Willow, Willow Anne (for when she was in trouble), Wiggle Butt, Willow Pillow, Sunshine, Honey Bunches… so many names for my four legged best friend. When I picked up my ‘free puppy’ that I found via a Craigslist ad 16 years ago, I don’t think I had any idea what I was in for. I wanted a friend and some company, but she stole my heart more than I ever expected.
She was an absolute joy and an absolute destructive hurricane in the beginning. She destroyed my brand new yard – twice. Dug holes in the new sod, SHREDDED all the trees and bushes I put in… all because she was mad she was left alone (and probably because it was SO MUCH FUN). And oh, the shoes she ate… But then it would be time for bed and you could tell her, even as a puppy, to ‘go get your baby’ and she’d grab the droopy dachshund stuffed animal and hold her head up as far as it would go to carry it up the stairs to bed… and all was forgiven.
Willow was THE BEST spooner. She’d basically fall on you so she could slide down your side and get as close as possible. She always slept with me, eventually us, until the last 9 months or so when it was too uncomfortable for her and she couldn’t get up and down from the bed on her own anymore. She loved sleeping on people beds or couches. The more pillows the better – just like her mom 🙂
Willow’s greatest joy in life was a ball. She would chase the ball until she bled and you had to make her stop (hopefully before that). She was the fastest thing I’ve ever seen at the dog park or the beach. Seriously. You HAD to throw with a Chuck It. She didn’t give a flying squirrel if there were other dogs there or not. It was all about the ball. If you were at the park and there were 50 other balls out in the field and she wasn’t sure which one was thrown… she would pick up EVERY BALL until she found HERS. And she’d always bring it back and she’d ALWAYS give it to you – because she needed you to throw it again! Her best trick was that if you didn’t like where she dropped it (she’d come flying at you and drop it mid run and it would roll away from you) you could tell her ‘Go get it!’ and she’d move it closer. Man, she got mad if you asked her to do it more than twice, lol. She’d start to swear at you in dog. It was hilarious. And GOD FORBID you lose a ball (throwing it somewhere you couldn’t retrieve it) and expected to leave without it.. she would get in front of you and bark and bounce on you to make you stop and keep ‘yelling’. Eventually, you just had to let her carry the Chuck It back. She’d chew it all up, but that was the only way to come to a compromise.
Willow always wanted to be the best doggie she could be. She would do just about anything you asked and she would tell you she loved you in her own ways. You could let her be off leash at the beach and she’d run in a big giant circle, always coming back to check in and make sure we were coming. She’d play in the yard and come find you. You’d feel a little bump on the back of your leg and realize you’d been bumped by her nose as she came by to say Hi and I love you and then go back to whatever she was doing. She wouldn’t steal food if you left a plate out where she could reach it… but if you left the garbage bag out and there was a butter wrapper available… that was our own dang fault 😉
Willow was also a good dancer. If I cranked up the music and started singing and dancing in the house… she’d come up and want to dance too. She loved to be moved by you along with the music and she’d go between your legs and circle back around and around with a big smile on her face.
Her last year was very hard on all of us. She was perfectly healthy except for the evil arthritis in her hips. She didn’t want to play ball anymore and her best days were when she could bounce back across the yard after going potty. She still loved her kitty, Millie, and loved to be with us every second. ‘Walkabout’ in the yard every day when you got home and any time you were willing to wander with her were her favorite times. She loved to sniff and figure out who or what had been in HER yard and treats were always the best parts of the day (or every 5 minutes when you can convince your people that you really do have dementia and can’t remember that you just got a treat) and there were still car rides, even though way too many of them ended at the vet lately.
I’m so sorry, Willow, that Mama couldn’t fix you or make you feel better. The vets and I tried everything we could that I thought you would tolerate. I never wanted you to be in pain but I didn’t want you to just exist and sleep through that existence in a drugged haze, either. I hope we made the right decision and that you are running again as fast as you can go. If you get a chance, please swing by and give Papa and I a nose bump every now and again. We miss you terribly.
A donation was made in Willow Hoffman's memory and the memorial was created on August 18, 2020.