This was Nora-dog. She was born in West Virginia in 2002, had a mild case of heartworm as a pup, and was taken in by the Washington Animal Rescue League, now the Humane Rescue Alliance, in Washington, DC. My husband and I adopted her in the fall of 2003, a few months after our wedding. Nora is central to my family’s early story. She was there as I morphed from librarian to potential chef to mother to writer to therapist. She knew the boy practically before he emerged into the world. Nora and the OC—the original cats, Sidney and Zoe—were fellow travelers in our California adventure, hurtling with us on a jet plane across the country to live in this strange new land.

Nora loved to stalk, chase, and—once!—catch squirrels, barked enthusiastically at strange dogs and the doorbell, and was always up for a cuddle. And she loved to eat. She quickly learned that the word “oops” usually meant a tasty morsel had dropped to the floor, free for the taking. During the boy’s infancy and toddlerhood, she performed the service of cleaning up any food he dropped, truly learning to appreciate the joie de vivre of early childhood. When eating lost some of its appeal for Nora, she appreciated being hand fed and would especially savor “floor food,” pieces of kibble dropped next to her bowl in an attempt to entice her to eat.

Nora had her quirks. The aforementioned barking at strange dogs put some off, particularly when this sheepish, shy-looking dog suddenly became a growling, though harmless, dervish. She was also terrified of firecrackers, beeping appliances, and errant smoke detectors. One of the kindnesses of her old age was hearing loss, which allowed us to take fear-free walks on the Fourth of July and make waffles without her retreating, shaking and panting heavily, to hide in the bathroom in order to evade the deadly beep.

But really, it’s impossible to sum her up. She was the best Nora-dog. We miss her.


Image: Nora, December 2016.


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