From 1987 to 1998, we were a family of four: Laura, Allan, Gypsy and Clyde. We adopted Gypsy from the ASPCA death row. She looked like a concentration camp victim with bits of fur attached. She turned out to be a magnificent Shepherd-Husky mix, gorgeous, and so smart it was scary. She was a dog whose beauty turned heads, and whose manner commanded great respect. Her love for us was very intense - and so was her will. She was a challenge, that's for sure! She was my best friend.
We had Gypsy not quite two years when we found another little dog on the street, sweet and cheerful and completely housetrained, despite being covered in mange and infections. By the time she was healthy enough to give away, the two dogs were in love. More importantly, Allan was in love! His little Clyde.
We think Clyde was a Jack Russell Terrier-Fox Terrier mix. She was one-third of Gypsy's size and the boss of the house. "The Girls" were inseparable. And that was our family.
Gypsy died in November, 1998. She was aging, her health was failing. It was horrible, it hurt like hell, but I knew we had tried everything we could, and I knew it was the right thing to do, that my final responsibility to her was to end her suffering.
The worst part of Gypsy's death was watching Clyde grieve. The little dog had never known life without her big friend. She was lost and bewildered. She would walk to where Gypsy slept to see if she was there, then look up at us, and our hearts would break all over again.
After about six months, we felt we were ready to get another dog to keep Clyde company. In April 1999, we adopted Cody, a chocolate brown mutt, maybe some kind of lab-shepherd-collie mix. Cody was the first dog we didn't actually find and take in from the street - someone else did, but she already had too many animals, couldn't keep her.
Cody was the perfect sister for Clyde - completely submissive. Clyde spent three days bullying Cody into deep submission, then, her point made, accepted her as her slave. Poor Cody! (There's something about Cody that makes everyone say: Poor Cody! It's just an act to get more treats.)
We thought this was the beginning of a new era: Cody and Clyde. Four months later, Clyde suddenly died. We were out of town when she got sick. I happened to call home, and we drove 17 hours back to NYC. She hung on til we got back. We rushed her to the hospital, and she never came home.
It was such a shock. It seemed impossible that both our beloved animals were gone. I will never forget Allan and I standing outside the animal hospital, holding each other, sobbing, wracked with grief and disbelief.
And then there was Cody. We hardly knew why we had her.
Four months later, Cody and I found Buster, and we were once again a pack of four.