Goodbye, sweetest boy

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This morning, we had to put Smokey Joe to sleep. It was a difficult, but necessary thing to do. We got to say our good-byes and usher him out peacefully and I am so grateful for that.

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Smokey Joe was a very special dog. We adopted him from a really horrible shelter in Brooklyn, a high-kill place in an awful neighborhood. (Seriously, my sister and I were in tears as we walked around and looked at the dogs.) I was there to see two dogs, a chocolate lab puppy (because I thought I wanted a chocolate lab) and the dog who turned out to be Smokey Joe. The chocolate lab was sleeping in a cage with a note that said “Hyper”. Smokey Joe was chilling in the owners office. She’d had him fixed because she was determined to find him a home. I also remember that every employee that was there came out to say good-bye while we were filling out the paperwork. I wasn’t expecting to bring him home that night. T was on a business trip, so I called him from the shelter to tell him I was bringing home our dog. We had to stop at Target on the way home to buy a leash, food dish, etc.

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Our lives quickly started revolving around Smokey Joe. We took him to the off-leash hours at Prospect Park, where he frolicked with all sorts of other dogs and benefitted greatly from New Yorkers proclivity for littering. It was fun to be part of a community of fellow dog owners and we met a ton of great people. Because he was crazy smart, very food motivated and eager to please, it was easy to teach Smokey Joe tricks. He knew how to shake, “meet”, roll-over, stick ’em up/play dead, spin and balance a cookie on his nose. He would also improvise variations of these tricks, like “Put your hands in the air!” or “High five!”

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IMG_0205 IMG_0204One of his other notorious moves in the park was to crouch down like a cheetah and “stalk” another dog. Then he’d spring into action and race across the field to that dog. He did this in our Seattle yard with Wally and it was always amusing to watch Wally’s slow-witted response. (It usually resulted in Smokey Joe crashing right into him.) One day, he decided to try it with George. George sat there unflinching as Smokey Joe charged him, then poor Smokey Joe had to veer off in the face of George’s steely gaze. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard…

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I’m going to miss so many things about him. His shameless begging, the “huff huff huff” noise he used to make when he bounded after a ball, the way he’d watch out the window surveying the neighborhood. Even the naughty stuff he did that drove me crazy: barking like a maniac when either T or I came home, the way he’d strategically block Wally by laying across the hallway or threshold between rooms, the chasing of the kitties.

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I’m still struggling to believe he’s really gone. He was such a great dog and we loved him so very much. You’re going to be missed, sweet puppy.

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