Emma June is my mom’s dog.  Boo Two’s sister.  Little Blue Eyes.  Emmit.  Bullet Nose.  The Swimmin’ Lemon. 

Emma was born in 1998.  Shortly after my childhood dogs, Bull (Big Boo) and Dayzi, had gone to their eternal rest my dad said he wanted another Boo.  He said for mom to go find puppies (free ones, of course) and not come home with one unless it looked just like Big Boo.  Oh, and if she found such a character, she could pick out a second pup too. 

We found the Boo-meister in a patchy countrified litter that was supposed to be part Lab, though we now believe his and Emma’s ancestry is quite varied.  Boo sat huddled next to the fence, and aside from his shy demeanor appeared to be the spitting image of Bull.  Sold! Er, taken, I mean.  And then there was also this spunky blonde female pup with bright blue eyes.  A striking beauty.  Mom was in love!  We scooped them both up, and headed back to mom’s. 

Mom accused me of immediately spoiling her Emma.  From the moment I met her, all I had to do was sit on the floor and she was instantly in my lap.  Mom would roll her eyes and say, “You do know she’s MY dog, don’t you?”  Those first days in July 1998 with Boo and Emma were sunny and fun and sloppy wet!  Daddy bought a wading pool and filled it with water for the pups to play in.  Emma was just this little blonde bouncing ball of spirit, splashing in and out of the water, sailing through the air before whipping around to splash again in the other direction.  This earned her the title of The Swimmin’ Lemon.  (Also at this same time, I dreamed of owning a bistro and calling it by the same name.  If I see such an establishment pop up, I want credit.  LOL!)

From then on, all I had to do was say, “Where’s the Lemon?” and she would come running!  She had other nicknames to which I eluded in the first paragraph.  Daddy called her Emmit.  Mom called her Emma June from the beginning, though sometimes the name was expanded to Emma June Nation.  Emma had a way of getting our attention, namely by slapping the crap out of us with her paw if she thought we weren’t focusing enough on her.  Equally frustrating was that she would lean in close, stare sweetly but intently into one’s eyes, and then without warning slam her nose into one’s face.  Bullet Nose.   

Emma wasn’t too crazy about the kids when they came along.  She preferred that they stay on their side of the room and she would stay on hers, thank you very much.  Mom taught the kids that if Emma growled or left their presence, they were to back off.  Emma was protective of little more than herself, while Boo surprised us by constantly being interested in the kids’ business. 

While she kept her interests separate from what was usually going on, she was unmistakably an important part of the family, with all rights and responsibilities thereto.  Apparently, Emma enjoyed napping in the comfort of the patio chairs, which Daddy usually insisted stay pushed up to the patio table.  But not long ago, I overheard Mom ask Daddy if he had pulled the chair away from the table.  He responded, “Yeah, for Emma. She likes that.”  

Doc diagnosed Emma with cancer in her mouth earlier this year.  She underwent surgery to remove the tumor, after which Emma returned to her playful, happy self.  But we were prepared for the bounce-back to be short lived.  As the school year ended, Emma’s health deteriorated rapidly.  We could tell that the tumor had returned, and Emma lost the desire to eat.  Mom called me today and told me through tears that Doc will make a house-call this afternoon, and Emma’s pain will be over. 

I am sad.  I will miss the Lemon.  She is a good dog, a wonderful pet, and a loyal friend.  I wonder how Boo will react to being without her for the first time in his life.  Boo gets frustrated with Emma lately, although Mom said Emma got stuck in a bush outside this week, and Boo wedged himself in to direct her out of it.  He knows the end is near.  We all know.  I believe that Emma will join Bull and Dayzi under the Rainbow Bridge, and we will all enjoy her company again one day. 

I wonder if Christ had a sweet little dog,
All fuzzy and wooly, like mine.
With two silky ears and a nose brown and wet
And two eyes, bright and tender, that shine.

I’m afraid that He hadn’t, because I have read
How He prayed in the garden alone
When all of His friends and disciples had fled,
Even Peter, the one called a stone.

But, oh, I am sure, that sweet little dog,
With a heart so tender and warm,
Would never have left Him to suffer alone,
But, creeping up under His arm,

Would have licked the dear fingers in agony clasped
And counting all favor as lost,
When they took Him away, would have trotted behind,
And followed Him right to the cross.