I keep getting reminded of all the things that only Sparco would do and it makes me miss him more. I loved him so much. I still do. I always will.
I adopted Sparco almost exactly 10 years ago. I remember going to the Humane Society back home in Nebraska and finding a black lab puppy that I really wanted. When I returned the next day to get the black lab, he was gone. Instead, they had just gotten a chocolate lab mix in, so I decided that he would do.
Sparco, who also answered to Sparkus, ate lots of amazing shoes. He chewed up some furniture and he even gnawed through a door. All the way through. But his favorite things to eat were trash and cockroaches. He didn't develop his love for cockroaches until his senior years, but he enjoyed trash early on. I could never leave trash out, not even under the sink. He was a magician, I tell you! Somehow, he was able to open the cabinet doors. And, well, regular doors, too (the kinds with the handles like this). MorningStar Farms Hickory BBQ Riblets was his favorite food to dig out of the trash. If any part of that vegan riblet juice was left in the garbage can over night, you'd be sure to find trash spread out all over the kitchen floor the next morning.
During his later years, he was known as The Bug Hunter. All you'd have to say is, "Sparco! There's a bug! Get the bug!" and within seconds the bug was destroyed. No matter what kind of bug it was, although, cockroaches were his bug of choice. He LOVED them the most. After the initial chomp, he'd carry it to the living room, spit it out, and roll on top of it. Like he conquered it or something. It was hilarious, and kind of gross at the same time.
He was so smart. He could do all the basic tricks: sit, shake, lay down, roll over, and speak. My favorite trick that I taught him was to play dead. You'd say, "Sparco, Bang!" while holding your hand out like a gun, and he would lay down and play dead. Except for that loud thumping tail. That heavy tail would knock glasses off tables!
When he was a puppy, I'd let him sleep in bed with me. The only problem is that while he was on top of the blanket, I couldn't pull the covers back over me. So the only solution of course, was to make him sleep under the covers. This developed an obsession with always wanting to get under the covers...of any kind. To let you know that he wanted to get under the covers, he would scratch at the blanket, or sheets or if you were just sitting on the couch and wearing a long skirt, he'd scratch at that and try to wedge his way underneath it.
Sparco McSparkatins was a lab mix, but he was also part person and part seal (if you pulled his face back, he looked like a baby seal). He would sit straight up in chairs and he had a tiny little pouty lip, we called it people lips. He had a super shiny, silky smooth coat. He was so soft, you didn't want to miss the opportunity to pet him, because it was so nice. Also, he was bread for cuddling, which is a very rare bread.
Sparco, also known as Sparky Jones, loved wearing clothes. It didn't matter if it was doggie clothing, a handkerchief, or just one of my old tees. The funniest part was if he saw that we were getting ready to put something on one of the other dogs, he would get super jealous and try to get under your arms so that it would go on him, instead. Ohh he was so silly!
With age, his face started getting pretty saggy. When he would lay his face on the couch, it would flatten. As soon as he would wake up, half of his face would be flattened. We also called him Flat Face. And sometimes we'd let a Flat Face "cook", then shout out his name so we could get the first peek at a fresh Flat Face!
Last September, I blogged about the health issues that he was having. Since then, he mostly had good days, but on his bad days, he would just kind of stumble around. It was pretty heartbreaking to see him like that. We knew that his time with us would be ending soon. On New Years Eve he experienced multiple seizures. We rushed to the emergency vet where we spent the last moments of his life right next to him. We comforted him and told him that we loved him and that we wanted him to be in a more peaceful place, free of pain.
Sparco brought so much joy to our lives. Every future dog that we have, will always be compared to Sparco (and none will match up). He was The Cuddle King, The Bug Hunter, my Sparky Pants, my Sparco boy, Sparky Jones Sparkus and Sparco McSparkatins. He was my baby boy. I love you Sparco.
And now, a photo dump of Sparco pictures...
Rest in peace, Sparco.
*Update: I forgot to inlcude this last picture of Sparco on his favorite part of the couch: