Fall 2009, after our first season with the vineyard

This morning, I started a completely different post, one you will see sometime later. Our day took a turn that Dianne and I both knew was coming, but we had hoped maybe it would not. We had to help Enzo cross the rainbow bridge, and tonight, our hearts are broken. You know going into that relationship, inviting that pure soul into your home and your heart, that someday, there is a heavy price to pay. The loss we feel tonight is almost overwhelming, but I know, I KNOW that we would make the same choice again, knowing we would have to take this hurt today in exchange for the almost 16 years we had with him.

Look how little he was!

Enzo was born on New Year’s Eve 2003, so remembering his birthday was easy. His mother was a pure Jack Russell terrier, and his papa was a Dachshund-Bassett mix. Big front feet like a Bassett, short legs and a long back like a Dachshund, and though he stood only about eight inches at the shoulder, he was certain he was about 10’ tall and bullet-proof, which is kind of a combination personality of the Dachshund and the Jack Russell.

We joined his pack on 5 Feb 2004, when he was but five weeks old. He was a member of his mama’s first litter, and she had rejected the puppies. His first humans brought him in to Dianne’s office because hand-feeding that many puppies is exhausting. I got a call about the cutest puppies. I resisted but knew it was futile [TNG reference!] We came home with all 2.2# of bouncing puppy.

We were new to pack life, and we made plenty of mistakes early on, but he forgave us every time and helped us be just a little better than we were. He loved stuffed animals. No, really, he loved them, and he thought all of them were his.

He loved to play fetch with his tennis balls, and it amazed me to no end his deep and full understanding of English. There isn’t anyone that loves the sun more than he did. At our house in Dawsonville, the morning sun came in the front, and he started each morning at the top of the stairs, and as the sun rose, he followed the warm spot down the stairs. Even if you never witnessed it, you knew where he spent time because of the dog hair in a diagonal line running down the stairs!

He was very treat-motivated and he liked praise, so training him was almost easy. Our crowd pleaser [ok, my mama may not have exactly qualified as a ‘crowd’] was dead dog. I loved to jerk your political chain, back when you could do that to folks without being unfriended, and no matter ‘your’ candidate, I would ask him: “Enzo, would you rather be [John Kerry/George Bush/whoever] or a dead dog?” and from a standing position, he would flop right over!

For the first two months, we were inseparable. Mainly because I had been unemployed for far too long, we got to spend all of our time together. After his first vet visit with inoculations, we came home. He went straight to his food dish, and ate every bite. That was unusual for him; he did not have a voracious appetite, at least not back then, so he always had food in his bowl. He finished eating, and immediately grabbed his tennis ball and brought it to me. I sat in the floor and threw the ball a few times. After retrieving and bringing it to me several times, he dropped the ball and climbed up in my lap. He looked at me with those sweet, peer-into-your-soul eyes… and promptly puked the entire contents of his stomach all over me!

There are so many anecdotes, so many memories. I lack the words to write it all and make it interesting to read, but what I can tell you is this: He will be missed. We love you, buddy. See you on the other side of the bridge.