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Amber "Thumper" Quillen

Jackie Quillen

It is fair to say that we all think that our pet is the best or cutest in the world. No matter what people say all pets are the best in the world because they are our pets. They offer the best kind of friendship and have great personalities. I am one of those pet lovers who say my dog was like a real person, because she really was!

I was blessed with Amber's friendship for 12 years and I miss her every day. She never wanted to leave us but she grew too weak to run and jump around with excitement every time we walked into the room, so she had to move on to doggie heaven. Amber was the perfect dog for my family. She knew all of us so well and fit in like the missing puzzle piece. My sister and I are very allergic to dogs and our allergist recommended that we don't have one in our house, but that was never an option for us. After being around her for so long we grew used to it. Every time we see the allergist he asks - already knowing the answer, "And we still have the dog, eh?"

Amber came from a lovely breeder at Amber Lynn Farms. Her mom was a show dog and her dad was an excellent hunting dog. Luckily for us, Amber wasn't into the show or hunting lifestyles…she also wasn't exactly competitive or skilled enough. Instead, Amber preferred chasing rabbits and squirrels in the backyard but never actually catching any.

My mom's friend Julie, who is a dog lover, came with us to meet Amber to tell us if it was going to be a good match. Within two seconds of getting out of the car my mom was sold on Amber. On the car ride home with our new puppy we decided to name her Amber. As soon as we got home she was so excited and couldn't stop wagging her tail. She sat in the family room with a huge grin on her face while her tail was thumping on the floor the whole time. We couldn't believe how loud her tail was and wanted to name her Thumper instead. She was exactly like the Thumper from Bambi who can't stop tapping his foot when he's excited. Her loud tail is definitely one of many signature features but it also got her in trouble.

Amber wanted to be in the same room as us all the time. She was very protective and loving! My parents didn't always let Amber go upstairs or in our bedrooms because of our allergies. However, she snuck her way up there quite a bit and even had a little spot right outside my parents' door where she could rest. We could always tell if she was in the hallway because her tail gave her away. When I heard her outside my door I'd open it really slowly and there she was waiting right outside with a look that said, "How did you know I was out here? But let's play anyways!"

I loved letting Amber sleep in my bed but I had to sneak her past my parents' bedroom without them knowing. She was terrible at sneaking upstairs when everyone was asleep because she could never stop wagging her tail. I had to keep saying "Shhhh!!!!!" but she just got more excited and wagged her tail even faster. Amber was never the most generous cuddle buddy because she took up all the space. She would jump in bed and plop right in the middle, no matter what size the bed was. So when we slept in my small single bed, I had to curl my body around hers. Whenever we had sleepovers I woke up at 5 a.m. to her wet snout in my face. She was hungry and determined to get me out of bed for food. I would roll over and try to ignore her but she wouldn't allow that with her constant nose-flinching/sneezing sounds. She would just make noises until I finally got up.

Amber's favorite time of day was when we'd say "go for a walk?" with our heads tilted, and she would respond with a head tilt and scrunched forehead. Those little words excited her so much that she couldn't sit still. I used to tease her by making her sit and stay while I put the leash on. She could never stay and every time she moved I would make her sit again - she got so frustrated with me. Amber was very well-trained, which is one of the reasons why she fit in with my family so well. She almost always obeyed commands like 'stay' and 'heel,' but sometimes when we let her off the leash she couldn't hold back her excitement. She loves to run free.

When I was walking Amber through the park one time I decided to unhook her leash so she wouldn't feel restrained but it was hard for her to control her anxious desire to run around. She heeled by my side for a good 45 seconds then started speeding up. She looked up at me, gave me a big smile, and then darted for the creek. I was nervous how far Amber would run and was yelling after her, but she came out of the creek quickly because she accidentally swallowed rocks. Lesson learned! I put her leash back on to walk home but didn't even need it because she was so exhausted from her creek adventure.

When Amber needed a bath, which was often, we took her to a grooming place called Fluff. She never came out fluffy like the other dogs because she was too scared of the hair dryer. The groomers thought this was so bizarre and they had to put a fan on her while she waited for us to get there. Amber didn't like the fan either. For such a big dog she was a big baby. It was useless to spray her for fleas because she rubbed it all over the lawn. She was also paranoid about walking by an open door and would scamper past it scared out of her mind. It was always funny hearing her paws slip all over the kitchen floor when she was trying to be discreet. We could always tell if she was in the kitchen because her footsteps sounded like prancing paws on the hard floor.

Whenever we left home we knew those pitiful puppy eyes were coming because she never liked being alone. She would try to squeeze her snout into the door as we closed it and then stare at it, waiting for us to come back inside. But we also knew she would be anxiously waiting for us to return home. As soon as she heard the car in the driveway, Amber went to the front door to greet us, tail wagging. She loved it when people came over and wanted to say 'hi' to everyone, all the time. Her favorite person was my Mom-Mom. As soon as she walked through the door Amber ran to the cabinet that her treats were in and waited for Mom-Mom to give her one.

Another thing Amber did that I'll never forget was when my Aunt brought her newborn twins to my house and put them to sleep on a blanket on the floor. After a while my Aunt went to check on the twins and found Amber lying in the middle of them, watching over them. She freaked out like any mom who didn't know Amber would because there was a huge dog on the floor with her newborn babies. But she was okay with it once she realized Amber would never hurt a thing. When my little sister was born Amber watched out for her, too, but sometimes she would steal her baby toys.

I could always count on Amber for a good laugh or a shoulder to lean on. Everything about her was cute, funny, and unique. She was the most loving dog I could have asked for. Whenever someone who was scared of dogs came to my house they left with a love for dogs. Amber changed people's lives! She changed our lives without a doubt!!

Jackie Quillen is a senior at the Mount studying English and Communications and will be a regular contributor to the Emmitsburg News-Journal.