I’d been harassing my parents for years to get a dog. And then Dad had his aorta surgery and he needed to walk more on orders from the doctor. So I saw my chance and renewed my pleas. And this time around, Mom and Dad seemed to be coming around.
I remember Dad at some point sitting on the sofa with the book of dog breeds and asking me what I thought of “one of these”. One of these, was a Stabyhoun. I read the blurb that came with it, and I liked it. Turns out that there was a Stabyhoun in the shelter that they were interested. Unfortunately for us (fortunately for the dog), his owner showed up to take the runaway home. But that was the moment it had been decided. It was going to be a Stabyhoun.
I think they found Tessa through an ad in the newspaper. A breeder in the next province over had Stabyhoun puppies. So one afternoon we drove there. I don’t remember a lot of that, except that they had this outbuilding back in the yard where they kept the puppies. I don’t know if they were always there, or just when people came. I do remember that I found it awfully dark to house puppies in.
We knew we wanted a female dog, so the breeder lifted the females from the pen and out into the main area of the outbuilding. I think there were three of them, maybe four? The breeder left us to make a choice, Mom and Dad were in the door opening. I kneeled on the floor in the middle.
All the girls immediately started sniffing all around and checking out the place. All, except one. This floppy little puppy happily came over and stood up against my legs. Right then and there I knew. This was her.
Born March 20, we could take her home right away, she was already 8 weeks old. So on May 22, 1999 we brought her home. We didn’t think of a name for her until we were home. But then, Tessa was chosen real quick.
She was a very happy puppy, always up for playing and cuddles and what not. She loved being outside, right from the start. But could also sleep so deep, stretched out on the floor. She would often dream and bark or squeak while doing so. And she was always a bit clumsy 🙂
She loved us, her people, and always wanted to be near us. Preferably on beds and sofas next to us.
Outside in the summer. With me and Ingrid. During my high school graduation party. Along on a trip to visit Uncle Tammo and Aunt Harma on holidays. Cuddling and sleeping with Dad. Very curious as to what kind of St. Nicholas presents we have.
Tessa liked people, she was generally up for meeting and interacting with others. Some she loved, some spooked her at first. Ingrid and Tessa became friends fast. Eva scared her a little bit the first time around, so she took a little time to warm up to her after that 🙂
She would spend a lot of time with me in my room. Beside my chair when I’d sit at my desk, or on my legs while on the bed.
From the rest of the family, she loved Uncle Tammo best. He knows the way to dog hearts goes through their stomach 😀
I had to miss Tessa for a couple months this year while I lived in Leicester. It always made me feel better whenever I called home, Mom would put the phone near Tessa’s ear. I’d talk to her a bit, and she’d go around the room looking for me 🙂
This was also the year I first shot a family portrait. And no family portrait would be complete without Tessa in it.
After returning from Leicester the year before, I had registered with the housing cooperation to get a place of my own. In February 2006, I moved out. Of course, I still came home to the Parents regularly, and Tessa came to see me, too. We would take trips into the Eenrummer Woods 🙂
In the first picture, Tessa’s eating cauliflower. She was always a weird dog with eating. Didn’t matter what you had, she would like to try it, please. And nine out of ten times, she loved it. Not just expected things like cheese and meat, but lots of vegetables (cauliflower, tomatoes), fruit (apple) and even the occasional dropped breath mints…
I also shot a second family portrait this year, and this one, of course, also featured Tessa.
Tessa’s always had a tendency to chase after cats. As a result, whenever she was at my house, my cat (and later cats) wouldn’t really feel comfortable around her. They usually hid, or I let them outside. This year marked the first time that Monkey and Tessa spent time in the same room, near each other. Tessa just completely ignored the scratching post with cat. And the cat was actually somewhat relaxed!
This year had a very good summer, we went to Lauwersoog multiple times. Tessa loved it 🙂
During this year, Tessa got Addison’s and we could really start to see her getting old. Her mind was still good and she was as happy as ever, just old. Everything slows down some. We stopped bringing her to my place, because her walking became trickier, and I have slippery floors.
As time went on, her walking got worse, and we started slowly thinking about the inevitable. At first, we didn’t think she’d make it to the move. But she did, and she felt right at home at the new place. I shot another family portrait, specifically so we would have another one that still had Tessa in it.
She made it months, but the last few weeks, she fell more often, and had more and more trouble keeping her legs going the way they’re supposed to. She was still eating just fine, and being happy and cheerful, but it could not go on anymore.
So Wednesday afternoon, on August 28th, I took some last photos, and then we took her to the vet.
The vet took one look at her and concurred with us that it was time. I lifted her on the table and held her. She was never a fan of the table. She didn’t mind going to the clinic and into the chamber, but once on the table she would always lean into me and after a while try to scramble off the table. I always needed to hold her. This time was no different.
The intern shaved her front leg, and the vet injected her and within seconds she started slipping away. And so her life came full circle. Starting with us by basically jumping in my arms, and leaving us in my arms.
I will never forget you. RIP my love.