(Pandora and April)
Freegrace would be nothing without the four-legged creatures who call her home. We’re feeling the loss of our most devilish and cuddly resident, HRH the Dowager Queen Pandora.
One summer morning in 1994, at 5am to be exact, a man dropped off a wiry coated, long legged, white with a black and brown eye patched Parson Russell. We had arranged a play date, a meet and greet, a “let’s see how this day goes and then you can decide if you want to keep her” appointment. He was the 5th human to make the attempt to keep her as a pet. She was just five months old.
I opened the garage door. I was barefoot and in my pajamas. I might have been slightly hung over from the previous night’s hijinks. The guy handed me the sweet pup. I waved goodbye. I open the door leading to the kitchen, put the cute little scamp down, leaned over to push the button to close the garage door and the little stinker took off, down the blind and winding roads of the Hollywood Hills. On trash day. So the miniscule white dog is blazing down asphalt, trash trucks are hauling ass up and I’m the crazed, barefoot banshee in a nightie chasing her. I trapped her on someone’s doorstep. The gentleman never returned that evening to pick her up. The hellhound was officially mine. She already came with the perfect name. Pandora.
High strung minx that she was, she refused to come when called, took off when we tried to wrangle her but punished me severely if I left her. Her standard separation anxiety procedure/punishment was to jump on the bed and pee on the feather duvet. And then she barked and she howled. When I returned, she’d nip at my heels and calves, often drawing blood. But then I’d bend down, she’d put her hands on my shoulders and snuggle up to my chin and we’d have a conversation. Me: “how was your day.” Panda: “grunt, gurgle, squeek.” Me: “really? You don’t say?” Panda: “Squeek, squeek, gurgle.” Me: “I don’t believe you. A giant squirrel? And you battled to the death?” Panda: “gurgle gurgle grunt.”
When I shared the news that the old girl had died, I got messages of condolence and each with a story of Pandora’s Houdini escapes from homo sapien clutches and tales of mass desctruction. “Remember when Panda escaped and 10 burly workmen chased her around the house for an hour?” “remember when panda escaped from the roadside motel room in the desert and high tailed it down the two lane highway and wouldn’t come back until we lay on our backs in the dirt so she could climb on top of us, triumphant?” "Remember when the bird was flying around the house and I was joking around and told Panda to 'GET IT!'...and she did. Straight out of the air into her mouth. With a crunch." “remember when Panda broke into my room with her sidekick April and they dismantled my alphabetically categorized VHS collection but they only destroyed “The Adventures of Milo & Otis?” “Remember when Panda and April broke into my room, tore into my girlfriend’s vintage Tarot deck, destroying every card but “DESTRUCTION” and then proceeded to pee on my pillow and poop in my shower?”
It might surprise you to hear that Pandora became a much calmer dog after April came into her life, with all their “Thelma & Louise” hijinks. But when I met my husband Ray, he brought with him a sweet Boston Terrier who became HRH Pandora’s BFF and furry soul mate. A partner in canine crime and a massage therapist. April died July 24th, 2006. Pandora was never the same after she left.
HRH the Dowager Queen Pandora passed on July 24, 2010, four years to the day after Miss April, and is buried on the grounds of Freegrace with April’s ashes. I still hear phantom barks whenever I close a door behind me, the apparition of Panda still complaining that I’ve left her behind.