Right after Oreo died the girls didn't want to talk about him. Now that a couple of weeks have passed they bring up random memories about their puppy. I call it the "remember when" moment because the girls start the conversation by saying, "Remember when Oreo...."
My two favorites illustrate how gentle our crazy, nutty dog could be. I've always heard that dogs have an instinct for knowing when someone is sick, but I never say it in action until my Dad was in hospice. When I went over to visit during the day I always brought Oreo. He stayed in the backyard and played happily. One day he got into the house. I panicked when I realized he was near Dad because Oreo was a "look at me" jumper. This time he sniffed Dad and sat next to him. Dad pet Oreo's head and talked to him for a while. When Dad fell asleep, Oreo stretch out under Dad's recliner. I tried to get Oreo back into the yard, but Dad woke up and said, "Leave him. I like having him here. He's a really good dog." Oreo stayed under Dad's chair until we left.
My other favorite happened just a few days before Oreo died. We took Oreo to golf lessons with us every week. He loved to take a walk in the woods near the golf course. One path leads to a recreational area. There's a nice, wooded path around a water reclamation area. (Ok, it's much prettier than it sounds like it should be.) There are always a lot of people around feeding the ducks, riding bikes and picnicking. On this Thursday, there was a little girl riding her bike with her dad. When she saw Oreo she stopped and wanted to pet him. I made him sit so she could pet him. It wasn't until she came over that I saw she had Downs Syndrome. Her dad looked nervous. I said, "He's a jumper, but he won't bite." Oreo sat still while she pet his head. I twitched a bit when she threw her arms around his neck and smother him with a hug, but he didn't move. His tailed wagged like crazy the whole time. When I said we had to go, her dad mouthed "thank you" several times. At the time I didn't think much about it. Kids always wanted to pet Oreo. Now it's just another example of our nutty, crazy dog showing his sweet, gentle side.
The girls have their own "remember when" moments that all involve Oreo doing something funny or sweet. They talk about him at random times. We have a few photos of him around the house now. Once in a while I find one of the girls holding a photo talking to Oreo. I try not to let them see me. It's such a private moment that I don't want to interrupt them. It's their way to dealing with their sadness and moving forward.
Recently they have been talking about getting another dog. Actually, they've been talking about getting two dogs. According to our girls, the story is that right after Oreo died Daddy told them they could each get a dog. They want a little dog they can carry, but that won't happen. I always say if I can carry it then it's not coming into our house.
The brunette twin summed up wanting another dog with, "It's not like we want to replace Oreo. He was our first dog and the best dog. We had so much fun with him we want another dog."
Sometimes she's so much more grown-up than we realize.