Headons had taken care of both Wendy and Jack during 1989. Do you remember Jack? Black, beautiful, sleek, glossy, enthusiastic, and as stupid a dog as ever was made; a cross between something like a setter and something like a lab, I think. The first time I walked the dogs, on my return, Wendy was on a leash and Jack, who a year ago had always stayed next to Wendy, was free. During the year away, Jack learned to chase cars, but failed to inform me in time. He was run over in Montgomery street. Wendy seemed to know exactly what it all meant because she immediately set up a howl of grief over Jack, who though alive was paralyzed and had to be put down.
Wendy was a true Shillingsburg, full of wanderlust, wanting to explore every neighborhood and take endlessly long cross-country rides in the car. I'm sure her greatest disappointment in life was never having gotten to Australia. Her greatest sin was shedding; her greatest redeeming quality during repentance was a lowered head and eyes rolled up to peak out from under eyebrows to see if she was forgiven.
No motion has she now, no force
She neither hears nor sees;
Rolled round in earth's diurnal course,
With rocks and stones and trees.