I know Henrietta always takes top billing in the blog. Why? Because she is demanding, and a diva, and I let her. Spenser, however, was always happy to toil away in almost obscurity. He was a loveable lug who didn’t need or crave the spotlight. Now he is front and center and will be forever missed.
As our son, Nicholas, shared in a Facebook post, “RIP Spenser. Had 12 great years together. You were one rambunctious beast of a dog that was terrified of vacuum cleaners, you will be missed!!” Our daughter, Alexa, tried to sum up in hers, “I lost my best friend today and I feel like a piece of my heart went with him. I love you so much and miss you already, Spenser Elizabeth.”
We lost our beloved Spenser yesterday, January 14, 2016 to cancer. I’m afraid it will be a date whose anniversary we will mark with tears for many years to come. My husband, Tim, marked Spenser’s passing over the Rainbow Bridge by posting a selfie — he’s a man of few words.
We rescued Spenser when he was a tiny puppy. Our neighbors owned him but neglected him. They had this tiny puppy tied to the bumper of their car with a chain around his neck in the cold, rainy month of October. We would go over and feed and pet him. It got to the point — after not too many days — when I couldn’t take it any more. I went over and yelled at them for mistreating him and threatened, “I’ll either call the cops or take him home if you don’t take care of him.” They responded, “take him.” Gulp! What?! We hadn’t planned on a second dog. There had been no family discussion on getting a puppy. We weren’t prepared. But, take him I did. What did we have ready for a new puppy? A family with open hearts and a love of animals.
It took us a few days to come up with his name, Spenser. We named him after a character in Robert B. Parker books. He was, as Nicholas stated, rambunctious. Spenser never outgrew the “puppy” stage. He enthusiastically greeted anyone who came to our door. When the kids’ friends came over, Spenser would shove himself between their legs and they’d be lifted off the ground. Not sure if he was trying to be a pony, but they all seemed to get rides from him.
Because of his breed — a husky-lab mix — he blew his coat many times a year. It was a never ending battle to keep the hair off the couches and our clothes. Running the vacuum sent Spenser into a frantic race around the house; it terrified him.
We tried the crating route when he was a puppy. No matter what kind of crate we tried, he could dig or shove his way out of it. After having purchased more than a few to try and contain him, we gave up. He did destroy our carpet when he was a puppy by digging to get into a room with a closed door, but other than that he never made a mess or destroyed anything.
Spenser was the kind of dog you could offer a piece of food to and he would take it so gently you’d allow a baby to feed him. Unlike his sister, Henrietta, who we have to say, “take it nice” about a dozen times and even then it’s a crap shoot on whether you will come away with all of your fingertips.
He was also the family “bone-breaker.” His enthusiasm and strength also lead to my having a broken foot and to having screws in it. I was taking him out before bedtime about eight years ago, he dragged me and broke a lot of bones in my foot when I fell. After my surgery for that I was too nervous to walk him again. Tim usually did have walking duties so that wasn’t a big deal for him. About five years ago Spenser dragged Tim off the porch and that lead to Tim having a broken collar bone. No matter all of that though, he was a gentle giant. He rarely barked, but when he did you know it was for a legitimate reason, not for a leaf blowing across the yard (hint, hint, Henrietta!) Even though I was home with Spenser all day, he was “Tim’s dog” and followed him like a shadow, slept by his side of the bed — always — and looked to him for attention. Spenser loved all of us, but he was definitely Tim’s best friend.
Every time I walked the Hen, day or night, Spenser would position himself in the living room window and watch us. I always felt safe with him there, guarding us. He loved walks and loved meeting new people every time we were out.
When he wanted attention, he would come and lean on you. When a 100+ pound dog leans on you, you pay attention!
For some reason, and it was one of his quirks, he did not like if you pulled your sleeves down over your hands. He’d pace back and forth, shove his nose into the sleeve and generally seem upset until you popped your hands back out again.
It’s odd how your routines change so quickly. Only one dog to feed. I am now responsible for turning off the outside lights and locking the doors because I will be the last one out when I walk Henrietta before bedtime. Not a big deal in the scheme of most people’s lives, but a huge shift in the routine of the past 12 years.
We were with him when his soul left his body.
He loved fruits and vegetables just as much as he loved steak and chicken.
He loved riding in the car.
He loved lying out in the snow in the winter and reveled in the cold.
He loved lying with the cats.
He loved putting his head in our laps when we sat on the couch.
He loved us. We loved him. He left a space in our hearts that will never be filled. Run free and without pain on that Rainbow Bridge, Spenser.