Well, we finally lost our Bichon Frise, the 16-year old irrepressible Gabrielle Button Woodstock ("Gabbie" or "Gabs"). She's been in declining health these last six months or so, sleeping more and losing weight. She finally went into kidney failure last week and died today (10/11/06). She will be sorely missed.
Gabbie has been part of our family since we lived in Illinois. She was the dog of a vet Elise's parents knew in Texas. The vet died, his widow couldn't care for Gabby, so Elise's mom babysat Gabs a lot. We brought her up to Illinois to find someone to adopt her (we knew someone who did pet adoptions) but she ended up taking over our house and never left. She's lived also in South Carolina, Georgia, and Arizona.
Bichons have a wonderful character. Often mistaken for frou-frou Fifi type dogs (especially since they can be groomed to be all fluffy snowballs) they are also scrappy little dogs with street smarts. Historically they're from the Canary Islands, used to be traded by Spanish sailors apparently. They ended up as court dogs for royalty (appearing in royal portraits) and later lost favor, becoming European street dogs before the breed was brought back. Which kinda sums up a bichon's personality: part royal lap dog, part streetwise, part "hello sailor," and very intelligent.
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