Ultimately, a rapidly growing liver tumor got Penny, but she was a dog that always seemed bedeviled by physical problems. She had arthritis in her legs, battled inflamed intestines, and was prone to ear infections. We knew we had reached the point of no return when Penny’s primary raison d’etre — eating as much as possible as quickly as possible — stopped working for her. At the end, she couldn’t keep food down at all, and when that happens to a Lab you know their time has come.
We got Penny when she was just a puppy. Richard chose the name Penny because as a young dog Penny was copper-colored. Her family nicknames were Pen Pal and Lug Nut. She always had a quizzical expression on her face that made me chuckle, and she was a loving and affectionate creature. For Penny, life was like The Simpsons song: a stranger was just a friend Penny hadn’t met. She never let her ailments get her down.
Penny was not an active dog; unlike our prior dog Dusty Penny didn’t like to run, or play fetch, or swim. No, Penny’s interests lay more in just being a part of the family. Next to eating, Penny liked nothing more than sitting on the couch to watch some TV and getting a hug from Kish now and then. She followed Kish around the house like the children followed the Pied Piper and grew anxious if Kish was out of sight, even if only for a minute or two. When Kish came back it was like Christmas and the Fourth of July rolled into one.
Penny was well-trained until her illness caused her training to fail her, and she was dutiful and faithful to the very end. That makes her a good dog in my book, and we’ll miss her.