Connie looking up at Cynthia

Friday, September 30th started with a double rainbow outside our house, and another rainbow in the clouds on the commute to work. It was a sign. Our dog, Hilde, sends them to us from the other side of the Rainbow Bridge. At 5:00pm Jim asked the kids if they wanted to go to the vet for Connie's appointment. Normally, they would say no, but they knew this was big. All of us knew we were losing our Little Girl.

Connie was the last of the last of the Sain Yorkie clan - the final pup from our beloved Laddie and Winnie. Constance was preceded to the rainbow bridge by her mother and father as well as her two sisters, Bessie and Camilla. She was born with a bowel motivity problem that appeared at about 6 weeks of age. We didn't think she was going to survive. Our house call vet, Chris Ruzicka, came over a number of times trying to kick start her backside through enemas. When he finally said he knew of nothing more to try he suggested that we contact Countryside Animal Hospital and Dr. Gene Stine. Dr. Stine and Dr. Hamilton diagnosed Constance with the bowel condition that would be with her throughout her life. Dr. Trish Hamilton, now at Micanopy Animal Hospital, saved Connie's life with daily doses of a feline bowl motivity drug, Cisepride, and Lactulose she was able to live a surprising long life. Longer than any of us expected.

All our dogs have many names, Constance was named for her health issue (she was always constipated). She had a good number of nicknames including Constanza, Conners, Old Lady, Little Shit, Connerlicious, Con-con, Fizgig, Dust Mop, Little Girl and Punkin. She was our Little Girl, at ~5lbs she was the smallest of all our Yorkshire Terriers.

Like all in her bloodline, Connie also had a dry eye condition that required the daily application of Cyclosporine eye drops. Cynthia liked to call them "drops of gold" as the prescription was costly. In the last few years of her life Con-con developed twisting in her esophagus known as a megaesophagus. She was unable to eat regular hard food thus requiring the creation of a dog food sludge, or as Andrew called it, "Yorkie Sludge." We soaked her dog food in water and then made a slurry in the blender. Jim kept V8 bottles to store the concoction in the fridge for feeding time. Either chicken or beef broth was added to the slurry and it was heated. Connie was so tiny cold food could cause her to shiver.

Her wet food ensured that a good amount of fluid entered her system daily causing a need for frequent trips outside to what Boy Scouts call "the great green latrine." It seems this added fluid helped flush her system more than usual. It likely masked the senior blood work exams that should have identified her failing kidneys. We knew that her bloodline had a 13-16 year lifespan based on the longevity of her parents and siblings. Connie passed at 16 years, 2 months of age.

She was the definition of a "Punkin." She was spunky like one would expect from a terrier - ratters that they are. She held her own with our big dog Taylor. In fact, you could see them on our big round pillow together quite frequently. Taylor looked after Connerlicious. Conners was almost completely blind in the last years of her life. Taylor herded her toward the door to go outside or come inside. Taylor stayed with Connie almost constantly the last days of her life and she was the first to look for Connie after she passed.

We miss her when we realize that we no longer have to give her medicines for her motivity or dry eye, or when we don't have to make another batch of Yorkie sludge, chase her around to get the leaf litter and the "clingons" off of her long coat (we called it the Star Trek experience), or have to change the puppy pads we used in her cage due to her frequent need to eliminate. That said, she always went to the big bed with her humans and rarely had any accidents.

She loved to curl up next to the people and conserve warmth with others. In bed she would cuddle so close her long hair would get caught underneath her humans as we turned over. We'd feel these little feet pushing against us as she tried to extract herself.

She was insistent. When she was done eating her constant bark, which was pretty big for a little dog, would not stop until she was removed from her cage and allowed to join the greater pack. When wanting to reenter the house from a bathroom break she had very little patience for us slow moving humans.

At the end she was less than 4 lbs, she had little to no muscle mass anymore. The ravages of renal failure results in slow starvation. There was hardly anything left of Our Girl. Yet she fought the sedation and a second round had to be delivered inter-muscular.

Connie passed at 5:30pm on Friday, 9/30. There were tears all around. The kids do not remember life without her. She will be missed for a great number of reasons. But, mostly for her just being a great little dog. She never really needed to be the center of attention. She was always just a part of the pack. Old lady was the last of the Yorkies. Our love for these dogs started with Laddie when Jim was a doctoral student. He came into our lives in the spring of 1990. Con-con left us in the fall of 2016. 26 years have passed where a Yorkie or two ... or three ... or four ... or five, where in our lives. Hard to believe that the last is now at the Rainbow Bridge. We'll miss you Little Shit. Give 'em heck. Let all the Sain Yorkies know they're sorely missed and we will see them again one day.

[Click here for more photos of Connie]