Fifteen years ago, she strayed into our lives and curled up in our hearts. We found her in a ditch by the mailbox, looking a little like a young Lassie, staring into our souls with those big brown eyes. Right away, Cindy, Kaiser and Kanon wanted to keep her. With a 3-year-old, a 1-year-old and two four-legged divas already in the house, I wasn't so sure. My first instinct has never been so wrong.
We went door to door trying to find her owner because a dog that sweet and loving had to belong to someone. We weren't disappointed (me included not long after) when no one claimed her and her someone became us.
Kaiser, who was 3 at the time, named her Lizzie after the little old lady jalopy in the new movie "Cars." Little did he know that was also what his Nana's sisters called her. Serendipity had a new name. Lizzie had a new home.
She became "our outside dog," the perfect low-maintenance complement to Tate the Pomapoo and Dustin the Papillon. She came and went as she pleased, the freest of free spirits, roaming the woods and the neighborhood with her running buddy Louis (a k a Louie/LouLou), but she always came home. She protected the boys and the house from coyotes and other varmints as well as suspicious delivery people. Eventually, she won them over, too, as they delivered her treats and head pats on each visit.
Before you picture her as a total diva herself, picture this: Every so often, she would deliver a tribute to us in the garage, in the form of a deceased rabbit or a severed rabbit's foot or a clean bone of unknown origin. I prefer to think she just happened upon these remains on her travels and figured, well, Dad knows best what to do in these sticky situations.
Cindy always said that Lizzie looked at me with googly eyes. Every time she said it, I scoffed and smiled to myself, undeserving of that unconditional affection but so glad to have it.
What I wouldn't give to see that look in her eyes one more time.
If you know us, you knew Lizzie, so by now you should know our hearts are heavy today. We just said good-bye to our sweet spirit, our wagging, licking guardian angel, our Lizzie. At 17, she made it through one more Father's Day and then let us know it was time to go to her rest, to visit with Tate and Dustin again, to leave us in the loving paws of Kogi, Finn and Louis.
Goodnight, sweet Lizzie. You'll always be our brown-eyed girl.