Sunday, August 22, 2010


Have you ever seen a dog smile? All you have to do is look into the eyes and there is a certain something that says, “I am as happy as can be and I am showing it the best way I know how!” Well, that’s one way, but there is very definitely another!
A friend once gave me a little hanging plaque on which it is stated, “Dogs smile with their tails.” It made me smile. That was before we got Missy. In order to tell you about Missy I need to go back to the beginning and start with a little bit of Tanner’s Tale though.
Tanner was the dog of my heart. He came to me after a thorough search of much of West Texas and parts of the US that I would have traveled through…well, let’s just say, through thick and thin, to find the just-right Yorkshire Terrier puppy. He came to me after the horrific deed of having had to put down our almost 17-year-old faithful pal, my Little Doggie Tray, a dream-come-true from childhood doggie, also a Yorkie. Tanner was such a delight to watch as he saw everything from the perspective of a baby. When we’d go for a walk, he was skittish over an empty, noisy, plastic bottle, blowing in the street. It was new and different. By the same account, a leaf was something to peruse carefully, from every possible angle. I saw the world through new eyes as I walked with my boy, but everything came to a squealing halt one day when a cat entered our back yard, and Tanner did his duty of chasing it full speed ahead to make it leave. As he made a sudden turn, he also made a terrible sound that ended with a lame little doggie. He was two years old, too young to turn up lame from a mere fast run in his own back yard. A myriad of tests later we learned he had coccidiomycosis (a.k.a. Valley Fever), a fungal infection that entered his system through his breathing fresh dug dirt. A lot of construction was going on in our area, but Valley Fever was in Arizona, not this part of Texas! Wrong! We gave him medication and for a while he improved miraculously, but because the medication could damage his liver, we opted to cut the excessively strong dosage. That was the wrong thing to do. Tanner lost his courageous battle five years ago tomorrow after he and I spent the night in my recliner, knowing it was our last night together.

…but this is supposed to be about dog smiles…

Tanner was a handsome lad of twelve pounds when in good health. I wasn’t trying to replace him, but my arms wanted another Yorkie to hold, so I started searching the rescue sites, narrowing in on Yorkie and Small Dog Rescue (a.k.a. YSDR) in Houston, Texas. Almost immediately I saw a photo on their site that could have been a litter mate of Tanner’s, except she had a very curly tail like that of an American Eskimo dog! Not only did she look like Tanner but she was in Houston, which meant it was feasible that we could travel to pick her up if we could adopt her. We made application, were approved, and before we went to get her, my husband, John, said, “If we get her, I’m naming her Missy!” If he was agreeing I could have my heart’s desire I wasn’t going to argue about the name! We drove the six-hours-one-way trip to Houston and spent the first night in a motel with Missy. Having spent a few nights in motels with her since, we realize she thinks motel living should be for her. She likes the pampered life! Ha! But Missy came home with us and we got down to the routine of day-to-day living. We took her to our vet for a well-dog check-up and as he examined her, he started at her head, worked his way down to her feet, stopped at her left hind foot, looked me in the eye, and asked, “Did you see this?” I hadn’t, so said, “What?” She had basically the same missing toe structure back there that Tanner had had! Was Missy meant to be my girl or not?
Missy has settled in very well and now three years later, we cannot imagine what our life would be without her. Whenever she sees us putting our shoes on, she heads for her exercise pen, knowing she stays in there while we are out of the house. It amazes us how she reads our activities and almost reads our minds.

…but…about those smiles…

Often in the mornings while we are getting dressed for the day, Missy hops up on our high king-sized bed. She is no little Yorkie. It was long ago decided she is likely part Silky/part Yorkie so she is a good-sized, long-legged, strong girl of fourteen pounds. Once she is on the bed, she rolls around on the loose blankets and sheets. If they aren’t loose already, they will be by the time she finishes with them. She hides her face under the covers and we play, “Where’s Missy?” until she decides it’s time to poke her face out from under. That’s when she laughs at me trying to find her! Of course there is usually most of her body sticking out elsewhere while she’s playing her game, but on occasion she manages to hide her whole self under there. Then, when she emerges with a few bull-style, particularly unladylike snorts, she laughs at me some more, all the while showing me that dogs do, indeed, laugh with their tails! She plops down flat on her tummy, front legs ahead and her back legs stretched straight out behind. She stares straight at me. Her eyes contain a certain glow, but she holds her very curly tail at a high angle while slowly waving it back and forth, back and forth, over her now still back, all the while wearing a great big grin that says, “I am laughing! I am laughing! Can you hear me now?”

Marilyn Sue (Libby) Moore 8-22-2010

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