Monday, March 2, 2015

Libby Libby Libby!

   "Libby Libby Libby on the      

                         label label label.

                You will like it like it like it

                 on your table table table!"

is what my brother, Matt, and I would cheer in our sing-song voices, stirring our oatmeal and eating our toast. Its melted butter soaking into our teeth.  

     Libby was our dog.
             It sounds so strange to hear myself say that...
     It was the first snow of the season,
      when we got her.
     "Mom! Mom! Can we get it please? Can we get it?" My brother and I cried out in unison.
      "Not right now." She said, while loading up grocery bags into the trunk. 
       We sat in the car and sulked in our disappointment, while she finished loading. After getting into the car, she turned to us and said, "Go see if it's a girl. If it is, we can keep it."
         She was.
         My father would later come home to this running, barking, licking, chewing, rolly-polly furball of a little thing. He pretended to be mad, but we knew better.
         For, it was he who gave her her name:
         Libby was a bad dog, but we loved her despite her mischief. Just as she loved us despite our flaws and quirks.
         At some point in her lifetime, she ate Christmas ornaments, drank algicide (*a highly toxic pool chemical), and once, gotten into a box of fundraiser candy bars (*12 king size candy bars to be exact).
        She was hit by a baseball bat (my brother) and a tennnis racket (myself)--Both accidents of course.
         We've seen her run away countless times, coming home with ailments varying from vomiting and convulsions to pregnancy.
          12 Puppies.
          One of which my parents kept, Shanahan. He followed her everywhere, including on her runaway escapades. These adventures would eventually lead them to notoriety.
          "Loose Dogs Run No More!" is what the front page of the local paper scribed, and it was our dogs that they were talking about. A large photo was printed under the headline; Libby's eyes, a menace.
          She was a rebelious dog. She blazed her own path, and she really didn't follow any sort of discipline...
          But she came home to us. She loved us. She snuggled us when we were ill and gave us kisses when we wept.
          She was there, a silent source of unfaultering comfort, in the darkest days of our lives.
         And now, she reached the end of her life. She's to leave us. It's her time, but it's not easy letting go. That's for sure.
         Her wagging tail, her perky ears,
        and her bark
        will be forever engrained in the deepest place of my heart.


  1. A quick happy twist, your memoir allowed me to exhale while reading it, great job!

    We have all experienced loss of some kind in our life. That gives this universal appeal. I, two years later am still grieving the loss of my dog. For that I was grateful you decided to write about the good times Libby brought to you and your family’s lives. So many times when we are drowning in grief it’s difficult to remember why that loss is so great, but you captured this experience in an awesome way. When you said “was” in the beginning I almost didn’t continue. I wasn’t sure if I could bare the pain, but you so quickly followed with the moment you got her so I was able to immediately be in your happy place as well. Your emotion was driven with the excitement of her life and what she added to yours and that is a lesson that we all forget from time to time.

    It’s difficult for me to find a weakness here or any kind of a productive critique because this hit home with me so I am emotionally blinded to faults. But maybe that in itself could show why it may not have universal appeal. Some people in no way view the loss of a pet as an emotional thing, just a dog I’ve heard people say. I don’t agree with that but unfortunately those feelings are out there.

    I have to commend you on your use of dialogue. At no point do you tell us how old you and your brother are, but the use of language and your location (grocery shopping with your mom) tells me not yet in your teenage years.

  2. This memoir brought me to tears. It was relatable as I also know what it feels like to lose a dog. It's like loosing a little sibling. Animals are truly a part of the family. I really loved the descriptions of everything and the photos of Libby that you provided. Thank you for telling the short tale of how you got Libby and all the trouble she got in. It really was wonderful. I definitely could tell how much you loved your dog through your memoir. Wonderful job!

  3. Nice use of "she" to keep reader's focused on your dominant image (Libby). Most readers can relate to losing a pet/family member, so I think most will learn something about your memoir. Keep working on the telling of your stories by developing voice, etc..