My book, “Return to Manitou” tells the story of how my best friend of 23 years, Kimmy, was given six months to live. She survived only a few weeks past this prognosis in 2003.
During those precious last weeks, she and I discussed what should be done with her pit bull, Pooh Bear. Pooh was living with her in California at the time, and I was willing to take her although the adjustment would have been difficult. Pooh had been a couch potato during all ten years of her life, and though she had met me a few times, wouldn’t have known me from Adam. She wasn’t well socialized. Her world consisted of Kim, her couch, and daytime T.V.
When Kimmy died in April, her mother flew to the West Coast and immediately made the decision to adopt Pooh. She brought her back to Northern Michigan. Janice was living alone with no other pets. The adjustment was still tough on Pooh, as she had to contend with a plane trip and leaving the only home she had ever known — plus the stress of losing Kimmy had taken its toll.
She bounced back remarkably well, and lived out the next four years with few problems. Janice really came to love her, and she and the dog bonded strongly.
Time as always took its toll last year, and Pooh was laid to rest. Her passing was terribly hard on both of us, as this was, we felt, one of our last connections to Kim. I went up to see Janice after Pooh died. We talked about another dog, but Janice was firm — there would never be another dog, as there could never be another Pooh. End of story.
Then today, I received a letter, with news that I have a new doggy “niece”! She’s a mixed breed, part Boxer, from the shelter. She’s six months old. Janice says she has learned a couple of tricks already, is well house trained and loves to jump and play in the snow. She enclosed this picture.
The new pup is “Winnie”.
I just look at the picture and I can see how Janice couldn’t say no to that face! I am sure she will be a great comfort to Janice, as she already is to me.
Janice, a woman in her seventies, is a great inspiration to me. She embraces life as it marches on.