Nolle came to us as a blind, deaf, coughing, wheezing, pneumonia-racked and otherwise mute, 12 year old faded white tiny fox terrier. She'd obviously had many pups. She staggered like someone with cerebral palsy. She wasn't expected to live long. But she crept into our hearts and was adored until, after a year, she died in my arms. Nolle had let me cuddle her in the last few weeks of her life, this little old lady who used to jump in fear whenever she was touched.
Nolle fitted in like a well-aged well-loved maiden aunt. She would get excited when she joined the pack for their breakfast snack and for the evening meal. All the others accepted her as a venerable and gently familiar old relative. Nobody pinched her tucker. I saw our very snickety old Chihuahua, Bucket, actually push her own food bowl under Nolle's nose. I've never seen anything like it.
We had made a bed for the old girl right beside the heater, which we left on day and night. She loved it and would sleep with her head on the bed and her body curled up int he foetal position for most of every day, snoring gently. Nobody even tried to take over.
Every now and then Nolle would head up the corridor, bunny-hopping, in apparent frivolity. Towards the end she found this too hard and toppled gently until she was picked up. On her last day her voice was heard. A wail. Our vet Bill said it was the right time now, and we cried as she died. She was so ready to go.
She is buried in a vineyard in Queanbeyan. We miss her. She was special.