A great and truly unique dog moved on to her next life this afternoon.
Bidie wasn’t my dog — she belonged to one of my best friends — but I was, indeed, one of Bidie’s humans and, I’d like to think, pretty high on her list of favorites.
When I first met Bidie, she lived in a studio apartment in Brooklyn Heights and was almost two years old, yet still had the energy of a crazed puppy. In fact, all I knew about her was that she was black-and-white with a red tongue. The entire time I was in the apartment, she ran around full speed, launching herself off the top of furniture and occasionally licking my face while speeding by in a blur. She was like a miniature Tasmanian Devil.
Bidie “grew up” to become a Bull Mastiff in a Boston Terrier’s body — 12 pounds soaking wet, without fear of any other being, man or beast. And Bidie and I ended up being roommates for one memorable year in Hoboken. During that year, I rarely called her Bidie, opting instead for various nicknames including Scrappy-Doo, Half-a-Doggie and Bitch Ass (the last one was courtesy of her owner).
When Bidie’s owner was away, the dog and I would “share” my bed. However, we used Bidie’s definition of “share.” No matter where I started out, somehow, by the middle of the night, a 12-pound terrier would be spread out across 90% of a queen-sized bed, while a 250-pound human was left with barely enough of the edge to not end up on the floor. I still don’t understand how she did that. It defied the laws of physics.
Bidie also defied the laws of acoustics with her snoring. The noises that came out of this tiny critter were louder than the snores of most human beings, cattle or other large mammals.
Any thoughts I had of Bidie possibly having some fear were washed away by my one — and only — trip with her to the dog run in Hoboken.
I took care of a Welsh Terrier in Manhattan and found that when he was one-on-one with another dog, he wanted to kill it, but when he was surrounded by a bunch of dogs, he was civil, so I thought Bidie would react the same, but, in the words of her owner, “Not so much a lot.”
The second I let Bidie off the leash, she was hell-bent on a mission to eat every other dog in the dog run — not scare them, not fight them, eat them. After scooping her up and apologizing profusely to several people, I decided that the great dog-run experiment had come to an unsuccessful end. I seriously doubt we would have been welcomed back. In fact, the next few times I walked through the park, I expected to see posters of Bidie in a circle with a line through it. I can’t say I would have blamed them.
Even though I only lived with her for one year, it took me a full six months to get used to not having her around once we gave up our apartment. I would turn the key in the door of my new apartment every day expecting to hear the pitter-patter of little Bidie paws.
Fortunately, a couple of years down the road, we ended up living on the same block, so I still got to spend a lot of quality time with the little scrapper. Even after Bidie and her human moved about an hour away and I didn’t get to see her as much as I’d have liked, I always got an extra-special greeting, with eyes wide open, bat ears straight up in the air and tongue hanging out.
Unfortunately, part of being around pets is dealing with their shorter life spans. Bidie’s time had come. She was 16 years old. It wasn’t one of those unexpected things, like a perfectly healthy, younger pet getting hit by a car or suddenly being diagnosed with a disease. Bidie hung in there gamely for quite some time, but old age is a bastard and it had really begun to take its toll.
The 16-year-old Bidie isn’t the dog I’ll remember, though. I’ll remember the younger, scrappier little beast who terrorized every other dog she saw, monopolized beds and furniture and stole hearts.
If there’s a dog run in Heaven, I hope all of the other dogs up there are quick, or they might be in for a rude awakening.