Princess #1’s Story

It was Mom who decided she wanted to have a little dog share our family.  In the end, it was Grandma who really bonded with Princess.

A friend of Mom who worked with her told her about a neighbor who had a litter of brand-new Chihuahua puppies.  One Sunday she talked me into riding the bus into downtown Detroit with her to see the pups.  We arrived at the lady’s house to find 3 pups in a playpen.  Two of the puppies were breeding and show quality and much too expensive for us.  Then there was little Princess.  Princess was the runt of the litter with bad teeth, a crooked mouth, and much too small for breeding.  So the lady just wanted to get rid of her cheap.  Mom paid $30 for her, but she was worth every penny.

Again, it was Grandma who bonded the closest with Princess.  Mom worked all day and I was in school.  I was also a teenager at this point and had a life of my own, so to speak.  I still tried to spend at least one day of the weekend with Mom and Grandma.

I had just turned 16 and enrolled in the local high school driver training program.  I had to attend classes 3 nights a week.  The object here was to have at least one person in the family that could drive in case of emergency.  After Grandpa died, the bus became our only means of transportation. Mom felt someone should be able to drive because Grandma was getting older and the bus was too much for her to handle, especially in the Winter.  

I had to walk about 2 miles to attend these classes.  Every night Mom and Grandma would walk up to meet me after school so I wouldn’t have to walk home in the dark all alone.  And every night Princess would come along in the pocket of Grandma’s coat.

After I did learn to drive and got my license, Mom got me my first car.  It was a 1964 silver Pontiac Catalina.  After this we started going for family outings on Sunday just like we did when Grandpa was with us.  On at least one Saturday a month, we would visit Grandpa’s grave at the Woodmere Cemetery.  Princess enjoyed the walks in the cemetery.  

Then on one Sunday we drove to Patton Park, a local park not far from where we lived in Southwest Detroit.  Princess, of course, came along.  There was a small lake in the park that we would always walk around.  Princess was so busy chasing a butterfly that she ended up running into the lake.  We fished her out with no problem because the lake was not even a foot deep at that point.  When we got home we noticed a bite mark of some kind on her leg.  It became infected and we took her to the vet a day or so later.  The vet bandaged it after putting ointment on it and said we should leave her there overnight so he could check it again first thing in the morning.  Without thinking, Mom and Grandma agreed.  She didn’t know that Princess would be sleeping on a cold cement cage floor overnight.  Here was a dog used to sleeping under the blankets on someone’s bed. When she was released the next day, Princess had a cold.  The cold turned into pneumonia.  Everything that we could do for her we did, but the pneumonia took its toll.  Princess died one night in Grandma’s arms.  I don’t believe I ever saw Grandma cry like she did holding the lifeless little body, even when Grandpa died.

I think Grandma blamed herself for allowing Princess to spend the night at the vet’s office.  I think the lesson learned here was to always get all the details of what type of accommodations are provided if a pet has to spend the night somewhere.  A healthy pet just being boarded somewhere can handle a lot more than a frail, sick pet that needs warmth and attention.  In cases like this, the pet is better off at home.

This is Princess, doing what she did best.  
This is Mom and Princess.  
This is Princess and me – again doing what she did best. 
This is Mom and Princess again.