We lost Trouser Saturday afternoon, after 14-plus years of companionship and persnicketiness and love.
Trouser's health deteriorated markedly in the last two-and-a-half years. In recent weeks, it just plummeted.
We're taking comfort in knowing that she lived a full life, chasing countless tennis balls, walking so many trails, and driving across the country a handful of times. Trouser twice even took part in Take Your Pet to Work Day.
A water dog who couldn't stand getting water in her eyes, Trouser dipped her furry toes in every body of water she could: wading pools and swimming pools, pond-sized puddles, creeks and rivers and lakes, the Atlantic Ocean. She once swam illegally, it turns out, in a certain Virginia lake. We credit the park ranger's not issuing a ticket to the look of unbridled joy on Trouser's little wet face.
Trouser preferred people over dogs and disliked the sound of barking. She herself barked, maybe, only a dozen times in her 14 years. When she did bark, it was a voice-cracking whisper of a bark that inspired comparisons to Peter Brady singing "Time to Change."
Trouser was not without her flaws. Once, while painting the bedroom walls, I set up a baby gate to keep Trouser our of the room. The last time I had painted, Trouser pretended that she was a Olympic gymnast performing a ribbon routine: She grabbed hold of a drop cloth and ran around the room with the drop cloth swirling behind her, like the satin ribbon used in rhythmic gymnastics.
As it were, I stood on a ladder, painting. Trouser slept just outside the bedroom door, on the other side of the baby gate. I needed my roll of painter's tape but could find it nowhere. I figured it might be in the kitchen, so I stepped over the baby gate, snagging my shoe, and toppling the gate on snoozing Trouser. She woke and scampered off, fearing for her life. I found her in the living room, which wasn't too great a feat in a 950-square-foot condo, and crouched down to comfort her. When I did, Trouser bonked me in the nose with her noggin hard enough to cause quite the nosebleed.
While I tried to stop the bleeding, Trouser the Opportunist wandered into the bedroom. She walked through the paint tray, which I had placed on the floor when I climbed down from the ladder. And then, then she marched around the room, leaving "empress teal" paw prints wherever the drop cloths weren't.
The painter's tape that I couldn't find: It was on the bedroom window sill the whole time.
One question that came up frequently over Trouser's lifetime: How did Trouser get her name? The answer: From a J. Crew catalog.
I was at my mom's house on break from college, looking through a J. Crew catalog that had arrived in the mail. I liked that J. Crew calls pants "trousers" and liked even more the way the word felt when I said it—and said it and said it. Then and there, I decided I would name my hypothetical "some day" dog "Trouser."
My first job after college paid a piddly $18,000 a year. I slogged through it while I searched for a more fulfilling, better-paying job, telling myself that once I earned $35,000 a year, I'd get that Trouser.
I landed a new, better-paying job soon eight months later. A few years later—and 10 years after I selected her name—I brought home Trouser.
It wasn't until a few years later that I learned that the hair on the hindquarters of a dog, especially when profuse and full, is called "trouserings." Perfect.
I've felt a little self-conscious, here, going on and on about my dog. Messages from friends after Trouser passed away, though, tell me that I needn't feel that way.
One wrote, "Oh, Jenny! Oh no. Oh no. I'm so, so sorry to hear this. I loved Trouser. She was an amazing dog. Truly, I'm not even a big dog person, and she was special. I'm so sorry."
Another: "The Boyce gang send you and your family our condolences. We have all become BIG fans of Trouser through your Facebook posts and will miss the stories and pics. So sorry, Jennifer."
Still another: "Trouser. Somehow I thought I'd never see this post because she was timeless. I know she was a wonderous, wonderful companion who was beside you through so much. We're all grieving with you and your family."
And then, "Jennifer, my heart is breaking."
"OH NO! My heart breaks for you. Sweet and kind Trouser took all our breath away."
"Trouser was such a joy."
"Trouser was such a love."
"What an amazing dog!"
and "She was such a sweet dog. She is why we got a golden."