She was my puppy--Cinders AKA Cindy AKA Cindy Lou AKA Baby Lou. The first time I saw her in the pet store we had a connection and I knew she was MY dog. I begged for 3 days straight and visited her at the store for 3 days straight. On the 3rd night my dad came home with her in his arms! She was shiny black and wiggling all over from excitement.
As she grew we realized a few things about her.
A) She was the runt of the litter and therefore would always look like a puppy
B) She had the strangest, sweetest personality I have ever seen in an animal!
She never misbehaved or chewed anything up in the house, but rather invented her own games to entertain herself. These mainly consisted of rolling balls off the porch and into the rose bushes, shoving her soft toys under shelves and bureaus and then trying to get them out, and putting smaller toys in our shoes (that was always a surprise when you pushed your foot in)! She was obsessed with toys, as most cockerel spaniels are, and would pull them all out and then lay on the carpet, surrounded by them and perfectly happy. She howled when my brother played the saxophone, and sometimes when I played the flute, but man..when that sax came out she knew it was time to perform! She loved going boating, getting her tummy rubbed, and traipsing around the house visiting everyone. She looked out for us and always had to be where the action was--a real party girl!
And she collected rocks. Weird, I know. Whenever we went out somewhere she would pick up rocks and carry them around and insist on bringing them home, and she always pulled rocks out of the pile on the side of our house where we store the old canoe, and drop them in the lawn, much to the chagrin of my dad and brother who would run them over with the lawn mower, which completely fucked it up. But they still loved her.
She had more and more health problems as she aged, but we had her for almost 14 years, and even near the end she still thought she was a puppy. That sweet sweet pup is leaving a big sad hole.
Whenever I've heard the phrase about animals being a part of the family, or dogs being "man's best friend" I thought it was cheesy bullshit. But I get it now. Although I still find those terms not terribly eloquent, I can proudly (and cheesily) say that she was my best friend and will be missed and remembered as such.