Cyndri’s Gone – By Duane L. Martin

Editor’s Note: This is not a film related article.  Recently, our dog Cyndri passed away extremely unexpectedly and it’s torn the life out of my wife and I.  This is an article full of memories, thanks and good-byes.  It’s my way of making sure she’s remembered.  She was our child, our love and our happiness, and there’s not a day that goes by that we don’t miss her terribly.  So thank you for this one indulgence.  It was something i had to do.

* * *

 In life, we all have pets, and for those of us who genuinely love animals, those pets become like our very own children, and no less important to us. For my wife and I, our dogs are our children. For years, they’ve been the one bright spot in our otherwise troubled lives. And now one of them is gone.

Excuse me if I tend to ramble a bit in this. It’s hard to think right now and about every two seconds I’m falling apart into yet another fit of crying. Still, I need to get this out.

Her name was Cyndrial, but we called her Cyndri. The name was one that I made up for a character in a book I was writing a long time ago. I got Cyndri shortly thereafter, and since I really liked the name, I gave it to her.

Cyndri was a shelter puppy. I had recently lost my previous dog Pete to cancer, and was totally devastated. I needed a new friend to help fill the empty space in my life and to help me heal from the pain of Pete’s passing. See, I never got to say goodbye to Pete. I took him to the vet for surgery and they put him to sleep on the table because there was nothing they could do. So the loss on top of not being able to say goodbye just killed me. Enter Cyndri…

I went to the pound to look for a new dog. I like to get my dogs from the pound because when you do you’re saving the life of a dog that wants nothing more than to have a nice home and give you love. Anyway, I went through and suddenly I found Cyndri. She was young – probably less than 8 months. I don’t remember now exactly how old she was, but she was well under a year. They had found her as a stray and picked her up.

Now many people said they wanted her, so I put my name in and they were going to have us all show up on that following Saturday at which time they’d pick a name out of a hat. Well Saturday came and only me and one other guy and his little kid showed up. While we were waiting to see if anyone else was going to show, the kid, who was probably around three or four, started telling me how their last puppy died because it peed on the floor and his mother broke it’s neck shoving it’s nose in it. Well this was within earshot of the girl working behind the counter. When the time came to decide who got Cyndri, there were still only two of us, so she flipped a coin. They called heads, but she said it came up tails, so I got her. She never showed us the coin after she flipped it. I’m pretty sure she was going to make sure I got Cyndri after hearing what happened to the poor puppy those other people had, and she only did the coin flip for show.

So that’s how I got her. I took her home. At some point shortly thereafter, I took her to the vet because she was coughing. She had contracted kennel cough at the shelter, so I had to take her in and get some medication for her. When we were done, I took her out and put her in the car so she wouldn’t infect any other dogs in there. I went back and paid the bill, and when I got back to the car, I opened the door and was just about knocked over with the smell. She had dropped a deuce on my back seat! Wasn’t that a nice way to start a relationship?

We had a lot of dogs on our place out in the country. Typically we had around five or six, but it varied over the years, at one point even reaching seven. Some were my sister’s, some were my parent’s and some were mine. Cyndri spent a lot of time bonding with me early on, but she also bonded with the other dogs and became part of the gang with ease. Unfortunately, her bond with me also caused her to have the occassional bouts of separation anxiety disorder when I’d leave her alone in the house. I’d leave her in for a bit while I ran to do something, and then come back a half hour later to find my window blinds tore up, stuff knocked over and some nasty surprises on the floor, all because she wanted to get out to be with me. I learned early on to not leave her inside alone because of that. Even when she was with other dogs, she would still have it sometimes. It got better in her later years, but she really didn’t like being left inside if we went somewhere without her. It’s odd too, because she could be outside all day with no problem. It was just when she was locked in the house alone that she would freak out. Not sure why.

I got Cyndri probably a year and a half or two before my wife Sharon moved here from Israel so we could be married. Dogs are usually shy or skitterish around people they don’t know, but Cyndri took to her from the first moment they met. They bonded almost instantly, and that bond remained incredibly strong throughout her life. It was as if it was all just meant to be, and a family was born.

