We adopted Biscuit from the Atlanta Humane Society when she was about 6 months old. My husband and I went there to find an addition to our family of two, not really having anything specific in mind. We just knew we wanted to bring a dog into our lives and adoption was the only way to go for us.
The Humane Society was amazing, and heart breaking. So many puppers! We fell in love with a mid-sized black dog with white socks, a white splotch on her chest and on the tip of her long, slightly crooked tail. She was more wall-flower than over-excited puppy. She had soulful eyes and floppy ears. They had written ‘Beverly’ over her kennel. We didn’t know what we would name her but that definitely wasn’t it. We had a few moments together outside and there she was a different girl. She ran in circles. She ran to us and then away again, like a game of tag we didn’t know she started. I swear she was smiling.
After background checks on us, a paid fee, and a few details on the pup (she was the runt of an abandoned litter, not sure of age, pretty sure parents were a labrador and plott hound), the Humane Society agreed, we could adopt her. But the catch was, we needed to come back the next day. Oh the agony! To leave her there! She didn’t understand we were coming back. I swear I could see it in her eyes, the sadness. I cried on the way home.
We settled on the name Biscuit. It was cute, but not *too* cute. It was southern-ish. And we agreed on it, and frankly there were not too many we agreed on, so this was a win.
The next day I drove up. They didn’t mention bringing a crate. Being a first time dog adopter it didn’t dawn on me. Surely she’ll just sit in the seat next to me right? Oh- hindsight is hilarious.
The 40 pounds of Biscuit sat in my lap the entire way home. Not the best scenario but you know what? I didn’t care. The happiness! The happiness that practically oozed out of her! The tail wagging. The snuggling. My heart.
The weeks that followed were entertaining and educational for all of us. She was 6 months old and had not been potty trained. Or socialized. We worked really hard, and got outside help too but she’d never be the most social dog when it came to people. She was more of a dog dog, than a people dog. Except for her family. She learned quick and proved she was smart. And fast. Turns out plott hounds are very fast. We’d go to dog parks and she would walk up to dogs big or small and somehow communicate that she either wanted to be chased or to chase them. She was so fast people would gasp. “I KNOW”, I would say. And she’d run around in huge circles, something I hadn’t seen dogs do before. Our trainer said that it’s just her energy and part of her nature. She ran like that for years.
A few years later we had our two kids and you have never seen a sweeter bond. They’d lay together while the kids read. We’d think of new tricks to teach her. When we played hide-and-seek Biscuit always blew my cover. When we played board games she’d sit with us like a player and if we were on the floor and she felt like it had been long enough she’d just walk across the board. Sorry! She didn’t like squeaky toys but loved to chew on Kongs filled with peanut butter. Or any toy with a treat inside really.
When the kids were really young it was just me, Biscuit and the kids, 2 under 2. We would walk and talk. The kids don’t remember a time without her because there was no time without her.
We would take her on long walks and short hikes. When we moved to California she rode with my husband and they drove together cross-country. She loved going for a ride. The minute the hatchback opened she would jump in, invited or not. When I would come home after a 20 minute walk she would greet me the same way as if I’d been gone for a week. So much love in a now 70 pound package.
We’d take her to my parents house when we visited because they also loved her and why leave her at home if we didn’t need to? She’d lay on their deck or lawn and bask in the sun always needing a little nudge or piece of cheese to come back in. We would joke she was part lizard. Come on Biscuit, it’s hot out, your fur is hot, lets get some water, come on Biscuit! She was getting older, her hips a little arthritic, a little grey around her muzzle and eyebrows. She might not be as fast but her mind and nose was still sharp. Cheese you say? I’ll be right there.
She had a wonderful relationship with my sister. In Biscuit’s younger days they ran together. As she got older she’d find my sister and sit so close to her she’d practically be in her lap. Or literally in her lap. I think Biscuit knew when she was going through a tough time, seeking her out in a house full of people. Dogs are that way aren’t they? They know when you’re not right and they come right to you.
When she was 11 she had some cancerous lumps and bumps. We had them removed during an ugly but necessary surgery. She had too much life to consider anything else.
A little over a year later there was another, bigger, lump. The vet said it was practically inoperable and given her age the anesthesia could be rough and she might not come out of it. Plus, there are likely other lumps, each with their own issues. So, we could operate now and take our chances with the surgery, knowing it opens the door to more surgeries and complications. Or we love the hell out of her and keep an eye on her health. The vet gave her about a year.
We chose the latter. I told my family and we threw her a birthday party. We made an extra fuss at Christmas, everyone getting and giving extra snuggles with her. She lived almost that entire year the vet talked of. She died in January 2020, at home with us on some very good drugs so she didn’t feel any more pain.
Those last few days with her were so hard on all of us. We talked with the kids and told her Biscuit was sick and not going to get better. That she loved them and knew the kids loved her too. No one could have loved her more than we did. Biscuit brought so much joy into our lives. So much love.
Upstairs we have a little collage of pictures of Biscuit and this morning my son was staring at it. “I miss her,” he said. I told him I did too. I think of her when something happens that she would react to, which is almost everything. The doorbell. A fly. A piece of chicken that fell off a plate. Board games on the floor. Walks. So you know, every-day things. I don’t know when we’ll stop thinking of her every day. And maybe we won’t. That’s ok too. She brought so much to us, I hope she felt the love we tried to surround her with each day. I like to image that there is a puppy heaven somewhere. I know it’s childish but I don’t care. A place where she can run with other pups to her heart’s content and lay in the sun all day.
The kids would like another dog but I just can’t. I’m sure someday, but I don’t have space in my heart yet for one. I read a little about grief and something that resonated with me was to not try to get past it, or forget about her. But to remember and embrace those memories. So that’s what we do. We talk about the funny and loving moments with Biscuit. The time she snatched a chicken strip off the table. The first Halloween we put butterfly wings on her harness. The way she’d turn around 10 times in a beanbag before she got comfortable. So that’s why I wrote this. To help remember Biscuit. Thank you for all the joy and love.
To donate to the Humane Society you can go here, but there are a lot of other great organizations too.