Wednesday, February 25, 2009


When I was little, I sucked my finger. Not my thumb, but my index finger. I apparently really enjoyed doing so, because we went through every possible kid-breaking technique to make it stop...the gross nail polish, band-aids, threats of violence. Finally, around the age of ten, I managed to kick the habit when my parents promised me I could have a dog. I actually really wanted a black cat for some reason, but since we already had two cats my parents convinced me that a black dog would be even better. So one day after school, the day after Bill Clinton was elected to his first term as President, we came home and there was what looked like a black sweatshirt under the kitchen table. It wound up being an adorable golden retriever mix, and I named her Hillary Clinton Brown.

Hillary was an awesome addition to the family, and she was always pictures of every dance and every holiday at home. She would come and sit with me through my various teenage angst. She was horrible on the leash, frankly, but it was so much fun to take her over to the sports fields at Forest Grove and let her run around. She had eight puppies, and we kept the runt who was last to master going down the stairs to the back yard, named Emma. Hillary kept guard at the front door, mauling the mail as it came through the slot in the door and ultimately chewing a large chunk of door away before my parents wised up and got an external mailbox.
When we went to visit relatives in Hilton Head, Hillary went out on the boat with us, sitting with her little doggie lifejacket in the front of the boat. There were dolphins out there and we have a great video of her touching noses with the dolphins as they went back and forth under the boat.
Hillary got old, the way dogs do, and she got shaky and developed cataracts and weird lumps and white fur on her muzzle. She lived a great life out in the garden with my Mom and hanging out with my Dad, and she lived for sixteen years, long enough for Clinton to serve two terms, Bush to serve two terms, and Obama to be sworn in. She lived through my graduation from high school, going to college, coming back from college and finally going to a new college. She was there when I got engaged in our living room. She was there when my brother and sister went to college and London and Philadelphia. When she got too weak to get around, my Mom and Dad carried her up and down the stairs to sleep in their room so she wouldn't be lonely. When she couldn't be left alone, they started taking her in the plane with them to their house in Florida, where she could amble around outside where there wasn't any ice to trip her up. She was a good dog, when she finally passed away, it was in my parents' house, at home on Ash Wednesday, surrounded by people she loved. What more could anyone want?

1 comment:

  1. Jo,

    I'm so sorry:(. I remember loving Hillary that time I came over your house and thinking of her every time they mentioned her namesake on the news. I can tell she was truly a member of your family, and I'm positive she felt loved until the day she died.