Thursday, January 5, 2012

Queenie–Her Story and a Gallery


Let me first thank all who expressed sympathy at my Queenie passing away. I miss her so much. Tina and Tasha went on sniffing where she had left her scent and just lay down curled into a little ball, their mien obviously one of sadness. However much she leaves a great emptiness in our lives though, I want to hold back the tears and instead celebrate her time with us.

She was born in Wisconsin and as puppy was bought by a breeder in Manitoba. This part of her story was related to me by a veterinarian’s assistant who had known her and the breeder. His purchase was clearly for monetary gain. He bred her intensely in the first 5 years of her life to the point of having 7 litters. Her puppies sold at anything from $1,000. to $1,500. each. She must have had many to a litter as her tummy showed one or more incisions characteristic of caesarean intervention. Mastiffs, like some other giant breeds, often have 12 to a litter. After 5 years of being used as a breeding machine, she was spayed and passed on to a couple near Banff, Alberta who kept her for some 8 or 9 months. When the woman found herself pregnant, she asked that Queenie be adopted by others.

Another couple brought her to their home in Calgary. The woman was also pregnant. The husband was a trainer who really took to Queenie and began training her to voice signals. He told me that she was a quick study. By then, she was short a couple of months from her 6th birthday on April the 15th. Luck was not to be with her. Barely one month after adopting “his big girl” as he called her, the couple was advised that lodging for which they had been waiting for the past year was becoming available. Pets not allowed. He put an ad on Kijiji and when I saw her photo, I immediately fell in love. But we were in February and I wasn’t leaving the seniors apartment until March end. No pets allowed at the seniors lodging. In the third week of March, I began checking the ads for a “Free to Good Home” and to my surprise and delight, found that she hadn’t been adopted. We met, I loved her immediately, and with 5 more days left to live in the apartment, I brought her home anyway! And… surprise! Everybody who met her just smiled from ear to ear, including some tiny Chinese women who could have been scared by her big size. And throughout her life with me, she never failed to bring a smile to all who met her.

Less than a week later, I had moved my stuff to a storage locker and Queenie and I began our adventures together in the RV. She was a natural for the road. A willing co-pilot, she delighted in going and stopping to discover new places. Like my two other dogs before, she became fascinated with gopher holes. There were fields galore and when she’d find an interesting one in which she could insert her whole head, all that you could see was her rump and a wagging tail in the middle of the field. Then she became inventive and would enlarge the interesting holes by digging furiously until her head would fit in. As ardently as she sought gophers, she never managed to catch one, to my relief.

Was there a caveat? Unfortunately yes. Her brain had been hard-wired to protect her puppies and herself from being forcibly mounted and, true to her race, would be fierce when meeting adult dogs that hadn’t grown up with. Her strength was immense. At over 55 kilos, she broke many a collar and retaining rope; I’m totally averse to chains. So a young friend of mine, Goldina, who is a horse trainer, put together a halter to fit Queenie. That ended my worries about Queenie breaking loose and encountering dangers or causing ones.

We enjoyed more than 3 years together. She would have turned 10 on April 15 next. I changed her official registered name from “Venus Queen of Blue Grass” to her middle name transformed into Queenie. I spent the last hours of her life holding her and petting her. Her breath became increasingly more laboured until she drew her last one, her head nestled in my arms. Nobody who met her ever forgot her. Although her body is now resting home on the lot, her spirit will remain with all those who knew her and will remain in my heart forever; my big girl Queenie.


The photo on the right was taken shortly after Queenie came to live with me. Taken at Zoeteman Park, Fort MacLeod, Alberta.

Queenie - At Peace






In the fall, we headed out to Imperial Dam, a BLM Long Term Visitor Area, close to Yuma, AZ. We usually parked for the whole winter at Fish Tail Flats where we enjoyed plenty of space. Queenie liked to sit in my chair and check out burros, birds, coyotes; she was a people watcher.


Queenie lording it in my chairQueenie in the WashQueenie in the wash checking on coyotes that left a trace. We were parked up on a tongue of land above a wash that extended quite a bit. One day I got confused as to which tongue was above the wash. Fortunately Queenie led the way back around many contours.

Regal Queenie

Queenie in a pensive mood.






My beautiful big girl in profile.

Roadside flora2 023

Foster mom Queenie with sisters Mindy and Tina, two puppies abandoned close to the lot. Thesleepofthejust_thumb

Door, saguan, Tisha 012_thumb[1]Tasha, on the left, also abandoned. She was in the last stages of starvation, looking as if about 5 to 6 weeks when in fact, she was already over 3 months old…

Bodega, dogs, lavadero, flowers 012_thumb[3]

The three ladies sleeping the sleep of the just, insisting on fitting on their “bed”… They made it work, somehow.




By the time the photo below centre was taken, Mindy had passed away. Tasha was already taller than Tina and Queenie had seen her paws, muzzle and chin turning white.

Walls going up, Tasha 002_thumb[1]

It is said that when we die, we are met on the other side by passed relatives. In my case, I imagine that countless dogs, cats, birds, and other assorted critters will be the first ones to greet me. They showed me what unconditional love is all about.

Mis angeles de cuatro patas… Queenie la reina de todos.

(My four-legged angels… Queenie the queen of all.)


Kate said...

So sad but such a gift for the time you had together.

Sondra said...

very sweet tribute....Hope the other pets will soon go on as the live in the now.

Anonymous said...

Writing this through tears. My heart aches for you. I am so sorry. I think I take the deaths of my animals harder than people in my life because they are with me all the time and their passing leaves a hole in every step of my day.

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