We got her from the pound at 8 weeks old. I had just quit my cushy IT consulting job and started my own shop. This seemed like the perfect time to bring a baby pup in to Emily and my life, as prospects of marriage and children had started to loom in the background. Working from home should afford me plenty of time to train a puppy, right?

Sicily Sioux was a great dog. She loved her older “brother” Dudley more than us. He was the boss. He seemed to listen to us a fair amount of the time, and so she would too. She would perk her ears the way Dudley did. She’d heel to him on a walk. People thought they were brother and sister when they were really born half a decade and a whole continent apart.

Having young and stocky blood in the brood definitely changed the dynamic. She was strong and heavy, we wondered if there wasn’t some pit-bull in her. Walks to the park became epic frisbee battles. They would run like a black deer and its enforcer shadow. Dudley and Sis used to wrestle like it was a dance, lovingly chomping at one another’s jowls. A little black in her mouth would show when she lovingly slobbered kisses and smiles on you. She always smiled.

Over time Dudley started to have to work harder to win. Eventually he took a twist to the hips that seemed to last in a wrestling match. The frisbee tricks slowed, we were all getting older.

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As Pannonica and then Quinby came into the world, Sis became a loving nanny. She was first to bark at anything amiss. Walks to the park caused traffic mayhem as Portland “you first” sensibilities met with new parent appeal and the luster of shiny black dogs. Sis would play with the kids for hours.

When the “thingie on her elbow” turned into a golf ball and then a soft ball sized tumor, we decided to amputate her front left leg. It was expensive, we didn’t opt for anything more like radiation or chemo, and it was worth it. She was hopping down the stairs and through the doggie door the day after surgery. We’d take her to the park and people would ask us what it was that was different about her that they couldn’t place. “Tri-paw?” we’d reply to peoples surprise.

Four years later, her spirit was still so strong today when she passed. If her backend hadn’t grown a nerf football sized tumor. If she still could have dragged herself around at all… she would have.

She was even trying to get up when the drugs were taking her pain away. Sis’s spirit was never to be underestimated. She loved us all so unconditionally. We certainly didn’t deserve the love she had for us. A life of waiting for a walk and getting poked by children. What a great dog. I love you Sis. I miss you Sis. Farewell Sicily Sioux.

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