We always refered to our group of dogs as "The Gang" or "The Guys". At that time, I only had one other dog named Buster. He was an absolutely wonderful dog…and my buddy. He and Cyndri became fast friends. He loved to play in the water, and Cyndri grew to love it as well because she liked to play with him. He also loved to play fetch. I’d throw something for him and he’d go get it with Cyndri hot on his heels, barking at him as if to say, "run! run! run!". She didn’t want the stick, or the ball or whatever it was. She just wanted to chase him. That was her fun. Sadly, Buster died when he was about a year and a half old. To this day I have no idea why he died. He just got mopey over the course of a week, and the day before I was going to take him to the vet, he passed away in the night. That broke my heart real bad as well, and it hurt even more because he was so young and full of life. He was my buddy, and to this day I still miss him terribly.

Cyndri had so many special things about her. She was just an amazing soul, and she brought so much happiness into our lives. What follows are some random remembrances and it would be too hard to put into any organized form, so I’ll just kinda give each one it’s own paragraph. These are random remembrances of things throughout her life, but they aren’t in chronological order or anything. I’m just going to write them as they come to me, and hope I can get through them without weeping uncontrollably.

Remembrances:

We used to live in a studio apartment on my parent’s property out in the country. We have a dog named Missy that I got for my wife for our first anniversary. Missy is a "pucker" puppy, which means she’s a pug / cocker spaniel mix. Well Cyndri liked to lay in the chair next to the bed so she could be near us. One night, when Missy was still really young, she was laying in the chair. Cyndri hopped up on the foot stool and sat there staring at her like, "Um, you’re in my spot." Missy didn’t pay any attention to her though, so Cyndri just sat there. It was late at night, and eventually Cyndri started nodding off while she was sitting up. It was hilarious. She would nod off, start to fall over, and then jerk back awake. There wasn’t no way she was leaving that spot though. She wanted her place in the chair and she was going to wait there patiently until it was vacant. Watching her nod off over and over again though was one of the funniest things we’d ever seen.

Cyndri had a completely docked tail that gave her a round butt. She had just the tiniest nub back there though under all her shaggy butt hair, and every time she’d wag her tail, you could see the hair moving back and forth. When she’d really get going, her whole butt would wiggle back and forth.

She picked up with her chasing activities when we got our dog Rocky. He’s almost like Buster was reincarnated into a new dog. He’s so much like Buster used to be, but with his own goofy personality. He lives to have stuff thrown for him, and Cyndri was more often than not right on his heels barking at him. They also love playing in the water together. That was their relationship, and they both loved each other.

Her relationship with Missy was quite different. They were together for many years longer than she was with Rocky, so Cyndri and Missy had a pretty tight bond. They used to hang out and eat grass together, and Missy, anytime she even thought Cyndri was going to pee anywhere, would follow her and pee in the same spot right after. She would also lick missy incessantly in the ears and face. We never did figure that one out, but it was almost like she was being very motherly to her. Missy loved it too. She would come up and paw Cyndri like, "Hey, I’m here! Lick me please!"

Rocky and Missy aren’t overly close. They each kinda do their own thing. Cyndri was like the connector between the two. She was friends with both of them, and they both loved her in their own way. I’m just wondering, now that she’s gone, if Missy and Rocky will develop any kind of a closer bond between them. Only time will tell.

Halloween was a special time for Cyndri. Once we moved here to Idaho in 2000 and lived in town, we started getting trick or treaters. We never got them really in California because we lived out in the country. Well we soon discovered that Cyndri liked going to the door with Sharon to see the trick or treaters. Every time the doorbell would ring, she’d get up with Shaon and go to the door with her to see the kids. After the first couple of years, Sharon started getting Cyndri her own costume and dressing her up so she could go to the door in costume. Cyndri was usually pretty good about not messing with it, and we always had a lot of fun. I can’t even imagine what it’s going to be like this year without her. I know I’m going to break down crying again. I’ve even considered just leaving the light off and not doing it at all. I don’t think Cyndri would have wanted us to do that though. It’s just going to hurt so much doing it without her. I’m breaking down again right now just thinking about it, and it’s killing me.

