A MinD in MoTown

RIP Licorice, 1994-2009
May 18, 2009, 10:47 am
Filed under: I am getting old..., RIP

It was the fall of 1996 and I was 12 years old. My brother – 10 at the time – and I had begged my mom for YEARS to let us get a dog, but to no avail. And finally, only months before she would wed my step-father, she succumbed to our constant pleading.

My mom sent this photo to my phone Saturday morning, just after putting Licorice to sleep. It was taken in April.

My mom sent this photo to my phone Saturday morning, just after putting Licorice to sleep. It was taken in April.

My aunt was in the throws of a divorce and neither she or her soon-to-be ex-husband could keep their purebred standard black poodle, Licorice. She was about 2 years old – born Nov. 1, 1994 – and we were more than willing to take on the responsibility of our first dog.

And we did for the next 12-and-a-half years of her life. This past Saturday, after amazingly fighting death for nearly six months, my parents decided it was time to let Licorice go. Her health had been declining since Thanksgiving – although around Christmastime, it vastly, yet temporarily, improved – and despite my mom’s best efforts to help that dog in any way possible, she was convinced our 14-year-old pooch was starting to suffer.

As sad as it is, the decision to put our dog down was a long time coming. My parents never thought she’d make it to December, and yet she proved everyone wrong, acting like her normal self (minus the speed, of course, due to her age) through the winter. But her health rapidly diminished once Easter came near and by last week, Licorice was barely able to walk, refusing to eat and always appeared in a daze, likely deaf and almost blind.

I said my very sad goodbyes to her at Christmas. I tried to spend time with Licorice while I was back home, knowing it’d be unlikely that I ever saw her alive again, and I weeped as I gave her one last hug before hitting the road back to NC. If there’s anything for me to be grateful for right now, it’s that I at least had a chance to tell her how much I loved her and a final farewell.

Living so far away, it almost doesn’t seem real that she’s gone – though I’m tearing up as I say that. If I lived at home, constantly feeling the void left by her death, I’d be a crying mess. To be honest, I think stepping through that front door without her there to greet me would instantaneously break my heart.

She was probably the best dog anyone could ever have. She was a pro at sitting, shaking hands and even begging. Prior to welcoming her into our household, my aunt taught her to “dance.” Licorice would stand straight up, on her back legs, and hop in a circle. It was so cute! And I’m certain I’ll never get Sophie to master that skill as her “Aunt Licorice” – what my parents called her when referring to Sophie – did. Licorice loved everyone she encountered and was the friendliest pet someone could ask for. She was always well-behaved and happy. Looking back, I wish I spent more time with her, but I suppose that’s how it is when anyone or anything dies. You can’t help but crave even another moment together.

Above all, Licorice was my mom’s dog. Sure, my brother and I preferred to think she was ours, but in reality, she was a mama’s girl all along. It kills me knowing how badly this loss is hurting my mom. I’m even afraid to call and ask how she’s handling it for fear she’ll start crying as she did Friday when telling me the sorrowful news. I just hope she finds some relief soon. We all know it was time to say goodbye, but that, in no way, makes it any easier to do so.

When I adopted my Sophie, I bought her a purple collar, just like Licorice’s. And now that she’s gone, it’ll be a great way to remember my very first dog. To say she’ll be missed doesn’t feel like enough, it feels like the understatement of understatements, but what else can I say? She’ll be a tough act to follow, that’s for sure.

RIP Licorice. We hope you loved your life with us, because you truly brought something amazing to all of ours. We’ll always love and miss you. ❤

20 Comments so far
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I’m afraid the day I have to put my cat to sleep. Granted, it’s many years to come, I’m still afraid.

I’m sorry for your loss. Know that Licorice loves you and your family very much.

This is the first pet we’ve had to put to sleep, and talk about heartbreaking! Though I can’t imagine it getting any easier each time it’s done. Oy.

Hopefully your cat lives MANY, MANY more years.

Comment by phampants

I’m so sorry.

Your love for Licorice is quite obvious and I’m sure she felt that every time you two were together.

I hope so. I really do.

Comment by thatShortChick

I’m sorry for your loss. It sounds like Licorice was a great friend. The best thing is that you’ll always have those great memories of her.

Very great memories. Now if only I could find all the pictures I should have… Being a black dog with very curly hair though, she was not easy to photograph. You could never capture all the little cute things in a picture.

Comment by Akirah

I’m so sorry. I know how hard it is losing a pet. She’s in a better place now hanging out with my Princess ❤

Aw, I hope so. I hope she’s out there somewhere, spritely playing with other dogs, wagging her tail. Damn it, tearing up again. Ha.

Comment by Jamie

I lost my first pet years ago, and it was one of the worst days ever. I wept and held his body close as I felt the warmth leave his body. I must have cried for days afterwards, even to this day I miss my best friend Sparky. I feel for ya. 😦

Aw. I’m sorry hun. That had to be so painful. My mom held her as they put her to sleep. I can’t even imagine how much that drained her… I hate to say it, but I don’t think I would’ve been brave enough to do that.

Comment by omegaradium

That’s so sad! Sorry Mindy…I know it’s really hard to lose a pet when they’re a member of the family! (Especially my birthday twin…)

I was thinking about Licorice yesterday morning, and that thought came to mind actually! First thing I said to you when we met, “hey you have the same birthday as my dog.” Jeez. I guess it’s all yours now … well, you and the half-million others born that day.

