Articles Index/In Memoriam, Pets
Posted 11/28/06

April 18, 1996 -- February 16, 2006

Dale passed away quietly and unexpectedly on February 16, 2006. His heart failed due to undetected mitral valve insufficiency and right atrial rupture after a very short illness, manifesting only minimal symptoms for less than a week before he died. He would have celebrated is 10th birthday on April 18th. He had been a beloved member of the DeFraites family since July, 1996.

He was born at Domby's Kennel in Russell, Ohio, sired by Domby Spend a Buck and Domby's Miss Jenny Wren. We are forever grateful to Wayne Palmer and Tony Gabrielli for welcoming us into the world of Norfolk Terriers and permitting us to take our precious Dale home with us. About 18 months later, we returned to Domby's to pick up Benny, a full-blooded sibling of Dale, but that is a story for another day.

Dale was 100% terrier. No critter or interloper dog entered his field of vision from his perch by the front window unchallenged by energetic barking and a most unsettling howling. Our house has never been burgled we will never know if that was attributable to terrier vigilance, despite the fact that he and his brother would probably have licked any intruder to submission upon entering the house.

Dale wouldn't win many show points from a conformation judge, but the children in the neighborhood really liked how friendly and gentle he was, and how he would purr at them and wag his tail when they approached.

He was never interested in chasing the lure on the lure course, but he did once win a "junior earthdog" blue ribbon for going to ground. Dale was never the fastest or quickest one off the mark, but he did patiently stalk and catch an unwary squirrel scrambling up a tree in our yard. He was always a slow walker, except when a squirrel, rabbit, cat, or other creature appeared. There were few trees, telephone poles, signposts, or fences that did not require repeat investigation and "marking", whether it was needed or not.

In his doggy way, Dale exhibited several admirable qualities that many humans, me included, would benefit through emulation.

Unwavering devotion to home and family, and gratitude for the smallest bit of attention and kindness. Dale seemed content just to be with us, his family. A scratch behind the ears or on the back was the ultimate indulgence for the usually low-key Dale. Oh, that we could be satisfied with such simple and genuine pleasures!

Obedience. We were always saying, "What a good boy!" to Dale. He waited patiently when we would say, "Wait!" while we dried his paws and fur wet from an excursion outside or when we needed to attach the leash to his collar before a walk.

Humility. He seemed to give so much more than he ever demanded, including attention. Upon Benny's arrival in the household, Dale quickly was knocked down a few places in the pecking order. This may be a bit of a stretch, and I couldn't read his doggy mind, of course, but this situation would not have been as well accepted by many people, but Dale seemed to adjust.

Grace in the face of illness and death. Dale showed very few signs of illness and no evidence of pain or distress, even in his last hours. He was our little trooper. Oh that we could face our last hours with such courage and calm acceptance.

Dale's life, filled as it was with devotion, obedience, humility, gratitude, and grace, was very sweet, but oh, so short. Ten years seems like a long time, but it passed so quickly, and now all we have are the wonderful memories together with our little pal.

Love hurts, unfortunately. Pain is the price you pay for this kind of loving relationship, and in Dale's case it seems to have been payable in full upon his unexpected passing.

Dale, we love you and miss you. We pray that we never forget you and what you have meant to us.


Bob DeFraites
ANTIC, September, 2006

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