Sunday, February 23, 2014

Goodbye to our Brave Little Dog

We lost our little Juno last week and our hearts are full of sadness now.  I never thought I was a dog person until I met and fell in love with Juno.

Before we knew Juno she was the mother in a puppy mill, living in a barn producing one litter after another. I bet she had the cutest puppies as she was a Yorkie with beautiful colouring. When her fertility waned as she got older, she was no longer wanted for breeding so they dumped her out on a country road. Fortunately she found a place to hide from the cold wet May day in our friend's breezeway. And that is how Juno eventually found her way to our home and hearts.

She was a brave little dog.  When Juno came to us her teeth were in terrible shape.  I had to brush them every night to try and improve her dental health and she was patient and stoical about it. One night she cried in pain when I was rubbing her under her jaw and when I took her to the vet she said that many of her teeth were very loose and just barely hanging in her mouth and had to be extracted.  I never got a good look in her mouth so I hadn't realized this, but Juno had let me brush her teeth anyway.  It must have hurt her a lot.  She was like that - very stoical about any pain or discomfort. 

She was a fearless little dog.  Juno was entirely unaware that she only weighed 8lbs.  On our walks when she wanted to go in one direction and we wanted to go in another she would throw her whole body into letting us know her decision leaning way over and digging her little paws in. It was quite a sight to see.  

She also was not intimidated by other dogs, no matter the size.  Not having been socialized as a young dog she usually growled at other dogs when we went for walks and we could never break her of this habit. The funny thing was that the amount of growling and barking seemed almost in inverse relationship to the size of the other dog.  She always had the "I can totally take you and win" attitude with the big dogs.

She was a funny little dog.  She ate huge amounts of food.  Juno could consume a plate full of food the size I would eat for dinner. I don't know how she did it because she was so small.  It probably helped that she loved going for walks and for most of her life she walked between one and two kms every day so she worked up a good appetite.  

When she first came to us she had never been outside or walked on a leash and she had no idea what to do. We had to train her to walk together with us and at first she would look up at the leash and be surprised to see it still there. Once she learned how to go for walks she discovered a whole new world out there and that was her favourite thing to do. She loved sniffing things and exploring and watching people.  

Being a Speech Pathologist, I was always interested to find out what vocabulary she could learn. You can in fact teach old dog new tricks as Juno learned the meaning of many words after she came to us. She knew her name, the names of food she liked, such as apple and orange, and she knew the words walk, go home, come, eat, and stay. She was a bit opinionated so she didn't always listen, but she demonstrated them often enough that I knew she understood their meaning.  

She learned other things after coming to live with us too. Over the course of our daily walks, she learned the streets and parks in our neighbourhood so she knew which way to go when it was time to go home. She also learned how to be held. When we first got her she was stiff as a board in our arms and would try and stand on you, but she eventually learned to melt into our arms when she was being held, especially with my husband.

She had a very impassive face, but was oh so expressive with her ears and the way she would cock her head and her stance. I always loved the colour of her coat and how she matched the dry leaves on the road at the cottage.

She loved to change things up and constantly had new places she liked to sleep.  Sometimes they were the strangest places you could imagine - like deep in our closet on the shoe rack, buried so far back that you could hardly find her.  Other times she liked to sleep in our laundry basket or in a bin filled with papers or in the suitcase you were packing and, of course, best of all on the pillows on our bed.  We have many photos of her sleeping in random places.

I know this post has been photo overload, but I wanted to put all my favourite pictures of Juno in one place.  I love the photos where she looks small -  because although she was a tiny dog, her personality was big so you would forget she was tiny unless you saw her from a distance.

My post wouldn't be complete without my favourite video of Juno begging for pats - and one of my fondest memories of her.

Those of you with pets can attest to that bond that forms between you and the little furry beast who lives with you. We had a wonderful five years and nine months with our little dog Juno and I'm thankful for the joy she brought us and grateful that we were able to give her a happy retirement.


  1. There is a puppy mill near here that shoots the dogs when they are done with them. A local woman has forged a relationship with one of the mills owners and now she calls her when they have a dog to "let go". There is then a meeting at a local farmers market where the dog is handed over. Then the dogs gets a new home but not after struggling to adapt to attention, love, leash etc. Your little dog was a luck one. You have had some losses in recent months. Your heart mut be a bit battered to say the least. Loved the photos and happy she lived a good latter part of her life.

