Celebrating Xuma and Orson
This holiday season, we celebrate Xuma and Orson, and although we miss them greatly, we smile because we laughed, loved, played, walked, and cuddled for ten marvelous years.
We had the good fortune of meeting Xuma at the North Los Angeles Animal Shelter. They informed us they found her on the street and she recently had puppies, but they did not find any puppies with her. They estimated she was about two years old. She came home with us on January 20, 2009, that historic day that Barack Obama was sworn into office. A superb day indeed!
Initially Xuma was a reluctant participant in our walks and was overcome with joy when we returned home, racing laps in the yard. Gradually she decided while being home is nice, walks are fun and the longer the better. She did a happy dance when the harness and leash appeared, but when it was time to turn towards home, she stubbornly resisted moving at all. She developed her own walking meditation — so very slow that the last 50 feet could take 15 minutes. When tempted with treats, she would walk a few steps take a treat and then stop again. She was smarter than me. I do not know what she liked best about our morning walks, being outside, meeting people and dogs, smelling everything, lunging after squirrels, or simply walking, but I do know she wanted to greet everyone. If a neighbor or the neighbor’s dog was not willing to meet her, Xuma would sit quietly, even lay down, and watch them go by, refusing to budge until they were out of sight and then she would sigh, get up, and move on.
We adopted Orson on June 13, 2009, from a rescue group when he was four years old. Xuma was thrilled to have a playmate, but Orson, although larger, was a bit intimidated by Xuma’s exuberance. Xuma’s persistence usually paid off and they would play, making up their own games which often consisted of Orson prancing in one spot barking at Xuma while she zipped around.
Orson was a sous-chef extraordinaire. He loved the kitchen, loved to supervise and taste everything. A friend recently shared a funny quote which describes Orson, “Every meal you make. Every bite you take. I’ll be watching you.” Orson was also a goofy boy, insisting he was an 80-pound lap dog. All he wanted was food and love.
Xuma and Orson were great friends, having worked out that Xuma was the boss, always the boss. Xuma often requested “facials” from Orson and he would dutifully lick her face and ears until she was covered with slobbery Orson kisses. They grew old together, slowing down over time, not playing as often, but always happy. One evening in March, Xuma died in her sleep. We were unaware of any health issues and she had no symptoms. Our veterinarian believes it was heart failure. Then in September, Orson was diagnosed with a fast-growing cancerous tumor in his abdomen, we helped him cross over rainbow bridge. We were heartbroken, but remain forever grateful and will always celebrate our little girl Xuma and our goofy boy Orson. The highest honor we can pay them is to follow their example – enjoy life and love unconditionally.