Goodbye, Mazzy

After more than 15 years of faithful companionship, we bid a very sad farewell to Mazzy the Dog today. She had been very ill for several months, and a stroke on Friday led to our decision to put her down this morning.

To the end, Mazzy never lost her fighting spirit and never-give-up personality that always set her apart from other animals we’ve known. I’ve never know a smarter dog or one so much fun to be around. At one point, she knew more than 30 different words and could distinguish between many different toys by name and shape.

Everyone says that their pet is special, but there was always something a little extra special about Mazzy. She could anticipate what you were going to do. She was not just tolerant of small children but, rather, adored them, putting up with them pulling her white hair while tossing them a ball to throw back to her.

With the exception of thunderstorms, she was fearless. Never a dog to bark or attack others, she automatically assumed everyone in the world was her friend (and wanted to pet her), unless proven otherwise.

If you met her once, she would remember you years later. If you were sad, she would sit down beside you and try to cheer you up. If you came home from a long, difficult day at work, she would help you forget it with her favorite game: chasing and catching the frisbee and bringing it back to you. Even after we left her with relatives for a year while we lived in Australia, she forgave us and just wanted to pick up playing where we had left off.

Born as working stock on an actual farm in Mississippi, she was the oddball of her litter, a little white furball, kept in a chicken wire cage. White border collies carry recessive genes that are likely to shorten their lives and cause physical problems, but until the later part of her life, Mazzy just laughed that off. Ever since we took her off the farm and brought her home, she never stopped learning and loving life and wanting to feel alive, right to the end. She never gave up.

She was more than just a pet, more than just a friend and a companion. She was as near to human as I have seen in an animal (or expect to see again). Mazzy was something special, and we will miss her terribly, always.