Probably the most notable thing about Cyndri was the way she farted. Most dogs fart silently and when it hits you and you make a face and wrinkle up your nose and that’s about it. Cyndri used to fart with the proficiency of an expert in gasology. Often times she’d be sleeping on the floor, and then suddenly she’d stretch or something and we’d hear this loud, "brrrrrrrrrrrrttttt" or we’d hear it escaping in a more quiet manner with more of a "whoosh" sound. The sound was funny, but the smell wasn’t. My god, her farts were not only green, they were nuclear! I remember one time, back in california, I was sitting at my computer and she was sleeping on the floor behind me, and she had swamp ass really, really bad. It was so bad, I actually got a headache from it and eventually had to just get up and leave my own damn house so I could go out and get some fresh air. The funny part is, she just laid there doing it like she didn’t have a care in the world.

Speaking of Cyndri’s butt, she had the frustrating habit of being a butt dropper. Every time I’d try to brush her, pet her, wash her or anything, she’d drop her butt. I have no idea why she did it but it was insanely frustrating. I’d pick her butt back up and two seconds later she’d have it on the ground again, and sit there smiling like she thought it was funny.

I think that’s what I miss most about her. She was just an innocent, sweet soul and she had a smile that could warm even the coldest heart. No matter how bad you were feeling, all it would take is for Cyndri to smile at you and somehow things would all seem not so bad after all, because we had her and the other guys, and that was like our one center of love and happiness, and any time we were feeling bad, we can always go see the guys and they’re all smiles and wiggles and it cheers us up. Now that she’s gone, it just feels like there was a hole ripped in our hearts and our happiness. The other two are great, but it’s just not the same anymore.

Cyndri really loved hanging around with Sharon. She was my dog, but somehow she had this bond with Sharon that was just amazing. She always wanted to be near us, but if Sharon would get up and walk into another room, Cyndri was right behind her like a little shadow. I’m not sure why they bonded the way they did, but I’m really happy that they were able to share that special bond for so many years.

Cyndri was incredibly frustrating when it came to taking pictures of her. Somehow, she always knew when you were going to snap the pic, and she’d look away at the very last second. It was incredibly hard to ever catch a picture of her looking at the camera. Sometimes we’d trick her into it, and other times we’d just randomly catch her off guard. She always seemed to think it was funny to do that to us, and in fact it was, but god it was frustrating.

She was never much of a toy dog as far as fetching toys, but she loved having soft, furry squeaky toys. She would hold them in her mouth and walk around with them quietly, and after she found a place to lay down, she’d lay there and squeak it over and over. She was really quiet and gentle about it though.

Cyndri had a problem with benign, fatty tumors. We had her operated on a couple times to have some of the larger ones removed. After those surgeries, we put her on diet dog food and she lost weight and didn’t really have a problem with them anymore. It really broke my heart to see her have to go through that though. We really babied her when we brought her home. We always babied her. She was our baby, and we loved her beyond anything you can imagine.

Cyndri liked to give you her paw. I can’t remember who taught her to shake, but she liked doing it. She’d also use her paw to pull your hand down to her chest, because she really liked getting chest rubs.

Cyndri used to like sleeping on the bed with us when we’d let her. She’d always lay sideways and spread herself out to take up maximum space. We’d curl our legs up and try to let her have her space, but eventually we wouldn’t be able to take it anymore and would have to move her. Now let me tell you…when Cyndri was laying on the bed, she’d do this magic trick where she’d turn herself into an anchor. I swear, you could drag, shove, push, pull and whatever else, but you couldn’t move her. She’d lay there like dead weight and not help at all because she was perfectly happy where she was. What made it even harder is that she’d resist. Sometimes the only way to get her to move was to actually pick her up and move her. We used to laugh so much when she’d do that. The whole trying to move her thing was incredibly amusing.

All of our guys absolutely love going for rides in the car and walks around the neighborhood. Cyndri wasn’t as vocal about her excitement when we’d take them out, but her big smile and her butt wiggles said it all. She was the easiest of the three to control on walks, but she had this insane aptitude for wrapping the leash around our legs, or mailboxes, or light poles…or whatever.

Cyndri wasn’t the sharpest pencil in the box. We often joked that she was our "duh puppy", but what she lacked in brains, she more than made up for in sweetness. Truth be told, she only seemed not so smart because she wasn’t big on learning tricks and stuff and would often just sit there with a "duh" look on her face and a big smile. She was adorable when she’d do that. However, there wer
times when she actually showed some sparks of intelligence. She’d be chasing Rocky, and he’d run around our tree in our backyard. Instead of blindly following him, often times she’d cut around the other side and head him off. So there was somethin’ goin’ on up there. Probably a lot more than we ever could tell from her generally mellow personality.

