Thank you to everyone for your kind comments about my poor Britney. She was the best German Shepherd ever.
Looking back on my memories of her, she wasn't the most ideal puppy for me though. At the time, we probably both would have been better off without the other. Right before I graduated from high school, my 26 year old boyfriend and I rented a cheap, dilapidated duplex together in a terrible part of town. Here in Albuquerque, it's affectionately known as "the war zone". It was really bad - no heat, which is illegal, cockroaches spilling out of the sidewalk whenever we'd walk through the neighborhood, and a landlord who would show up late at night, drunk, when I was home alone and threaten to beat up my boyfriend for not paying the rent (which made me defensive at the time because I'd given him the rent money, but looking back, I'm sure my loser boyfriend had squandered my cash on something else and lied about it.) The house two doors down made it onto the news when their 7 or 8 children were forcibly removed by the state.
We had no money and were stuck in an emotionally abusive relationship. Our craphole house did have a fenced yard though, so when a pet rescue group was having an adoption event outside Petco, we saw no reason not to take Britney home with us. How could we resist? Just look at what a sweet puppy she was:
When I voiced my concern that she would be too big, the rescue group worker said they could tell Britney wouldn't get very large because of her little paws. Ha!
I didn't know anything about taking care of a puppy. My plan was to keep her in the house when we were home and leave her in the fenced yard when I was at school and my boyfriend was at work. I don't remember ever buying any dog food, but I must have since Britney made it 12 years. That's about right for a German Shepherd. I was pinching every penny though, and I'm pretty sure I never bought her any toys or things to chew. This resulted in an adorable ball of fur with no outlet for her crazy, pent-up puppy energy. That tall, chain-link fence surrounding our house? Britney would summon her inner-Free Willy and leap over it, then gallivant through the neighborhood for hours. She was impossible to catch.
Twice, Britney didn't come home. The same woman responded to our Lost Dog flyers both times. She probably gave her toys and treats and things to chew on. Both times, we stiffed her on the reward that had been promised.
Britney couldn't be trusted to stay in our yard without being tied up, and it seemed cruel to do that to her, so she lived inside the house all day. Oh, the destruction! The only decent piece of furniture we owned was a purple chair that my mom bought for me. Britney ate it, leaving a trail of stuffing and purple string throughout the house.
Since she couldn't be trusted inside the yard or inside the house, I locked her in the bathroom one morning before leaving for school. It was a decent size, with food, water, and a bed. She would be fine in the bathroom for a few hours, right?
I came home to discover that Britney had chewed the paint right off the wall!
We rigged a piece of plastic lattice into a dog run on the side of our house. Britney couldn't jump it, but that didn't keep her in the yard. We'd discover she was missing, panic, print Lost Dog flyers, search the neighborhood...and have her magically reappear in the dog run the next day. This happened once or twice a week. It turned out that the woman living next door was constantly stealing Britney, then feeling guilty about her actions. We even got a few "sorry for stealing your dog" cards from her, which didn't really help because Britney would just vanish again shortly after each card was received.
Even though we weren't doing a good job caring for our German Shepherd puppy, my boyfriend brought home another puppy, a cute Husky we named Mandy. I found another home for her immediately.
One day, it rained while neither of us was home and Britney was outside in her dog run. She had a small covered area to go under, but it really wasn't enough for such a heavy storm. I ran home shortly after the rain started, with the intention of letting Britney inside the house before returning to work. I was too late though, and the woman next door had called Animal Control to take Britney away from her neglectful owners. According to my old man boyfriend, this resulted in him being arrested about a year or so later and spending the night in jail. It sounds a little far-fetched (his own dad told me that he's a pathological liar,) but if that's true, it's a shame they let him out.
At Thanksgiving, my boyfriend and I brought Britney with us to my parents house. She was the welfare baby in our twisted game of playing house. My parents convinced us to go home without her. I had always intended to take her back one day, but her life with them was perfect. When the veterinarian diagnosed Britney's tumor, my mom paid extra to have her put to sleep at home so she would be more comfortable. It was so peaceful that now my mom wants to be put to sleep when it's her time. Britney left behind 7 dog beds and more toys, treats, and food than Pica and Biscuit could ever use. Britney even used to sleep on the roof of my dad's car - a recently repainted, carefully restored Corvette. It made her happy.