Our little red-haired lady

When I told my son Doug I was going to write a column about one of my dogs, he made the remark “not that again!” So I did some checking and discovered that starting with the column I wrote for the Reno-Gazette-Journal, I’ve written close to 1,000 columns.

After 1,000 columns you expect something brand new. I said, “Are you joking?” So now I’m going to write about one of our puppies that came before our current Riley and Molly. Anyone who’s ever owned a dog — or any other beloved pet — knows the love these four-legged friends give us every day. All they want in exchange is a little affection, water and a plate of food once a day.

Of course when taking good care of your pets there are vet and grooming visits too. For me, it’s worth every cent and more. I remember my first pet, a canary called Petey. When I found he’d died in the bottom of his little cage, I just about fell apart. We never had another pet while I was growing up. However, a good deal later my husband Van and I acquired our puppy Trinket.

It happened one busy morning at my job in Fresno when one of the girls from another unit came in and asked if anybody wanted a little dog. She’d found it wondering around a crowded parking lot on a terribly hot day. Taking it home she tried advertising and checking the neighborhood to no avail. I told her I’d be interested. Van and I went to her home that night to check this little dog.

Instantly Van said. “Yes, we’d take the dog off of her hands.” I carried her out to the car while my husband took us home. Van was outwardly excited; telling me that this little fuzzy red-haired puppy was a pure bred wire-haired Dachshund. It was obvious she was house broken, but whenever Van went near her she’d pull away and hide behind a chair. Van decided we couldn’t keep a dog that acted this way.

Van planned to take her — I’d named her Trinket — to the pound. 10 minutes before he was leaving for his lunch break to do that I called, begging him to change his mind and give this dear puppy a second chance. He reluctantly agreed. We were going on vacation the next week and left Trinket at the vets until we returned. I went inside, paid the bill, and carried that little Dachshund to the car.

She jumped out of my arms, into Van’s lap and began licking his face. It didn’t matter what had caused the change, but Trinket became a permanent member of our family. It was easy to take her anywhere, shopping or just for a drive. The first time we went camping we found out just how intelligent she was. Van had put our little Valco boat in the water and was placing fishing rods, etc. inside,

I took Trinket out of the camper to let her “do her thing” before we left to go out and fish on Wishon Lake. After she did her business, instead of hopping back into the camper she ran to the boat and jumped inside, climbing onto the middle seat and settling in for the ride. The years with Trinket rolled by, as time does, and we’d moved to Cascade, Idaho.

Van’s job with the forest service often had his being away on eight-day trips into the mountains. We knew that Trinket wasn’t feeling well. So I took her to the vet who said that unfortunately her kidneys were failing and it would be best to put her down. I made arrangements to have Trinket taken from us the next day. That night was very chilly so I put Trinket in bed near our wood stove.

After waking up the next morning, I went to take Trinket outside, but my sweet little girl had passed away during the night. I was devastated! It took time to make the assorted calls I needed to, and I had to have Van come home from work a day early. I felt as thought somebody had pulled my heart out from inside of my body.

My sweet little redheaded girl is buried at the top of a hill overlooking the beautiful mountains in Idaho. We’ve had a lot of wonderful puppies since then, all whom I love as much as her. But there will only ever be one Trinket.

Edna Van Leuven is a Churchill County writer and columnist. She may be reached at news@lahontanvalleynews.com


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