Mysti's Pet Stories

Da Juana Byrd

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Mysti

Little sister Madeline

Hello!
I found your website by mistake and after reading about Muffin and Mysti, I felt compelled to tell you about my "children".

My first "child" was a Shih Tzu named Orry. I had moved far enough away from home that I didn't get to see my family much, just weekends and holidays.  Being from a small town, that was tough for me.  I was used to seeing most of them every day.  I grew lonely having always had pets running the gamut from pigs, cows and horses to dogs, cats and fish.

One particularly lonely day I was walking the local mall, just killing time and wanting to be in a place where there were a lot of people.  I passed the pet store.  As is my habit, I stopped to look at the animals in the window.  A tiny gold and white fur ball stared back at me.  He began to bark and jump at the glass.  I laughed out loud and talked to him before I walked away.  His $400.00 plus price tag was too high for my Texas teacher's salary.

A week or so later, I passed by again.  This time, he did tricks, jumping his food dish and standing on his back feet waving his front paws at me.  I went in and asked about him.  I was told all the technical information and that several people had looked at him.  They got him out of the cage and put him on the floor.  He immediately ran to me, stood on his hind feet, and put his front feet on my ankle.  I picked him up and was showered with puppy kisses.  There's no better smell in the world than "puppy breath"!  I played with him until my heart was about to break.  I knew I had to have him.

It took several paydays to save the money to purchase him.  Every time I went to the mall, I went to see him.  He was always so glad I was there.  The employees of the store told me that many people had looked at him, but he didn't respond to anyone but me.  While I was saving my money, he got older and bigger and his price got smaller. When I finally had enough, he was six months old.  I got him in May of 1986.

"Orry-dog", as he became known, was my best friend, teacher, child and giver of love.  He slept on my bed until I fell asleep, then jumped to the floor to sleep in his own bed. He traveled everywhere with me. If the dog couldn't come, I didn't go. My friends would ask me to visit and say, "Be sure and bring Orry.  He is so great!"  He had the best personality of any person I know.  He brightened the day of many people.  He loved everyone, even his veterinarian!

My mother had cats, and he didn't know he was supposed to dislike them.  When they realized he wasn't a threat, they played with him like kittens.  When we went home, he would jump all over the car the first ten minutes of the ride.  Then, he would settle down on the floor to wait the four hours it took to get there, lying on his back with his feet spread so the air would blow on his stomach.  He loved to hang his head out the window and breath deeply, checking out all the smells that blew by.

Every so often during the trip, he would jump up in the seat and look out the window to see where we were.  He checked out the landscape and went back to napping.  He knew the route so well that when we were a few miles from home, he would get excited and stay at the window until we were a few blocks from Mom's house.  Then he was in my lap ready to jump out the second the door opened.  He would run to the back door, go in the house, greet everyone enthusiastically, and then go back outside to potty.

Mom's oldest cat, whose descendants still lived with her and Dad, died before I got Orry.  On several occasions, he would go to the spot where she used to lay, wag his tail, whine, smile, and bark softly.  I swear she was there and he was greeting her. We would ask him if Miss Pepper was there, and he would bark as if to say "Why yes, of course"!

My downstairs neighbors in the apartment complex called me one afternoon just as I got home from work.  They were both laughing so hard, they could barely tell me the story. 

It seems Orry would play ball by himself when I was not there.  He would fling his ball at the wall and then chase it.  They could hear him playing and occasionally barking and it was a running joke for a long time.  He would wait for me in the window of our apartment.  He knew exactly what time I got home and would be there watching for me.  He sat very still until I got out of the car, gathered my things, and started walking to the stairs.  He would then run to the front door and wait for me to open it. 

I was talking to a new neighbor one day and he sat, watching.  I moved toward the door and he disappeared from the window.  She exclaimed, "I thought that was a stuffed animal in your window!  He sits there so still every day!"   She met Orry that day, fell in love, and visited often.

I moved closer to home and went from an apartment to a house with a yard.  He loved his yard!  He would run and play ball and jump through the grass, even though he was getting older. A stray Golden Retriever/Collie mix showed up about five years ago.  Orry wanted to keep him and have a brother.  I tried desperately to find him a home to no avail. He got named Cisco and is with me still.

