She wasn't supposed to be, but apparently the kids of the family who owned the litter thought it would be funny to dye the puppies green. We took her home anyway, the green wore off after a couple of days, but the memories will last with us for a lifetime.
Sheila and I hadn't even been married a year when we first adopted her. Like many couples with plans of starting a family we started with a dog. And she quickly became an important part of the family. She will always be our first.
We'd come home from work, tired and exhausted, and there would be Lois, eagerly wagging her tail with a ball in her mouth ready to play. At that point you'd basically have two choices: Either ignore her, in which case she'd follow you around dropping the ball at your feet into you finally gave in; Or comply with her playfulness with the hopes of her getting bored or satisfied, in which case she would continuously expect more and more and more play. Either way you'd find yourself playing catch with her for the better part of an hour, and even that was never enough for her.
She could play ball for hours and hours on end. We'd take her to the local dog park in Benicia, CA with the hopes of her getting so exhausted that she'd rest when we got back home. Nope. Sheila and I would wear ourselves out, and Lois would just want to keep on going forever. Fastest dog in the dog park we'd always say to each other.
After a year we had the bright idea of getting her a sister so they could wear each other out. That plan backfired, in that now we had TWO dogs competing for our constant attention. But from here on out Lois and Krypto would be sisters tied at the hip, one team -- "The girls", Lo and Kryp, Kryp and Lo -- with us and each other everywhere we went.
And ohhh, the places we went. In addition to our local romps at the Benicia Dog Park and nearby Lake Herman, there was all of Northern California to explore. The dogs would accompany us on nearly all of our excursions; Muir Beach, Mt. Tamalpais, Point Reyes, Mendocino, Clear Lake, Russian River, Sonoma, Napa, Mt. Shasta, Feather Falls, Lake Tahoe -- the list goes on, I know I'm missing a few in there.
And when the kids came, well Lois was the first one to sniff them out upon our arrival home. And they would become constant companions as the kids grew older, Lois graciously putting up with tail-pulling and ear-pulling and bareback riding and everything else kids and dogs do.
And when we moved cross country to Pennsylvania, it was Lois and Krypto who accompanied me on a cross-country road trip as Sheila and Nate flew.
And our adventures on the East Coast would continue, with more camping trips and vacations to Taughanock Falls, NY, Vermont, and Cape Henlopen in addition to a number of regular local romps in and around Crum Creek and Ridley Creek.
Through it all, no matter what kind of day you had, you could always count on Lois to meet you at the door upon your arrival home, wanting to play. When you went to mow the lawn, there was Lois, ball in mouth, following you every step of the way, always optimisiticly wagging her tail knowing eventually you would give in and throw the ball. And when we'd tease her in the wintertime by throwing a snowball into a snowbank, she would always eagerly search for that missing ball in the snow, not wanting to give up until we made another ball and threw the new snowball into a different snowbank. Always optimisitic, always playful, always forgiving, always loyal.
As the kids have started to grow older, having more activities away from home, relegating us parents to mere shuttle drivers, the dogs haven't gotten the constant attention they did just a few years ago. But they were still always there, always optimisticly waiting to play, and keeping each other company when we weren't around.
Over the past year, Lois has finally started to show her age. She's noticeably lost a step from her once legendary straight-away speed, and she's visibly lost some weight, but she's aways still been Lois, always there for you when we come home at the end of the day, curling up at our feet as we unwind each evening, and there to greet us every morning when we first come downstairs.
As recently as Thanksgiving she was still getting around, admittedly not like she once did, but still game for some catch or chase in the backyard.
Last Sunday morning when we came downstairs she couldn't get out of her bed. Her ears perked up, she was alert and cognitive, but the legs that once jetted her across landscapes were now betraying her. When she finally did try to get up her legs were wobbly and it was all she could do not to fall over. It was a significant effort just to make it outside or into the living room to curl up at our feet.
Even then, she was still Lois, making a few last ditch efforts to get into the trashcan under the kitchen sink, or hoover up the crumbs from the kids under the breakfast table. Sheila and I just smiled -- the old girl still has some rascal in her.
But it just became too much. After a week of hoping it was just a passing phase we knew we needed to take her to the vet. We ended up putting her down Sunday morning.
There is definitely a hole in our family right now. Krypto has never known life without Lois, and honestly, I don't think they've spent more than 15 minutes apart her entire life. She can't understand where her buddy went. And the rest of us are sad too. We'll always miss her, but we'll never forget her. Go get'm Lo!