I still remember the conversation, brief as it was. The year was 2010. I could hear the anxiety in my daughter’s voice.
“Dad,” she said, “there is a little dog wandering along the side of the road. It’s going to get hit by a car. I am going to get the dog and bring it home.”
“Niki,” I replied, “please do not stop and please do not bring that dog home.”
A short time later Niki walked through the front door with the dog. She simply could not go on knowing that this little dog was in danger.
Long story short, we took measures to find the owner. The dog did not have a collar and later we found out did not have a micro-chip that would lead us to the owner. After failed attempts to find the owner, Niki asked if we could keep her.
I gave in and told Niki we could keep the dog. When she followed me into the pantry I looked down and said, “You look like a little biscuit.” And so, the name stuck. Biscuit, it seemed, would indeed become the newest member of our family to Niki’s delight.
It did not take long for Biscuit to win our hearts.
As first-time dog people, we were happy that Biscuit’s previous owner had done an excellent job of potty-training her. This made our first steps into pet ownership much easier.
Cheryl took responsibility for walking Biscuit every evening — a routine that made both of them happy. In fact, Cheryl avoided using the work “walk” in Biscuit’s presence because if she heard the word she made a bee-line for the front door.
I have to admit that having Biscuit around became a good thing for me, the guy who did not want a dog in the house. I knew that when I walked through the door each evening Biscuit would be there to greet me with her little tail wagging.
A couple of years into having Biscuit, Cheryl decided Biscuit needed a special diet so that her little tummy would not get upset. On one of those rare occasions when I shopped with Cheryl she put some really expensive food items into there grocery cart.
“Cheryl,” I said, “do we really need that stuff. It’s expensive.” On my honor, she just looked at me and said, “Oh, it’s not for you, it’s for Biscuit.” I just nodded and had the good sense to keep my mouth shut.
Having Biscuit around made it impossible for us to watch any television show that featured animals. Any animal on TV ignited something primal in Biscuit. She had to defend us against that threat by barking at the television.
And so, having Biscuit around on the everydays and holidays became our new normal.
When we bought our place out west in Big Bend, Biscuit accompanied us on our ten-hour road trips to the cabin. She loved the freedom she enjoyed there. No leash and the freedom to explore, sniff stuff, and bark as loud and often as she wanted.
Biscuit loved to tag along on projects or to watch Cheryl fill the bird-feeders on the property or to just sit and guard the cabin door. This was her place and she was the big dog on this campus.
This past year Biscuit’s health declined dramatically. Lots of visits to the vet. Although we spent more on Biscuit’s health care than mine, I dared not say a word. After all, this was Biscuit we were talking about. We all agreed that she deserved the best health care — and she got it. I had no idea how much money we could spend on a pet’s health care.
The last few weeks were the worst as it became increasingly apparent that Biscuit was not getting better. Her heart and lungs were tired. We gave her all of the medications the vet prescribed knowing they could only help so much.
While visiting our granddaughter in Lewisville this past week, Niki called. I could again hear that same anxiety in her voice that I had heard twelve years ago when she rescued Biscuit. We cut our visit short and drove back to Katy.
When we arrived, Niki was in tears and Biscuit was barely breathing. We knew this was the end. The vet had told us what to look for. We all held her close and then made the difficult drive to the veterinary emergency clinic. There was nothing more that could be done. It was time to say good-bye to our little Biscuit.
And so we did. Niki and Cheryl and I stood around Biscuit and wept. Biscuit was in so much pain with no hope of recovery. We each placed a hand on her little body as she breathed her last.
We chose to take her remains to bury at our place in Big Bend, the place she loved so much. Cheryl and I made the long trip to the cabin early Sunday morning. The following day we buried Biscuit next to a favorite old mesquite tree with Nine Point Mesa in the background — a beautiful spot.
Cheryl and I wept all morning and even more when we placed her little body in the ground with a favorite toy. We thanked God for the day Niki rescued Biscuit and brought her to our home and for all of the years we enjoyed her company.
Later that same afternoon I built Cheryl a bench that we placed at the spot where we buried Biscuit. We plan to add bird-feeders and watering stations around the mesquite and develop Biscuit’s final resting place into a peaceful spot to sit and enjoy the beauty of Big Bend.
Those who have lost pets understand. And we now understand what other dog-owners have experienced. We knew this day would come. We will move forward with a grateful heart for the blessing of having enjoyed life with Biscuit for so many years.
My heart breaks for your loss. At the same time I am so thankful Biscuit was a part of your family and received all the love and joy she richly deserved. Thank you for sharing Biscuit’s story.
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Thank you for your kind words.
Omar, thank you for writing Biscuit’s story. What an adorable little waif she was, and I thank God for leading her into your family. I believe that He has made provision for our beloved pets in the hereafter. As a friend once said, if animals have no place in Heaven, then someone should inform Jesus that he must arrange alternative transportation for His return to Earth. The Bible says He will return one day, riding upon a great white horse. Surely there will be room for a little Biscuit!
Thank you so much, Lannie, and Amen 🙂
What a cutie she was. I am a first-time dog owner too, and my girl turns 11 soon, which is up there in age. So I’ve been thinking about her mortality a lot. I totally understand what you’re going through. It’s great that you’re looking at the beautiful years spent together, and may you forever keep that memory.
Thanks, Stuart. Keep enjoying every day with your dog. 🙂
Omar, What a touching essay on the love of man’s best friend! I could hardly see the computer screen without wiping the tears from my eyes. Like you, I was never a dog person (cats were my thing), but the kids convinced me to adopt a chihuahua/terrier mix named Spike. He was two years-old when we provided him a permanent home. He is coming up on fourteen next April. Still doing ok, but has difficulty convincing himself that he has what it takes to jump up on the sofa – where he is now sleeping. I call him “MR.” Spike; he’s the man of the household. I have retained my cat fancies, as I adopted a new cat this year, named Caroline. BTW: You DON’T want to hear me sing “Sweet Caroline!” I have really enjoyed your postings re your outpost in the Big Bend; one of my favorite spots over the decades. Also enjoyed your past postings re finding the best cheeseburgers, as it has been one of my pursuits in the San Antonio area. Regards, Nolan Kuehn
Thanks for your kind words, Nolan. Glad you provided a home for Mr. Spike and have enjoyed so many years with him.
Interestingly, years ago a friend gave me a stuffed toy cat that I keep in my office. I named her Caroline the Feline. Kids that visit with their parents enjoy holding Caroline.
Thanks again and best wishes for a good Christmas and New Year.