My sister and I were roommates for three years. She got a cat during that time. When Pluto was a kitten, he didn't like Orry.  But, Orry was patient and won him over.  They rolled in the floor together and entertained us to no end.  I have pictures of them sleeping together.

He loved Christmas.  His birthday was December 1st and mine is December 10th.  We would put up the tree and he would sit with his paws on the ornament box as I hung them.  After the tree was up, he would lie down underneath it on his back and look at the lights.  Santa always remembered to bring him a new toy. He always looked sad when the tree came down.  I would tell him "We'll put it up next year", and that seemed to make him happy.

He gave the best love.  I would lie on the couch and he would stretch out on my stomach, put his nose between his paws and sigh a little sigh.  I would rub his back and talk to him about everything.  He always understood.  He was "Mommy's special little man".  Everybody called him "little man".  He had a regal carriage and didn't know he wasn't a big dog.  He thought he was the ruler of the world.

My mother would call and leave messages if I wasn't home.  She always left him a message, too.  The first time she did it, he went nuts!  He jumped up on the bed and sniffed the answering machine.  He barked, wagged his tail furiously, and ran to the front door, thinking she was there.  When he didn't find her, he came back to the bedroom and looked under the bed.  He looked all over the apartment and was so disappointed not to find her.  I had to call and tell her about it.  We laughed and laughed. 

My neice, who was born in 1988, would call and ask to talk to him when she was a toddler.  He would listen to her and then bark softly back.  I swear he understood her as they carried on conversations.  Several times, she would say "Bye, Orry-dog.  I wub you" and hang up without ever talking to me.

I swear he smiled at me all the time.  He was very vocal as well.  He talked to everyone and expected them all to understand.  If they didn't, he looked at me as if to say, "Boy, these people need to learn dog-speak!"  He knew many words and I started spelling in front of him until he learned to spell.  It was so funny to see people's reactions when I talked to him.

Orry was with me for eleven and a half years.  He died on a sunny summer day, June 18, 1997. I took him outside and sat in the sunshine with him that day, he loved to sunbathe.  He would squench his little eyes and raise his head to the sun as if to say "Oh, that feels good!"  I was holding him in my arms when he passed on.  He licked my face with his last breath.  I still miss him so much it hurts to think about it. Pluto and Cisco both cried the day he left us. 

I buried him in my Mom and Dad's back yard.  I wanted him to be "at home".  He loved his Gam and Papaw very much.  He has a grave marker and I visit him when I visit them.  I mourned him so long my friends thought I was going crazy.

One year later, I couldn't stand the empty house any longer.  I went shopping for a new puppy. I got a black Miniature Schnauzer and his name is Baxter. He is a wonderful "child" and has put the light back in my life.  He is smart, loving, attentive, and playful. 

At twenty-one months old, he hasn't learned as many words as Orry knew, but he's catching up fast.  Although not as vocal, he speaks volumes with one or two barks.  His little eyes are so expressive and he has three little howling barks that say "I love you". People laugh because he can say that, as well as "out", "in", "yes", and "no."  He can whisper and speak, as well as sit, heel, and "sit pretty" on his hind legs.  He often goes to the spot in the house where Orry used to lie and sniffs, wags his tail, whines, smiles, and barks softly.  I swear Orry is here on those days, and Baxter is greeting him.  I wonder what they talk about.  I'm sure Orry is checking to make sure he's taking good care of Mommy.

Baxter is a big kisser and if you don't want to be kissed, don't get down on his level.  His groomer loves him so much and tells everyone how wonderful he is and how he kisses her while she grooms him.

My four-year-old niece decided to be "Dorothy" from "The Wizard of Oz" for Halloween.  She quickly informed me that Baxter was to be "Toto".  I was worried that he would not stand still for her in the costume contest. He is very strong and tends to pull hard on his leash when we go places.  He loves to sniff everything and check it out.  He could easily pull her down or get away from her.  He stood as still as a statue and even sat down for her when she told him to.  While we were watching, she would lean over and whisper in his ear.  I don't know what she said, but it worked.  They won the contest for their age group.  After the prizes were handed out, she leaned over and said "Toto, we won"!  It was too cute.

I know in my heart that when Baxter passes on, Orry will be waiting for him.  And when it's my turn, they will both be waiting for me with hugs and lots of puppy kisses.

You are right "M" about Baxter being able to see Orry. He can.  Thank you for sharing your beautiful story.

Da Juana

 

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