Krispie was one of a kind. Her mommy was a full blood Bichon Frise and daddy was a full blood Beagle who broke into the garage when the mommy was in heat. None of her litter mates survived puppyhood. We didn't much care about her ancestry as much as the role she would play in our family. We kind of viewed her as a dust mop with a tongue. She taught my children to care about something besides themselves.
She loved to herd her family. We would restrain her on the deck in the backyard and give all the kids a head start around the house. As soon as they were out of sight she became uncontrollable and would launch herself down the stairs in a game of capture the kids. The goal for the kids was to get all the way around the house and to the backyard without being caught. They never made it. She always had them rounded up and bunched together.
She considered chasing balls but only on her terms. When she had to visit grandma when we were out of town she slept on top of the picnic table and refused to eat unless grandma put gravy on her food.
We waited to get her first trim until she was 13 years old.
We put it off because I was afraid if we trimmed her and left her for a family vacation, she might get low self-esteem and feel abandoned. I didn't need to worry. After her first trim she came home strutting her stuff and showing off her bandana. She co-habitated our garage with our cat "dingbat". It was an uneasy relationship but it was limited to cold stare downs and distance. When Krispie returned with her new hair cut and smelling different she jumped at the cat, who previously only ignored her, but since she smelled and looked different, the cat reacted and so ended the cold war. From then on, since Krispie learned she could make the cat react with a hiss and yowl.
One of my first memories is Krispie as a puppy in my front flower bed. Not in front of, but in. I had leashed her out front when I crossed the street to the neighbors and came back to find her cowering in the marigolds. What she lacked in courage she would make up in heart.
I've wondered what was so magical about Krispie that she could live so long. Tongue in cheek I think the summer she ingested rat poison from the garden probably had something to do with it. The rat poison was a blood thinner and as she aged and we would witness one stroke after another and think this was the last one, she would shake it off and get up and start wagging her tail.
We learned not to trust her near the garden not just because she ate rat poison but because she was a thief. She loved all things red. She'd start in July nibbling raspberries and strawberries and advance to tomatoes by fall. She gave us more than one scare when she left the garden with a full red beard until we saw the tomato seeds.
In her later years, we wondered about her eyesight, and her hearing. But I think she just got more selective with time and only heard what was most important to her. Her dementia though was a little scary and we worried that she would wander off and not be able to find her way home.
I'm sure there is a special place in heaven for pets that love and teach their families as long as Krispie did. She wasn't the smartest, or the fastest, the bravest or even the prettiest but she was the BESTEST dog ever.