Comment by Jennie

I’m sorry Mindy. Licorice sounds and looks like a lovely dog.

She really was. Thanks hun!

Comment by Ashley

I’m so sorry, she does indeed look like a great dog.

I dread the day I have to say goodbye to my dog.

She very much was a great dog. =/ Now I’m fearful of the day when my puppy will come to the same fate. I hope I get 14 years with her, too.

Comment by Perpetual

Putting your favorite pet to sleep is really sad. My friend did this and she cried the entire time but it’s time. She looked cute, I;’m sorry for your loss 😦

It was sad, but at least I wasn’t there for it. That would’ve been far too tough to handle.

Comment by andhari

See, this is why I’m grateful I’ve never had a dog. After watching Marley and Me and hardly reacting… I can see it’s definitely A Dog Thing 🙂

Pretty dog though, but I fear my sexuality might be called into question if I ever get anything smaller than a Labrador or something…

She actually wasn’t a small dog. She was standard, so about medium sized. Smaller than a lab, but not too much smaller… And my mom told me not to watch “Marley and Me” ’cause I’ll cry a whole lot, so ya, not watching it. Ha.

Comment by Sebastian

Oh I’m so sorry and sad to read this. 😦

Thanks hun. Def a big bummer…

Comment by Megan

OMG … I can’t believe it. I remember the good times with her (when she used to cuddle on your bed) and the bad times (the one time she tore my jeans, biting the cuff of my leg as I was walking out. She was an awesome dog and always seemed to know when someone was upset. Please let your mom know that I am sorry. It’s extremely sad, within a few months both Licorice and Molly passed away 😦

She was an ankle biter for many years, ha. It was only because you were a guy and tall though, so you can’t hold it entirely against her. I can’t believe both of them are gone. And to think, when in high school, those dogs were everything to us. Damn.

Comment by Jonathan

Sorry to hear about this… I’ve only lost one pet so far, the cat I got when I was in kindergarten (’89)…. I know that my Dexter will go some day, especially if his seizures get worse… He’ll always be my puppy, regardless of age or size.

Also sorry to hear that Sophie’s being a little… challenging. Hope you’re room airs out.

Challenging… Hm, much worse than challenging! I stopped home today after an interview for work, and she ate up my blinds! I don’t even know what to do anymore. Such a problem puppy… Oy. I truly have my hands full.

Comment by Rini

Eek! Sorry, but I did chuckle at that. My blinds are destroyed. I’ve already told my landlord I’ll by new ones (only 1 1/2 months in!) …

Dex chewed up my brother’s hats and his prized band jacket (he opted not to get a letterman for this thing)… Dex did grow out of it though… I just can’t remember when.
He also had what my mom called “Sun Downers”… which was every evening as the sun went down, he’d race around in circles around the house and the coffee table. He grew out of that too…

Puppy Bootcamp for Sophie?

This is the SECOND time she ruined the blinds, and I’m heading out today to buy new ones. Otherwise, everyone and their mother can look in my bedroom, directly at my bed, every night. Creeeeeepy.

I hope she grows out of this, but I think it’s a symptom of being left home alone, although there’s nothing I can do about that. I have to work. And it’d take me FOREVER to list all the things she’s chewed up – including my glasses, twice. Oy. Bootcamp might soon be in order.

Comment by Rini

Aww. I’m so sorry for your loss. Losing a pet, even at an old age, is always challenging, and reading your story here about Licorice reminds me of my first dog, Dodger, who passed away when I was a freshman in college.

I’m sorry about Dodger. Cute name though. When I was a kid and my fish died, I never much cared. I’m not sure if it’d be good or not to apply that same sense of thought to this loss… Probably unhealthy.

Comment by E.P.

Awww, what a cutie. Sounds like she had an amazing and love-filled life… none of us can ask for more than that 😉

Very true. We provided a great life to her the best we could. That’s all we could do, I suppose.

Comment by LiLu

I’m so sorry to hear about Licorice. She sounds like a sweet dog & she had a very loving family

Loving family, for sure. Just heard yesterday that my whole family was torn up about it on Saturday. I think I’m happy I was working all day and unable to dwell on what happened.

Comment by Cee

I’m so sorry about your dog :(. I just got my first dog two years ago, and your post made me tear up a little bit just thinking about one day losing him.

Aww, sorry to have made you tear. It is sad to think about, and this loss has definitely made my current dog about 100x more precious to me, realizing that, in the grand scope of things, we have only a decade or more together. So difficult to say goodbye to a pet when they’ve become an important part of the family.

Comment by Jessy

OMG, way too sad for a Friday. This is what I get for waiting til Friday to read it, huh? I will be a big heaping mess when my Otis dies…though it is a long way off (I hope!). Dogs just SO fill up your life with joy, don’t they? I guess that’s why we keep getting them, even though we know we’ll outlive them again and again, huh?

😦 I’m sorry for your loss.

I can’t even imagine all of us puppy-mommies – me, you, Jamie, etc. – losing our current dogs. What kind of blogs would we have without talking about Sophie, Otis and Edie at times? They’re amazing, they become family, and yet we know we’ll be the ones to have to say goodbye. It sucks.

Comment by miss mpls

That was such a nice tribute to the Licorice. I’m sure she is very proud of you, as we all are. I do miss her so, so much.

Aw, thanks Mom. I hope it didn’t make you cry though… =(

Comment by Mommy

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