On October 10th, my parent's chocolate labrador, Jerry, crossed the rainbow bridge.
My parents got Ben and Jerry from a breeder a few months after our beloved labrador retriever, Ralph, passed away. Since they both worked full-time and Ralph had been on his own and lonely during the day, they opted to get two puppies so that they could keep each other company. Since ice cream is the favorite sweet treat of the house, they went with "Ben and Jerry" for names, despite Jerry being a girl. From day one, these two overtook the house like a hurricane!
I was away at college when the Dynamic Duo moved into the house, and they immediately claimed my first-floor bedroom as their own. When I came home for Christmas Break, they thought I had a lot of nerve trying to sleep in "their" pink bed. They indicated early-on that there would be no compromise with the pink bed, that if I was going to sleep in it then they were going to sleep in there with me. Which presented a problem....have you ever tried to share a twin bed with 100lbs of Labrador? Cannot be done, my friend, especially since Jerry always insisted that she wanted to put her head on the pillow, too. No "foot of the bed" for this dog!
Jerry was a sweet, loving soul, with just a "little" touch of crazy. As a puppy, if you looked her in the eye she would jump on you and ply with her little needle teeth. We quickly learned that she was terrified of thunderstorms; once she got locked in the upstairs bathroom mid-storm and tried to chew through the door to escape. My brother would oftentimes put her in his bedroom closet during a storm, where she wasn't as affected, and lay down on the floor with her to keep her calm. She would not respond to calling her name, and would certainly *not* do any tricks for treats. In her younger days, she would try to escape the house at every angle, not really having somewhere to go but just wanting to prove that she could do it and take off before you could grab her. Even as recently as a month ago, she got out of my parent's cottage out the front door and stood in the front yard, proud of herself.
It was difficult to take her anywhere without being restrained, as she always wanted to "climb up front and drive." She enjoyed her stuffed toys, especially her pink "purse," and wasn't satisfied with a toy until it was "de-squeaked." She also was possessive with her toys, often refusing to share with Benny and kicking his butt if he dared take one without her permission. She was relentless in her pursuits of happiness; she would bang on the door if she was outside and we were inside, eating a pizza. Once or twice, she even jumped off the deck and into the backyard. We learned to not talk to her from the yard if she was on the deck, because she'd get tired of listening and jump just to be with you. More than once, she made a snack out of my parent's Adirondack chairs from LL Bean. My dad actually made a template for replacement arms since the two of them loved chewing on them so much.
She thought the world of my brother, and my brother thought the world of her. We used to joke that Brian would take Jerry to his prom, but of course he didn't. However, no one let her in on the joke and she sulked on his bed on prom night. She loved my father fiercely; I believe that he was her most favorite human of all. Dad would play with her for hours, and pet her until she was satisfied. (Which was never...she always wanted more) They even had their own game of Hide and Seek, and she really would go looking for him! If he wasn't paying her enough attention, she would give his elbow a little "nip" as if to say "Pay attention to me!" Yes, this dog certainly had her own agenda right to the end of her days, choosing to pass away at home, surrounded by her family, and Ben and my dog, Joey. She went on her own terms, not making anyone have to make the decision for her.
Rest in Peace, Geraldine-Beauty Queen. We will love you and miss you, always.