Meet Summit

Recently, one of my good friends lost his dog of 14 years.   As I rode up the chairlift with him and listened to his story, I couldn’t help but think about Summit.  Will I ever have to make the decision that her time is up?   Will I hold her in my lap as she takes her last breath?  It’s almost unbearable to think about; I can’t imagine what my friend is going through right now.

And then I realized that some of you probably don’t even know I have a dog, unless you noticed the black fluffy thing in my homepage pic, or read this post.  But that’s hardly enough to  demonstrate the importance of my four-legged friend.   You guessed it people – this entire post is dedicated to the D-O-G.  If you’re a cat lover (ewwwww) check back tomorrow for a new topic.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved dogs.  Er….wait.  There was one time in 1st grade that I thought my friend and I were going to be eaten alive by a German Shepard until we were saved by our pre-school teacher, Mrs. Rice (to this day I’m not a huge fan of that breed).  But aside from that incident, I’m pretty sure I’ve always been an animal-lover (how I miss my model horse collection).

For example, I frequently “rescue” dogs from roaming the streets and put them in my truck or backyard until I can get ahold of the owner by calling the number on their tag.  I fostered a puppy and drove five hours to drop her off at her new home.  I’ve also fostered a 9-year-old dog that may have been heading to the pound (anyone else know what they do with an old dog after one week?) and found her an amazing new home.  But my favorite example is when my best friends husband said to her:   “Janna would love a piece of poo if you told her it was a dog.”  You know what?  I’ll take that as a compliment thankyouverymuch.

When I was in college I thought my life would be complete once I had a truck and a dog.  I was right about the dog part.   It all started after I graduated with my Bachelor’s and headed out to Portland with two friends to job search.  I can’t really remember what we did in Portland besides shop, look at a few job descriptions online, fool around, and pick up the Sunday paper.  I guess I got bored with the “Job Seeker” section, so I flipped to the “Pets” section.  I have no explanation as to why I thought this was a good idea. 

Then I saw the ad:  “Golden Retriever/Chow puppies.  $50.”  Turns out these puppies were just a few miles down the road.  It’s harmless to go look right?  Wrong.  SO wrong.  As it turns out, there was one puppy left;  a little fluffy black one that no one wanted because it was one of the only black puppies in the otherwise golden litter.   Her name was Daisy, and she was totally coming home with me.  I mean she was only $50!  And no one else wanted her.   10 minutes later, I was officially a dog owner.

Nevermind the fact that I lived in an apartment that didn’t allow dogs.  Nevermind the fact that I went home minus one job, plus one dog.   (You wanna try telling your dad that??)

Even today, I acknowledge that it was a bad decision.  But one I’ve never regretted.

Could you have said "no" to this puppy?

Daisy  Summit has been my girl for over 9 years (10 in April).  She’s been through countless ups and downs with me.  She survived being taken in-and-out via backpack the first month of her life (see apartment comment above).  I drug her to Seattle when she was just a pup and forced her to be a city dog (you know, the kind that only gets walked once in the morning, once at night, and only gets to be off-leash when you take them on the occasional dog park trip).  She’s been by my side through monumental break-ups.  She’s been forced to ride in the back of a Honda Prelude; in a kennel strapped to a truck bed; and teetering on top of a gear pile in the back of the truck.  She’s gone down rivers in a raft.  She’s slept in the back of a truck at my feet.   She’s taken more road trips and car rides than I can even count.  She sat loyally by my sister’s side after the loss of her fiance’.  She’s been my running partner through wind, snow and rain.  She’s been on countless hikes and even backpacked into the Pintlers.  She’s been drug back to Montana and moved around several times.  She’s put up with the stupid magpies in the backyard that I swear were trying to poke her eyes out.  But mostly, she’s won the heart of just about everyone that knows her. 

Even after backpacking 5 miles in to Johnson Lake, all she wanted to do was swim for sticks.

Running in the snow in July....haha. She loved it!

She always comes on our Christmas Tree Hunting snowshoe

She's not so sure about the raft...

Can you spot her staring at me?

She’s a good dog.  That’s not to say she doesn’t have her faults…and I guess you could say she’s a little quirky. 

I always chuckle when I see this pic!

This is her "I'm going to do this until you play with me!" move

She always teeters on the very edge of things. Rocks. Cliffs. Decks. It totally freaks me out

For starters, she doesn’t listen for shit.  I swear she has selective hearing and the older she gets, the worse it gets.  She has a staring problem.  She licks everything (I’m not kidding, her bed, her toys, the carpet, her legs, my jeans, the couch, her treats).  She gnawed on an aerosol can of hairspray until she punctured it and it sprayed everywhere (on the plus-side, she had a great hair-do when I got home).  She’s stolen the Christmas cinnamon rolls off the counter as we opened presents in another room.  I can’t get it through her head that the water feature in my parents backyard is not her personal swimming pool.  If she feels neglected, she gets in the trash.  She’s eaten a dozen chocolate muffins (scratch that, she ate 11.  The 12th she left on my bedroom pillow.  Wasn’t that sweet?).  If she sees a squirrel or a cat, she’s gone.  She likes to roll in crap at the most inopportune times.  Her favorite place to snuggle up is on The Hubs pillow (see previous sentence to see why this isn’t a good thing).  She has shredded an entire screen door.  She won’t eat just anything that falls on the floor, it has to be something she’s interested in (what’s this?  A chip?  I don’t do chips).  She is terrified of guns or fireworks and can squeeze herself into a space half her size when they go off.  If she’s nervous she jumps in my lap – no matter where we are…..and um, she’s 55 pounds people.

