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Oboe Says Goodbye to Cousin Penny

Posted Jun 16 2008 6:12pm

When Oboe was a newborn, he spent almost every weekday for the first year of his life with my in-laws. Their home was a puppy daycare, since the hubby and I both worked full time, more than 30 minutes from home. We just couldn’t leave a newborn pup alone for up to nine hours each and every day, so Oboe’s Grammy and (Big) Papa came to the rescue.

 Some of the best times of Oboe’s early childhood were spent with his cousin Penny, the pride and joy of my sister-in-law Gayle. While Penny didn’t really like to be jumped upon by other dogs, especially one three times her size, she always ‘tolerated’ Oboe and his puppy playfulness.

Even more so, Penny was a people-dog. Such a sweet pup, always cuddling on her Auntie-Kim’s lap, giving crazed smooches, but typically only on my nose (ironically the same way my youngest step-child kisses me to this day). So tiny compared to Oboe, in both body-size and tongue-licking capacity. Today, Oboe says “good-bye” to Cousin Penny as we remember her in this wonderful piece written by Gaylianno and shared with family earlier this week. 

On May 28th, 2008 Penny left this world and went on to the next.  After eighteen years we knew the end was coming, and we wondered each day if it was time to let her go.  People told us when the time came we would “just know.”  We didn’t want her to suffer, but we also didn’t want to deprive her of even one minute of the joy she found in life.  Lately it was only her naps in the sun that gave her joy.  But before her eyes and ears failed, she use to love running up trees after squirrels, running down the path on our walks, and running after rabbits, howling in full beagle ecstasy.  


Penny was made to run.  Even when she was old, despite her rickety joints, she ran on every walk, scouting ahead of us, going about a field away and circling back to check on our progress, then running ahead again.  At the end of every walk she would always beat us home and then wait patiently for us to catch up.


One day I took a short walk down the road at our camp, to a spot fifty yards from the house where I could get cell reception.  Penny came along, of course, for the walk.  I paced back and forth in a ten foot long area, lost in conversation. Penny thought we were on a walk, and ran ahead.  When I turned and paced the other direction, Penny turned and raced ahead again.  Each time I made my short, ten foot walk, Penny raced ahead, first this direction, then that direction, each time going about 30 yards ahead before turning around and running back.  By the end of my conversation she was exhausted, and didn’t seem to mind a bit that we never went anywhere.  She collapsed on her blanket, her tongue dragging, her eyes sparkling. She was happy to have stayed ahead of me the whole time. 


On Tuesday, May 27, we understood the advice we had been given.  There was no more sparkle in her eyes.  Instead there was a look that seemed to ask, “How much longer?” We knew it was time to let her go.   On the vet’s table, before Penny drew her last breath, she let out one long howl.  Then her voice trailed off and I knew she was on a hunt, in a field away. She is out of sight now, but I know she is there.  I know she will circle back from time to time to check on our progress, and wait for us to catch up. 


She was the perfect little dog.  May she rest (and run) in peace. 


To my niece Penny: prepare a wonderful piece of Heaven for your Cousin, will you? It will be awhile yet until he joins you (God willing), but be there to greet him when he arrives. No growling! Oh, and in all your Beagle royalty, please, please, please finally teach him to hunt!



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