Obituary for Simon Ryan (circa 2006- August 27, 2012)

I obtained Simon in June of 2007 in Toledo, Ohio.  I had seen him on one of those web sites that offer rescued animals.  When I picked up Simon, he was literally like a rag doll.  It was like he was just a shell of a dog.  They did not know much about his history, except that he came from a puppy mill.  It was obvious that he had been abused or treated very poorly.  They had given him the non-descript name “Fluff.”  I named him Simon after the singer Simon Lebon from Duran Duran.  When he came home, it was a struggle in a lot of ways.  He would literally go and hide—in closets, behind boxes and crates, in corners and under blankets.  He was terrified.  He was literally afraid of his own shadow.  When I tried to walk him, it was obvious he had never been walked on a leash before.  He struggled with his potty training.  But despite all this, he was one of the sweetest, cutest creatures you could ever imagine.  For those of you not familiar with the beautiful Bichon Frise, they are pretty, white, fluffy dogs.  They have a beautiful soft coat.  Over time, Simon became comfortable sitting in my lap.  He learned to walk on a leash and loved going for walks.   He eventually would take a treat from my hand.

Simon really came alive when I adopted my second dog Jamaica a year later.  Jamaica is a black daschound mix with a white tuxedo stripe on her neck.  She is an easy going little gal and quite the opposite of Simon in many ways.  When I first got her she escaped through a broken door at the back of the house.  Luckily, when I called animal control I was able to get her back right away.  Simon wagged his tail and just beamed when she came back into the house.  He had made a best friend.  Simon and Jamaica liked to play together and go for their walk together.  They would often sit together on the chair or couch and both would sleep with me in my bed every night.  They got loose one other time and ran around the woods being little hellions.  Simon must have gotten into the pucker brush because I was picking them off of him for a week!

Simons saw me through the end of a four-year relationship, the successful defense of my dissertation and the awarding of my doctorate, and my move from Ohio back to New Hampshire.  He was one of the sweetest and most gentle little guys I have ever known.  He was also brave beyond measure, given the reality of his harsh background.   There will so many things I will miss about him I probably cannot name them all, but here are some: I will miss our walks together.  He loved to lift his leg and pee on every tree, fire hydrant, and pole imaginable!  He also loved to sniff around and explore.  He loved to bark at other dogs when we came across them on our walk.  I will miss his cute little high-pitched bark more than you can imagine.  I will miss seeing him and his sister sitting together, playing together or grooming each other.  I will miss seeing him do his little happy dance before I placed the plates of food down for him and Jamaica to eat.  I will miss saying “time for a walkie!” and seeing Simon get all excited.  I will miss seeing his excitement when I came home from work after a long and trying day.  I will miss the little puppy kisses Simon gave me on my hand many times when he sat with me or lay with me in bed before going to sleep.  I will miss his excited barks when grandma came to get us to go to her house for the day.  I will miss the tail wagging and happy expression when I came home from a trip when traveling out of town.  I will miss the curious and prolonged looks at me and wondering what he exactly was thinking about.  But most of all I will miss the cuddles, the time spent sitting together and me petting his soft, white coat, giving him a kissy on his cheek.

I don’t know if Simon will ever know how much he meant to me.  He was giving, loyal and sweet beyond measure.  He was also a pack leader when we walked, a gallant prince and a little gentleman.  He was a true innocent, giving much more than he received in his short life.  I will never have the same relationship with another dog ever again; he was that special.  I will miss so many things that I started to take for granted.  It was a wake-up call for me to never take these things for granted.  It was a wake-up call that I need to stop and appreciate what I have because we are never guaranteed tomorrow.

Simon got a raw deal in life.  He got a raw deal because he began life being forced to breed for another person’s greed and being treated like an object in the process.  He got a raw deal because he died tragically at the age of 6 ½, going downhill incredibly quickly and leaving this earth much sooner than other dogs of his breed.  I hope in the five years he was with me that he found some happiness, peace and solace.  I know he gave me so much, and he was brave right up until the end.  The day before he died when we cuddled for the last time, I told him I was so sorry he was sick.  He looked at me with a knowing expression and slowly closed his eyes, letting me know he understood.  Simon, it may not have been everything you dreamed of, but you done good during your time here.  You are a veritable little canine hero, and you will forever have my undying gratitude, affection and love.  You have done your work now, little bud, and now you can run free forever.  I will see you on the other side, when you come bounding up into my loving and waiting arms.  RIP Simon I will love your forever and think of you always.