There's nothing better than a squeaker in Summit's book. She probably just got done licking this one to death.

Over the years she’s been called Gromms, Shithead, Summybear, Peggy, Bubba, Summy and most recently ‘Ol Grey Beard.   And she answers to them all….some much to my chagrin.

But no matter what she’s called….she’s my Summy.  And I couldn’t imagine my life without her.  She follows me around the house constantly; to the point I frequently curse because I turn around and step on her.  Even if I just get up to fill my glass of water, she follows me into the kitchen, and then follows me back into the living room to lay down again.  She is always waiting at the door to greet me and couldn’t be happier that I’m home.  She has the weirdest way of wanting to be pet….she loves butt scratches and growls the whole time you’re doing it.  She doesn’t let me leave the house in the morning without giving her some pets.  She looks forward to our “morning routine” just as much as I do and somehow knows when it’s the weekend and the routine changes.  She knows to jump off the bed and get on her own when The Hubs taps his toothbrush on the sink at night.  She insists on riding in the cab of my truck even though there is carpet, a bed, a squeaker and water for her in the back topper (ok, maybe I kinda like her up front too).  She paces back and forth on a dock if I’m out in a boat.  She thinks she’s outsmarted me by jumping off the couch when she hears my truck pull up.  She watches out the upstairs window for me to get home from work, like so:

I’m constantly amazed at how much love you can have for an animal.  It really is an amazing bond and something that can never be duplicated or replaced.  Unconditional love is what they call it I suppose. 

I’ve heard other people say that they don’t have dogs because they can’t handle losing them.  And I’m sure that my friend (mentioned above) is struggling right now.  Coming home to an empty house.  Completely changing his routine because he doesn’t have to take care of her anymore.  Getting rid of dishes, food and leashes.  But I hope he’s not feeling like the pain wasn’t worth having the dog at all.  Because I believe that it’s worth every minute of it.  I have lost pets before and it’s extremely hard.  But if I could go back to 2001 and make the “responsible decision” to not get that puppy…would I?  Not in a million years.  Because my life is completely different because of Summit.   It’s been “me and her” for almost ten years and I can’t imagine it any other way.  I dread the day that I have to make the decision that our time together is over or God forbid something happens to her.   I often joke about being lucky because “I bought a breed of dog that never dies,” but when her time comes (and yes I know it will),  I’ll know my life has been better because of her.  And until that time comes, I’m going to focus on just giving her the best possible life that I can, because she does the same for me.

Here's my favorite pic of Summy

So there you have it.  An introduction to my Summy…I can’t believe it took me so long to tell ya’ll about her.  Not to worry though, I’m sure you’ll hear more about her in future posts because she’s typically going wherever we go.   

Let me just say this though:  if any of you try to trick me by telling me a piece of poo is a dog….we’re going to have problems!

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9 comments

  1. Awwww… almost made me cry. (Sitting here in the physicians lounge at work.) Makes me miss Summy bear!!! You forgot about how well she comforts people- Debbie Downer incident. And what an AMAZING cousin she is!! Playing with the annoying little black pup. Scratches!!!

    1. Ah yes, she is a wonderful friend to Debbie Downer. I did forget to mention that! I also forgot to mention that she tried to stay upstairs with you a few times…traitor!! She does love her aunt Amy T though – and cousin Cade-a-roo!

  2. Awwwwe Summy, she’s a keeper! You also forgot to mention that she can still fit into her very first bed, which is a basket that is obviously too small for her! She must be a little sentimental herself. Give ol’ Gray Beard a butt scratch for me.
    ps. Conner saw this post and kept pointing at the photos saying, ‘dog, dog, dog’

    1. Ha ha ha….I can just hear Conner saying that! Too bad he’s slightly terrified of the big black fluffball. Not for long though….she’ll win him over like everyone else. I almost posted a picture of her in that dog basket! Too funny. She does love that thing. I like to think she IS a little bit sentimental like her mum.

  3. What a great post Janna, it makes me miss Summit. :( I have to say that ‘saving’ the last little puppy has been one of the best decisions you have made. Summy has brought a lot of happiness to many peoples lives and will continue to do so. I can’t wait for Ella to meet her. :) Even though I gave Summy the name Shithead it doesn’t seem appropiate to call her that after reading you post. ;)

    1. Oh don’t be fooled sista – I’m convinced she still deserves the name Shithead. hahaha. Just remember all of those times we’d be trying to relax and she’d come sit down and stare in our faces. Remember?? That dog is shithead!

  4. well first, let me grab a tissue. Beautifully written Janna. Summy was such a lovable dog with all of her quirks. She was lucky to have you and visa versa.

    Remember when you took her to get groomed and they completely shaved her!? haha, still a good one. ;)

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