On Sept. 7, 2001, Lizzie (McGuire) the Dachshund/Cocker Spaniel mix (docker, if you will) joined my family.
During her first day as a Wilson, she bit my sister and had an accident on the living room rug. My sister pleaded with my parents to take her back to the pound. But her big brown eyes, curly-haired ears and tiny appendages made us fall in love with her.
Sure, she likes to lay on family members’ shoes and growl at them when they try to put them on their feet. But who doesn’t have quirks?
For the next 10 years, Lizzie became a big part of the family. She went on vacations, car rides, enjoyed belly rubs and chased rabbits through our backyard. She also followed my mom around like a shadow. Never more than five feet away.
My sister and I joke that Lizzie is Mom’s favorite daughter — it’s probably true. When Lizzie got too old to jump up into the bed, my mom put the mattress on the floor so Miss Liz would be more comfortable.
This past spring, Lizzie started having seizures. The vet decided it was an inoperable brain tumor. Lizzie had only a few months left.
Since then, My parents and sister continued on as usual. They traveled to the Catskills, North Carolina, the Jersey Shore and State College — all with Lizzie in tow. She even had her picture taken at the Lion Shrine.
Last week, Lizzie Wilson passed away.
Although I don’t live at home anymore, and didn’t get to see her as much as I would have liked, the news still hit me hard. I feel like part of my childhood died along with her.
My visit home after it happened was the first time I saw my dad cry. It was also the first time in 10 years we went to get a Christmas tree and decorated it without Lizzie. And the first time dog toys strewn about the house were an unwelcome sight.
She was one thing that was constant when I visited New Jersey during college and after. I could always count on being greeted at the front door with an excited bark and a wagging tail. And maybe get growled at if I tried to put my shoes on too quickly.
We’ll miss you Miss Liz, you were the best.
Has anyone else lost a childhood pet? How have you coped?