Eddie the Sheepdog passed away on Wednesday. Even though he was old and sick, and we knew he had a good life, it’s still hard to lose a beloved dog. My brothers and I reminisced about Eddie on Wednesday night, and here were some of our favorite memories.
We got Eddie when I was a junior in high school, in 1997. We had an Old English Sheepdog in the past, and my dad had a couple while he was growing up. We love their goofy, rebellious personalities, and joke that they’re untrainable. We went to a breeder and I picked up a cute little dog with one blue eye and one brown eye. At that very moment, a spunky little dog bit at my shoe laces and untied them. It was if he was saying “Not that one, pick me!” And so we did.
We decided to name him Chester. He was a little ball of fluff, and we loved his personality. Later that week my whole family gathered in one of the barns for a Saturday coffee break. My young cousin walked in and asked “Where’s Eddie?” Everyone looked at him, and we said “Who’s Eddie?” My cousin looked at us kind of funny and said “Your dog!” We all laughed and somehow the name Eddie just stuck.
We joked that Eddie was untrainable. After many tries, we think we finally got him to learn “sit,” but it may have just been that he got tired of waiting for his treat and sat down. As he got older, we tried and tried to teach him “paw,” and on a few very rare occasions he actually did give his paw. We’d get so excited and tell him what a good boy he was, and he’d love all the attention and praise. But when we’d ask for paw again moments later, he had no idea what to do.
We all had fun talking in Eddie’s voice. I know most families have a voice for their pets, and Eddie was no exception. Eddie would say the things that everybody was thinking but nobody wanted to say out loud. Silly Eddie, he didn’t know any better!
My dad invented a fun game to let Eddie burn off some of his spunky energy. He would hold on to Eddie, and one of my brothers or I would run around the house, calling Eddie the whole time. He wanted to play so badly, and my dad would let him go when we got half way around the house. When we came back to the deck, we’d quickly run up the steps and take a seat. True to his breed, Eddie had fluffly hair in his face at all times, so he didn’t see so well. Eddie would run, full speed, around the house, wanting so badly to catch his playmate. We’d laugh and laugh as he kept doing laps, looking for us, as we sat on the deck. Sometimes he would change directions, and once he even came up on the deck and looked at each of us while we tried to hold in laughter. He then decided that whoever he was chasing wasn’t there, and went back to running around the house. After a few minutes, we’d let Eddie in on the joke and he was always so happy to catch us!
We also played tag, or “ghost” which was kind of like a night-time game of tag. We’d tag Eddie, and the fun was trying to stay away from him so he couldn’t tag us back. He didn’t know what was going on, but had fun running around the yard.
When my future husband, Ed, came to pick me up for our first date, Eddie the Sheepdog ran over to his green truck, which looked a lot like my dad’s work truck. Eddie was getting ready to jump in the open door, when my mom yelled “Eddie, get away from that truck!” Ed, who thought he was just there to pick up his blind date in his brand new truck, looked perplexed. We all laughed when we explained that Eddie was the dog and my mom wasn’t talking to Ed!
As Eddie aged, he became less of a hyper dog and more of a mass of hair on the floor, always laying down in the way, so we had to be careful to step over him. He became a grump, and was happy to put the puppy Duke in his place. Still, Duke and Eddie because best friends, though Eddie always made it clear he was boss. We loved Eddie in all of his grumpiness because it was his own, unique personality.
Though it’s hard to say goodbye to Eddie, we prefer to think about how he brought so many years of happiness to my family.