She loved playing in the water with Rocky. I’d stand on the back deck and use the jet nozzle on the hose and they run around biting the water and barking incessantly. They had so much fun together doing that. Our other dog Missy hates water and will always go under the deck like a little piranha and pop her hear out trying to bite their legs when they get close. It’s incredibly funny to watch.

Cyndri was always really gentle about taking any food you’d give her. The other dogs would practically bite your fingers off, and Missy even makes a snorting sound a lot of the time when she takes food from you. Cyndri was always quiet, gentle and just precious about it. She’d usually eat whatever you gave her too even if she didn’t like it just because she didn’t want to hurt your feelings.

Speaking of food, I remember one time I went to Sharon’s work and met her for lunch. I took Cyndri with me because Sharon and Cyndri were so close and I knew Sharon would love to see her. We went to Wendy’s and got the food to go, and then we opened the back of the car and sat there eating lunch with Cyndri. We got her her own large fries and fed her french fries while we ate. It was so much fun and she was just a total sweetheart the whole time.

Finally, we have something we affectionally called, "The Cyndri Loop." Basically, it worked like this. We’d open the door to the deck and tell Cyndri to go outside. She’d go out just to please us, but then pull a Cyndri loop and come right back in. One day, I opened the door, and she developed a whole new style of loop. She walked toward the door, but rather than actually going out she’d veer off to the left at the last second and walk around the table and back in, hoping we wouldn’t notice. So I told her again to go out…and again she did it. It was absolutely hilarious, and that went on about twelve times with us totally busting up before I finally just grabbed her and kept her going in the right direction out the door.

Goodbye:

And now she’s gone. We found her dead under the deck in the late afternoon. She was fine in the morning when we fed them, and showed no signs of anything other than perfect health. Judging by her condition when I pulled her out, she must have passed away around an hour after I saw her that morning. We have no idea why she died, and that makes it all that much harder to deal with.

She was too far under the deck to pull her out so I had to cut a hole in the deck and pull her up through it. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. We carried her into the garage and called the following day to make arrangements to have her cremated. Trying to figure out what to have engraved on the plaque that goes on her urn has had me in tears pretty much constantly. I’m still not entirely sure what I’m going to have put on there. Every time I think about something, it just never seems like enough. They’re making us a clay paw print from her too. We’re going to get a display case and put her ashes in it along with her bunny, a picture of her and a piece of wood from the deck, since she liked to sleep under there so much.

* * *

I’m adding this part after this piece was written to let you know what we had put on the plaque.

It said:

Cyndri

Mommy and Daddy will always love you.

Even a couple weeks later as I write this, I’m tearing up hard just thinking about it.

* * *

There’s nothing left now but an empty hole in our lives and our hearts that even the best memories can’t fill. I’d give everything I own to have her back.

There’s a hole in our gang now as well. Cyndri was Rocky’s friend and she was Missy’s friend, but Rocky and Missy aren’t all that close. Cyndri was the link between them. Now that link is gone, and we’ve talked about getting another puppy, but it’s just too soon. Maybe in a couple of months we’ll talk about it seriously. Cyndri was special, and we could never possibly replace her with any other dog. All we can do is hold on to our memories and our love for her, and cry a lot. That’s really all that’s left to us now. We could get another puppy, and we’d love him or her in our own way, but Cyndri will always have a permanent and special home in our hearts, our thoughts and our memories.

I always felt that when Cyndri died, I’d have no regrets about the life we gave her. We took great care of her, we loved her with all our hearts and we made her happy. I only hope she knows how much we loved her and how happy she made us.

I’m crying now, as I have been through most of writing this. I don’t think it’s going to stop anytime soon. I wrote this mostly for my own sake, because I want to remember, and I wanted to share how wonderful she was with other people who have their own dogs that bring happiness and love into their lives. Those of you who do will understand the special bond I had with Cyndri, and be able to appreciate the depth of the love we felt for her.

We miss you Cyndri. We miss you terribly…and we’ll always love you.