  2. My heart goes out to you at this difficult time. Juno was fortunate that you took her in and gave her love and affection. She looks like a happy dog and she obviously enjoyed her freedom under your care. I never can quite understand the mentality of puppy mill owners. They should be
    Illegal and the owners fined. As an animal lover I hope that you find another puppy in your future. They really give us so much joy.

  3. Oh Grace, my heart breaks for you. I understand the special bond we have with our pets and I feel for you. You gave her a great life and she knew she was loved. I am so sorry for your loss.
    Take care, Shelley

  4. It is impossible to understand the thinking of the people that operate these puppy mills. Juno was obviously one of the lucky ones. They seem so few in numbers. Québec is known as the province with the most puppy mills, for every one they close another opens. Really disgusting.
    Wonderful life you provided Juno. It is never easy letting them go. They become such a tight member of your family.

  5. I'm all teary-eyed reading your beautiful post. We also lost 2 of our Yorkie fur babies last year. We had 3 and now just have Lucy, (their puppy who's almost 14) They were part of our family and also rescued. Bless you for giving little Juno the best years of her life, filled with love, care and companionship. I loved all your pictures. She looked just like our Princess. Yorkies are the best doggies! Love, Rita

  6. We too are dog--animal lovers. Right now we have a 15 year old darling little mutt named Jack. She is so precious to us, but we are seeing she is really slowing down and showing her age. We have our son's dog living with us--a Silkie--he is 7 and still full of energy and from the sounds of your Juno they are a lot alike. We have always had dogs and cats our 43 years of marriage and many other animals our children loved, so we know exactly how you feel. I am so sorry you are going through this, but at the same time you gave Juno a life full of love just like she gave you. And that will bring you smiles as your heart heals...

  7. I'm so sorry for your loss. Its obvious that you loved little Juno so much. Beautiful post and photos.

  8. I'm so sorry for your loss. Its obvious that you loved little Juno so much. Beautiful post and photos.

  9. Had to pop over (saw your blog on Hostess's side bar),thankfully dear Juno had some happy
    years with you,loved your photos,great tribute to a dear pet.Thank you for sharing.

  10. It is so sad that you have lost your furry friend. But one thing is for sure you saved her, and she had the best loved last years of her life.
    We have had many dogs over the years and still have two. We know that when their time is near out hearts will be broken one more time.

  11. What a cutie, I so understand the pain in your heart and the loneliness....How wonderful that she had the favorite years of her life with you!


  12. Grace, I am so sorry to hear this. Hugs to you and your family.

  13. Grace, I am so sorry for the loss of you adorable companion Juno. I have tears in my eyes as I type this because my pup means so very much to me and I know at some point I will be in your shoes.

    How wonderful that she had you and your family to make the later part of her life full of love, hugs, joy and more.

    Thinking of you,

  14. I just can't imagine. I was not a pet person either until we got Kelly. We got her with the full intention of treating her like our third child...which she truly is. Your little Juno was adorable and it warms my heart to know you saved her. What a great feeling that must be. I cannot in my wildest dreams imagine mis-treating a dog but people do it all the time. Blows my mind. I'll be thinking of you dear friend.

  15. Tears are streaming down my face while reading this post. What a blessings she was to you, and you to her. I know it's a terrible loss when we lose a dog who's been an important member of the family. It's so hard. I'm impressed that you were able to put all the photos in this post, and I wish I had done the same for Bonnie Blue, but I wasn't up to the challenge and had to stop at one. I'm thinking about devoting a blog page to her when I'm up to it.

    Juno had the very sweetest little face. Thanks for sharing your memories of her with us. I know it was a very difficult post to write!

    (((((hugs))))) and prayers from Alabama,
    Ricki Jill

  16. I am so sorry for your loss. I lost my beloved girl, Princess, last April and still miss her so much. I am so glad that Juno learned from you and your husband that there are kind people in the world and appreciate the love that dogs give us. She was a fortunate little girl to have almost six years of love with you - especially since she came from a puppy mill - a place of heartbreak.

  17. Bless your heart! It is always hard when our furbabies go. Juno was so very blessed to have been made a part of your family. Your loving heart made such a difference for her - it is obvious from your pictures that she was a happy little girl. Thank you for sharing all the pictures of your beautiful Juno - you are right, she's spectacular! Prayers for healing for your grieving heart.

  18. New to your blog and this is the first post I read... bad timing. With tears in my eyes i send you a hug. I know how you must feel, I am a dog person, have always bin, and I know how much it hurts. Glad you gave her that great life after the puppy mill!
    Tina in Germany