Puppy Love

We lost our beloved, sweet, 14 1/2-year-old, perfectly-shaded yellow Lab, Mia, on Saturday, December 14. She was our fifth family member, who just happened to have been born with copious amounts of “hair” and four legs.

She had not one mean bone in her body. She cried with us after our 18-year-old Sonny cat died five years ago. She fished with Chuck and the girls on Donner Lake.  She ran the horse trails with me when she and my knee were younger. She took me on walks around the ‘hood most every day at 3:00 p.m.

She took Chuck on many an excursion to the American River, where together they would swim, play fetch and “chase the ducky-doos.” She word bark — sometimes at the most inane times and in the most inappropriate places.  In her youth, she would play with us — sometimes at the most inconvenient of times. She would even pray with us — often accompanied by her incessant, annoying (but sweet and raspy) yelp.

Oh how we loved that dog…

Her big brown eyes were beautiful, all-knowing and soulful. God outdid Himself in applying, perfectly, what looked like jet black Dior eyeliner on those upper and lower lids.

Gosh, was she ever pretty!  (Okay. Who doesn’t say that about their dog?) But, really, she was….

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{Mia Myers, circa 2007}

I swear she made us other Myerses better, for we tried, often in vain, to be the great humans to her that I know she thought we were.

But her time had come. We agreed as a family that her quality of life wasn’t what she wanted. She was, after all, a 90-year-old “woman” who had had a well-lived and loved life. Chuck couldn’t remember the last time he saw her tail wag. I couldn’t remember the last time she really, truly smiled. And the days of long walks, going to Tahoe, swims in the river and eating fresh deli turkey or slurping ice cream cones without getting an upset stomach had long since passed.

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{Family time with our Mia}

The days after our Mia died,  kind friends and thoughtful neighbors sent flowers, cards and condolences. One of our friends asked Chuck, “So are you going to get another dog?”

“Hell YES,” was his lightning-quick reply. “Hell PROBABLY NOT,” was mine.

I guess we know who wears the pants in this family…

Exactly seven days and one hour after Mia being gone, we got a sixth Myers, a female 7-and-a-half week old yellow Lab. Merry Christmas to us! We “interviewed” her parents — her mama, an adorable, petite (exhausted) Lab; her dad, a low-key, handsome black guy. (We whole-heartedly embrace bi-raciality in this household.)

“But she’s so much darker than Mia was. And she doesn’t have that Dior eyeliner,” I said.

“She’s her own ‘person,’ Baby.  Get over it,” Chuck said.

He was right. She is not Mia. She’s Noel/Noie (pronounced Noey)/Noella Bella/Elle. So far, Noie has been the “stickiest.” Which is fitting.  Julia looked up the meaning of Noe (they spell it wrong) in Hawaiian, and get this: it means “Mist from heaven.” In our home, loosely translated, that means: “Mia is looking down from heaven, admonishing Noie to treat her forever family very, very well, for a very long time.” Just like Mia did. Yes, Noel, you have HUGE paw prints to fill.

She’s already acquired quite a few nicknames: Noie Bose, Snowey, Noelley Bells, LuluHead, LoveyDoves, YouBrat, NoNoNoooo, and OuchhhThatHurts!

She poops, she pees, she even throws up. And she doesn’t discriminate. She’ll do all of the above inside, outside, in the car, in her crate, on Sisal or antique Persian rugs, hardwood and/or tile.

And she can go from 100 mph to zero in the blink of those big brown eyes.  Ah, how I love those naps. That’s when I get a bit nostalgic, remembering with clarity what it was like when my kids would snooze. Noie’s naptime is my time to rush to get my stuff done — work on transcripts, do the laundry, unload the dishwasher, and write this blog post.

So am I too old for this new puppy thing? I think so. No, I know so. But for the love of my husband, and at the behest of my two wonderful daughters (who live away from home and don’t have to “live it” everyday), and for the exponential increase of the Cuteness Factor in this home, and for the sheer pleasure of smelling that puppy breath and fur, I will suck it up and… just do it. Happily. Well, for the most part happily. 98% happily. Okay…52% happily. (Just kidding, Cassidy!)

At this moment in time, she sleeps like a newborn, plays like a rambunctious toddler, eats like a ravenous adolescent boy, and too often acts like a defiant, rebellious teenager. The claws upon her pudgy paws are like razor blades. She IS a set of sharp teeth (think ice picks) with a honey-colored Labrador Retriever body attached. We have the cuts and bruises on our hands, arms, ankles and nose to prove it.

But gosh is she ever cute! (Okay. Who doesn’t say that about their new puppy?) But, really, she is…

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{See? I told you}

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{Just look at those adorable ears and wagging tail}

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{Our “first Noel” napping on Christmas day)


You are more than welcome to stop by to meet, cuddle, play with or smell our newest family member at any time. But please knock quietly. Hopefully, she’ll be sleeping…







7 Responses to Puppy Love
  1. Dorothy
    January 5, 2014 | 3:40 pm

    Nice ! Enjoyed her visit this last week while Max and she
    Were wrestling for the first time ‘all by themselves’.. Cute!xxoo

  2. NancyB.
    January 5, 2014 | 4:52 pm

    Well, once again you made me smile and you made me cry all in the middle of the 49er/Green Bay game. My Marky actually thought I was crying over the game!¡! Jodie, you are enormously gifted when it comes to writing! Keep writing cuz we all love it and very best wishes to the newest member of your family.

  3. marilyn
    January 6, 2014 | 8:41 am

    Beautiful tribute to Miss Mia, and charming intro to darling Noel!! Well done, Coop!

  4. Julie Mietus
    January 6, 2014 | 12:51 pm

    thanks for sharing your puppy love ! xoxo Happy New Year !

  5. CJ Katvala
    January 7, 2014 | 1:45 pm

    Great article and I happen to be living it myself right now. My great old Newfie/Lab moved on to greener pastures and I recklessly got myself a puppy at the pound.
    Yes, she is adorable when she sleeps. She is Pointer/Lab and even though I wanted another just like Jackson (my Newfie) I got Dot.
    She is a wild child and I am way too old for a puppy. My time is devoted to her now and if I get distracted she becomes a little Hoover and eats everything and anything.
    Right now she is on a rice diet because she consumed something that didn’t sit well.
    Awwwh,you gotta love it.
    She is supposed to grow up to be a Therapy dog but everyone just looks at me and laughs when I say that.
    9 months, 55 lbs of energy!!! We’ll get there. It just might take longer with brainiac here.

  6. Julie Mietus
    January 10, 2014 | 11:10 am

    sending you a hug for sharing your puppy love !

  7. Julie Mietus
    January 10, 2014 | 11:13 am

    thanks for sharing your sweet puppy love. ! We call my Noelle all those nick names too… well almost all of them.

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About Me

It's true! Despite playing defense virtually all my life against the onslaught of this sometimes-ugly aging process, it...has...arrived! I naively thought I would escape cellulite (the Cottage Cheese) and crow's feet (the Crepe Paper). But I didn't! And why didn't anyone tell me about this emotional roller-coaster that comes with being an Empty-Nester?! My name is Jodie Barringer Myers. I'm a 54-year-old Friday/chardonnay/ hydrangea-loving wife/mom/court reporter living in Sacramento (Gold River!), California. Writing is cathartic for me. And because I look to find humor and humility among the rubble that is my now very peri-menopausal self, I'm hopeful that you will laugh, cry, learn, enjoy and, most of all, relate to what I have to say. After all, we're all in this together, right?

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