February 14, 1997 – November 16, 2014
The house is a little more quiet than it has been in 15 years. The constant clicking of the nails we desperately tried to keep under control are no longer skittling across the floor like a roulette wheel in Vegas, at any given time, night or day. The barking, which could never be silenced, has ceased. She came into my life like a whirlwind, and just like that- she’s gone.
Prince really set me up for a loss when he likened the best party ever to 1999. 1999, for me, was a pretty sad year. It was the worst of times, really. A long term relationship breakup, the death of a dear friend and bandmate and the breakup of a band to name just a few of life events that were piled up on top of each other like a mountain of grief laundry that seemed un-sortable.
Several months after my friend Marc passed away, I was riding home from work when it hit me all over again. Grief is funny like that. You can think you’ve cried all you can, and then out of nowhere, there it is again. So I’m drivin’ and cryin’ (not to be confused with the band) and for no real reason took an alternate route home. That’s when I saw it- this little ball of fur rolling around on the side of the road. I thought it must have been hit. I pulled over, jumped out of my car and said, “Heyyy, puppy.” She jumped right up, not hit, just scratching her back in the gravel, a mere foot away from traffic. I said, “Come here, pup!” She did. And just like that- she was mine.
Not that I didn’t half-heartedly put up a few Found Dog signs, I hoped no one would claim her. I just loved her and thought she was the best. And I think I needed her. And it was as if Marc was saying, “Here- stop crying about me, and take care of this cute little dog.” I took her to the vet, who placed her at two years, even though she appeared to be a puppy up until she was around 13. She was so well behaved those first few days. I named her “Cadence” for the King Crimson song “Cadence and Cascade” because she was as sweet as the song.
And she was smart, too. She could pick up a trick in less than a minute- especially if cheese was involved. She could sit, speak, turn a half back flip, dance pretty, walk across the floor on her hind legs, sit pretty and wave bye bye. She was very entertaining. She would get herself into a literal tail-spin- running around so fast that she’d tuck her butt under and scoot across the floor at lightening speed. It was hilarious. “The Butt Scoot”, we called it. But soon I learned why nobody came looking for her. While very sweet and smart, she had a few bad habits. The worst of these was the pooping. Man, could she poop. Every day. In the bathroom. For like 5 years. I tried everything, but that’s just where she wanted to go. She also liked to run, as fast and as far as she could. until she was just lost. I made her an ID tag that said “Cadence Jane ‘Cady’- She Poops”- just in case someone tried to keep her, at least they would know what they were getting into. I feel like the pooping was a control thing. She would be outside for a long time, come in, and poop the second I turned my back. But then one day, years later, just like that- she stopped.
She got loose so many times, I can’t even count them all. One particular time she even jumped into a friend of ours’ car and zoomed around the cab of his truck like the Tasmanian Devil, only to exit the truck and later be picked up by a nice police officer- who then took her to the pound. I rescued her again- 1 day before they were going to put her down. Another narrow brush with death for our crazy canine. and just like that- she was mine again.
MOTHER OF ALL BEANIES
Cady really wanted to be a mother. So much so that she took my entire Beanie Baby collection and other assorted toys and put them all on the couch where she pretended to feed them, nurture them, and sometimes even move each one of them one by one to another location if we bothered them too much. This went on for years. She also fell in love with a Pee Wee Herman action figure. She took him off my bookcase and gently left him on my pillow and loved on him for weeks. He must have been pretty special to her but one day, just like that- she lost interest.
BREAST CANCER SURVIVOR
Cady started getting lumps in her nipples. After a couple of minor surgeries that removed small benign tumors, the last round revealed it had changed to cancer. Cady was 9 years old at this point. Many people thought I was insane for going through with the very expensive octuple-mastectomy, but I just had a feeling that her life-force was SO STRONG, she’d live a very long time afterward should we go through with it.
My sister wrote a little calypso style song in honor of the surgery:
“Cady has no nipples… she left them at the vet…
She had to part with them… when she and cancer met!”
I’m glad I hushed the naysayers, because her life was doubled as a result. It was a hard couple of months, but she bounced back very quickly, and had a nice tummy tuck as a result. Brand new dog with a new lease on life. There was not stopping this Terminator Dog! Just like that- Cancer beaten!
CADY vs THE MURDERER
When I finally saved enough and found the perfect little house, Cady, Fisher (our cat) and I moved into a cute little historic row house. Little did we know we were moving in two doors down from a convicted murderer. This man, was a “Mr. Rogers” type (“Hi, neighbor!” he’d creepily say.) who seemed strange, but harmless, ended up calling the cops on Cady, who yes, barked… but no more than any other neighborhood dog. Ok, maybe more than the average neighborhood dog. ;)
After a year of him calling the police, whether she barked 1 time or 200 times, I finally did a little research on him and found that he did hard time for murder. Anyone could imagine my complete freak out upon learning this. Not only was that the case, but he also seemed to be a serial plaintiff- having taken people to court 30 times in the past 5 years. This was not looking good. I had Cady on a very short leash, so to speak. I kept a “barking log” and showed the police that he was nuts. Of course they already thought he was nuts. To make a very long 2 year story short, we ended up in court, but nothing came of it as the man was moving anyway. What a jerk. Just move! Why do we have to go to court? About 2 years after he moved, the man died. And just like that, Cady -The Accused- outlived her nemesis and was free to bark again!
There’s so much to say about this amazing little dog. She was far from perfect, but what member of the family isn’t? She was there for it all. Wrapped up in 15 years of our collective memories. I knew her days were numbered for the last few months or so. A slow decline, I would tell her, “Cady, it’s ok to go toward the light.” half joking, really, because anyone who knew her thought she’d survive an apocalypse. I just didn’t want her to have a long, lingering illness. Luckily, she went down fast, losing the ability to stand this past Saturday. But Sunday, it was apparent the time had come. Monday morning, I made the decision to take her in and end it before things got really bad. Not being able to get up and go, knowing her, was torture for her. When she refused cheese, I knew it was time. With the help of the sweetest vet and vet tech, with me by her side, she slipped off into sleep … so sweetly and peacefully, just like her best self- just like that.
She is survived by my husband and me, our kids- so glad she was a part of their lives if only for a short time, brother Fisher (our 17 year old cat), Jessie (step-dog sister), my mom, dad, sister Mary, who was like a second mother to her, brothers, nephews and nieces, in-laws and a host of friends are all feeling the loss. She was a good girl.
I found this audio I sent to my sister who was in Amsterdam for a semester of college. She missed Cady and Fisher so much I made this little clip for her- an impromptu song called CadyNFisher. I always had my “animal audience” for all my practicing I’ve done over the years. Cady and Fisher, my little lifelong fans, ever-present. In this recording, it’s mostly the skittling of the nails on the floor and her trademark bark. It was after her surgery so I’m singing about the cone on her head, which she HATED and tried to destroy any chance she could. By the end of it, she shakes it off. haha…. Crazy dog. :)
Cadence Jane (Cady)- 17 years, 9 months, 2 days. The Energizer Bunny of her Generation, The Terminator Dog, The Mother of All Beanies, Cader Tater Tot, Sweet Cadence Jane, Caydee Daydee, Cadence Jadence, Cady Jane… a dog by many names who lived a long, eventful life. May she butt-scoot across the universe and back.