From the day I first saw her in the animal shelter, we had a connection. She picked me. As soon as I walked in, she wagged her skinny black tail against the chain-link fence until it was bloody. But she didn't care. She was so happy. She knew she was going home that day. As I walked around the corner to check out all the other dogs, she literally did not take her eyes off me. She stared longingly at the space I had just departed until the moment when I returned. After doing a loop, I couldn't help but notice the moment I returned, sweet Oreo went from calm to hyper the second I stepped foot into her line of sight. My mother watched in amazement. She had dogs her whole life and had never seen anything quite like it. Without hesitation, we knew which dog was ours.
Part beagle, part black lab mix, Oreo was already a year old and had garnered the name from her black and white coloring. She was a bit of a handful that first year though. The first week home we had trouble getting her to eat anything. She was so skinny you could see her ribs. Despite our worry, she was still extremely energetic and happy. After a progression of trial and error which started with dog food, went to cereal and yogurt, we finally got her to eat some steak with gravy on top. I know, what a spoiled dog! I don't even get that for dinner! She quickly began putting some weight back on, and soon she was healthy and back on her dog food!!
She was potty trained, but that is about all she knew how to do. We had to teach her to sit and stay, and what a treat was (the latter didn't take long though!) One of my favorite memories was how as soon as she sat down, she raised her paw in hopes you would take it in your hand to shake. I'm still not sure how she learned that without learning how to sit, but it made me smile! After losing a few school books and some drapes to her boredom and chewing, and a few too many nips and bites while playing, my mom had had enough and threatened to take her back. I was at a loss, only finding comfort from my dearest Oreo. I literally sat her down and told her she had to stop or she wouldn't be my dog anymore. As she licked away my tears, I knew she understood. From that day forward, she never once bit or chewed anything besides her dog bones. She understood.
We didn't have a fenced in yard, only a run line for her in the backyard. Every once and a while we wouldn't clip her well or she would sneak out the door, off she would bolt into the woods of Pinehurst. Of course we couldn't keep up with her, so we'd hop in the car and go searching. I was mostly worried she would dart into the road and get hit by a car. Funny thing was, every time we searched, we could never find her. Without fault, she was sitting in front of the garage every time we got home, just waiting for us so she could go back in the house. She would run until she was tired... Then she would come home. She was funny like that.
She was my best friend. And she was the bestest friend you could ask for. She was always happy, always there to give you a kiss, always wanted to play, and never questioned you. She loved you no matter what. She was always happy just to have you home. She could always tell when you were upset too. She would just sit by your side, and kiss away your tears (if it came to that). She was the best shoulder to cry on. Always listening, never judging. Not much of an advice giver (lol) but that didn't mean she wouldn't make you feel better and feel loved!!
In the last couple years of her life, she lost her sight, and possibly her hearing. (My mom thought she was deaf, but I'm pretty sure she just had selective hearing because she was smart, and she knew she didn't have to do anything anymore. No one would get mad at her. She could sleep all day if she wanted to. And if I ever said the word treat, hot damn she sure came running!) Anyways, I felt bad about her not being able to see, but within a month she figured out where everything was and was still as happy as could be! She was eating heartily and wagging her tail like crazy, just like she'd always done! Although one time, she walked herself into a corner, and couldn't figure out how to get out... So she just sat there and stared at the wall. Haha, it was a little funny to see a dog staring at a wall! Don't worry, I helped her out though!
She was 15 years old when she passed in her sleep. The doc says she had a mini heart-attack. But I knew she had lived a great life and she was as happy as can be all the way until her last day. I was thankful that she was never in pain either. Unfortunately though, I was not home to say goodbye. She passed while I was in Holland playing, just a week before I got home for the holidays. It was difficult, but I was glad I didn't have to see her lifeless. My memories of her are all just the opposite. She was the most energetic, loving little girl. She loved me and she picked me.
Over the years when I moved away to college and to play with the National Team, I was not able to take her with me. I had to leave her at home. She became my moms best friend, and although she'll never admit it, my mom loved her just as much as I did. Oreo followed her around and slept next to her bed religiously. That is, until the I would return home from school or travelling with the US team. That first night, she always came to sleep in my room. My mom says the first night after I would leave, she would also find her way into my room for the night. Bless her little heart, she missed me.
It never ceases to amaze how unconditionally dogs love. People could learn a lot from these wonderful creatures. I would love to get another dog, but I know I cannot with my busy schedule of travelling and playing at the moment. So in the meantime, I just play with all my friends dogs! Hehe.
But its hard not to think about her over the holidays. She stole my heart and she will forever have a piece of it! I miss giving her extra treats on Christmas or a big new bone. Maybe Santa will put one under the tree again this year in her memory! She was and always will be my little angel. RIP.
Although I have millions more memories with dear Oreo, these are a few of my favorites. I am sharing them with the world, but mostly I just wanted to give her a little tribute that I will always remember her by.