My Best Girl Teddi Bear
Drawing - Colored Pencil On Paper
Dog Portrait in Colored Pencil by Conni Schaftenaar
Many years ago I was at work in my office in Coopersville Michigan. The door opened and a woman came in with two puppies in a basket. She lived one highway exit west of Coopersville and said people were constantly dumping puppies and kittens off at the highway exit. If the locals found them, they adopted them or tried to find homes for them, which is what she was doing. The one little pup looked exactly like a little stuffed teddy bear, and I fell in love with her at first sight. She was fuzzy and sweet and thin under her fuzzy coat. I called my husband on the theory that I should at least "ask". This was before cell phones and he was not in the house, so I told the woman I would take the pup. Since I had left a message on the home phone, my husband was not surprised to see me come home with a pup - he was mildly annoyed that I hadn't waited to commit to it, but he took one look at her and the big, tough farmer said, "awww!"
Then a friend gave Teddi a couple of tiny stuffed toys she had from her kids. One was actually a teddy bear and the other a bunny. Teddi (AKA Ted, AKA Ted-Bert) was smart and if I said "get your baby", she would get the teddy bear. If I said "get the bunny", she would bring the stuffed rabbit.
We live on a farm, and Ted was the quintessential great farm dog. She kept the varmint population down, she greeted all visitors with a wagging, plumy tail and a big smile, she adored children. The friend who had donated the stuffed animals had a young son who would come to visit with her. He and Ted would race off and play, play, play! We called him Teddi's pet boy.
When the end came for her, I knew she was acting a little off, so was keeping an eye on her. One day, she basically disappeared. I knew she had gone off to die. I searched and found her near the creek that runs through our pasture, lying on a grassy hummock in the creek. I went and got a blanket and my husband and we carried her back to the house and called our vet. He was kind enough to come out and put her to sleep. She had spent countless hours during her life sitting at the top of our quarter-mile-long driveway hill keeping an eye out for visitors, so she is buried off to the side of the drive with a stone marker. I still miss my best girl.
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