Through Facebook and my blog, many of you had the opportunity to get to know and care for Miss ABBA. It’s been ten months since she left us and I said I would continue to blog about her for therapy and to share more about her life until the one year anniversary of her death. Today, however, I want to introduce you to her predecessor.
Growing up in Kentucky, we had two house dogs, Cricket (my favorite) and Mitsy (an evil, old dog that only loved my father), and two other outdoor hunting dogs, Rolo (I named him) and another one that I can’t remember his name. Okay, it’s been 30+ years! (Tammy called me and said his name was “Jack”.)
Those were the family pets. Personally, I’ve only had two dogs that were mine. And, on this date, in 1986, Keshia was born.
Keshia was a chow chow. When I saw her in a pet store at the Kentucky Oaks Mall in Paducah, Kentucky, before work one Friday night, I knew I had to have her. Since I was living with my grandmother, I lied and said that a friend was going to have to get rid of her because they couldn’t keep her.
While she wasn’t happy, she went along with the story until the pet store called to say that my credit application went through and I could pick up Keshia Monday! My grandmother was furious. But, she knew that I was moving to Murray, Kentucky, where I went to college, that summer and didn’t say much more.
As we were leaving the pet store, one of the employees said, “oh, the little monster is going home!” How dare they say that about the precious little Keshia! It wouldn’t take long to realize what they were talking about! 🙂
I’m just kidding. Other than being a typical chow chow (very loyal to just one person — me), she was a good dog.
When she was a puppy, she would run and jump against the door when she wanted to go out. But, it wasn’t as funny watching an 80-pound dog do that, so I had to break her from that habit.
Over the years, we traveled the country together from Kentucky (she was born in southeastern Missouri) to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, back to Kentucky, to Chicago, to Rhinelander, Wisconsin, to Lubbock, Texas, and, finally, to Youngstown, Ohio.
She was a beautiful dog and she didn’t mind getting brushed. When she was groomed, she looked like a lion. And, as you can tell from those last two pictures and the next one, Miss ABBA wasn’t the only dog that was tortured by playing “dress-up”.
She loved the snow. That is one thing she and Miss ABBA had in common. However, she hated getting wet. Miss ABBA didn’t care if it was raining or snowing as long as she was walking or outside!
This picture was taken at Christmas 1993, the last one that I spent in Kentucky. The following summer, Keshia and I would move to Chicago for me to begin the next phase of my life and put my 20s and Kentucky behind me.
The picture below is from Christmas 1995. The following summer, Keshia and I would leave Chicago for the “northwoods” of Wisconsin for me to begin my television career.
You can already see the gray on her muzzle.
She became ill Thanksgiving 1997 as we were getting ready to move from Lubbock, Texas, to Youngstown, Ohio. We spent a lot of money and a lot of time at the vet’s office during December 1997 in Ohio for treatment for a failing liver.
During all of those treatments, Keshia and I made a new friend. Linda Fox McBride worked at the vet’s office where Keshia was being treated. One day, I went to pick her up from an IV treatment and she and Linda come walking around the corner without her leash like she had no worries in the world. Keshia didn’t take to many new people, but she did to Linda!
In January 1998, it was time for Keshia to go to “puppy heaven”. While the doctor was administering the “shots”, someone opened the front door at the vet’s office and the bells on the door rang (since it was just after Christmas), and true to “It’s A Wonderful Life”, an angel got its wings.
Keshia had just turned 11 years old when she left us.
KESHIA — DECEMBER 7, 1986 – JANUARY 13, 1998
I vowed through the tears and heartbreak that I’d never get another dog.
But, two-and-a-half years later, on July 11, 2000, that changed as I drove a couple of hours to a farm in Strasburg, Ohio, and encountered three llamas staring at me from behind a fence. That day, I would be taking one of Dolly and Flectcher’s puppies home with me.
On the drive, I said whichever female puppy walks up to me first would be mine. When all of the little critters were let out of the house to run free, all, but one, ran after their mother, Dolly, to nurse.
And, the little runt, the one that was oblivious to her brothers and sisters didn’t know that by walking up to me and biting me on the finger that she was getting ready to leave her mom, dad, brothers, and sisters behind on that Tuscarawas County farm and begin a lifetime of travel across the United States and Canada.
That puppy, on that day, became Miss ABBA.