In Memory of Sissie Abshire-Giles

Untitled-1Sissie was turned into the pound at 12-14 years of age. She was rescued by Susan, her foster mom, who asked us to take her so that she would have a place on the bed. All of the vets agreed that Sissie was a “very geriatric” girl. She only had two teeth, both of which were abscessed, and her tongue was permanently lodged outside of the left side of her mouth. She had a twinkle in her eye and quickly earned the nickname, “Sis-A-Priss” due to her imperial manner.

Sissie was a little firecracker from the start. She would twirl and bark and flat-out demand what she wanted. In true terrier fashion, she could not be deterred from anything upon which she set her mind. She was a five-pound ball of dynamite who ruled a pack of dogs who were two and three times larger than she. She didn’t take anything from the other dogs, though she was quiet in the assertion of her authority. Primarily, she would not tolerate having any dog in her face. She struck silently, like a mongoose – making her toothless point without uttering a sound, then quietly prancing off. Even Molly, our Queen-Bee Pomeranian, backed down from Sissie. She was hilarious to watch.

Sissie brought joy to all around her. She volunteered at The Guest House, where she did pet therapy with the elderly. When we adopted MacTavish, an elderly Westie who was grieving the loss of his mommy and furry sibling, Sissie “tolerated” Mac’s frequent expressions of affection towards her. He would groan and rub his head all over her tiny body. She just stood there and let him do it without objecting. She was essential in helping MacTavish overcome his sadness.

Sissie’s favorite thing in the world was eating. In the mornings she would bounce out of the yard and into the house, bounding up the stairs, twirling and barking down the hall as she headed to the kitchen to get her breakfast. She barked, putting her entire body into the effort of expressing her wish to be fed IMMEDIATELY. She would not stop barking until the food was on the floor. She was shameless in her demand to be included in all human meals. Begging was beneath her. She was a Princess and clearly felt that it was her right to be included in all human meals.

Her next favorite thing was snuggling. In the early days, Sissie slept plastered against my side and rolled over with me every time I changed position. Later, she used a donut bed that we placed on our bed for her enjoyment. In the mornings, she would snuggle in beside us, squirming against us as we rubbed her back. She made the cutest little groaning noises as she did so.

Sissie was fundamentally a sweet little girl. When we wiped her face or did anything to which she deeply objected, she would wiggle and wiggle and wiggle. Most of the time it took two people to hold her still so that face wiping and other care activities could be done. She never bit. She never complained vocally. She only wiggled. She was a riot.

Everyone who spent a little time in Sissie’s company quickly fell in love with her. The first time her primary vet, Dr. Hanson, saw her, she cuddled her and said, “all of your dogs are sweet, but this one is something extra special.” During her first examination by her internist, Dr. Olsen, he looked up and declared, “she’s sweet!” Indeed – she was all of that and more.

Sissie was 19-years-old. We were blessed to have five wonderful years with her. As she passed, she was surrounded by the people she loved the most: Mommy, Daddy, Foster Mommy Susan (Grammy), and Best Buddy Craig. I will be eternally grateful that, in her final moments, I was able to thank her for being in my life, and tell her that she was a good girl, and that I loved her. Although we are thankful that she is now resting peacefully, she will be sorely missed.

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