My all time favorite story of Penelope was the day this photo was taken. Because she was black and I am a protective dog Mom I always feared she would overheat, so our adventures were always in the evening. We had started out on our favorite trail a little later than usual and it was already dusk, where the path becomes less visible and bushes start to become unrecognizable. Ahead of me Penelope darted off the path in a big hurry and startled me. Running as fast as I could I caught up to her just in time to see a big puffy tail with a large white stripe raise in the air. With both our mouthes wide open, we were doused by a skunk. The taste, smell and feeling were indescribable and to make matters worse, we were 3 miles from the car.
We ran back to the car as fast as we could, gagging and choking on the taste and stench. I raced to the grocery store nearest my home at over 70 miles an hour with all 4 windows down, Penelope rubbing her face on the seat trying to rid herself of the stink. Worried that the longer I took the harder it would be to remove the smell from the car, I moved as fast as I could. I grabbed about 15 cans of tomato paste and headed to the check out. While waiting in line, two old ladies came behind me gossiping about a friend of theirs. They both stopped dead in their tracks the moment they caught a whiff of me while one exclaimed “Girl, you stink!”
At home, the battle to clean Penelope was so disastrous it became comical. She hated water, and baths were like torture. I wrestled her into the tub over and over, only to have her jump back out smearing tomato paste everywhere. After about 45 minutes, from sheer exhaustion she relented and finally let me wash her. When we were done the bathroom looked like a massacre had taken place, but we were both finally clean. I laughed the entire time I cleaned things up. I never did get the skunk smell out of my car and ended up trading it in about a month later.
I look at all my experiences with Penelope with gratitude for her teaching me how to be a Mom. Because of her there isn’t anything that Sloane can ever do that will give me the heebie-jeebies. She also taught me unconditional love. No matter how mad I got at her for eating my newest pair of shoes, or later on raiding Sloane’s Halloween candy and hiding the wrappers under her dog bed, she always came back to me within minutes wagging her tail and full of doggy kisses. I was so very lucky the day 5 week old Penelope decided I had to pick her out of the litter. She tackled and untied my shoes and from there on out, she was my princess. I miss you big girl, thank you for blessing my life for 12 amazing years.