Lady Diana Van Patten August 7, 1997 – March 9, 2012

Well enough time has passed that I can actually sit down and think about Lady without my heart feeling so extremely sad and tears coming to my eyes. So I decided to go ahead and write her story to memorialize her. I wrote about Joey, I wrote about Kiara, but if any pet deserves to have her story told, it’s Lady, the matriarch pet of our family.

Lady came to us from the vet’s office. We lived in Virginia at the time. I was sitting in the vet’s waiting room with our cat, Katy, when in the door walked a family with a tub full of 11 puppies. They had brought all the puppies in to get their shots. I went over (of course) to pet and coo over the puppies and immediately spotted Lady. What a cute little furry black puppy with a white arrow on her chest. I immediately fell in love with her. The family that had brought her in said that I could have her for the cost of her shots (which was only $20.00). I went home (I lived just down the street from the vet) and talked to my family. Everyone wanted to get her, so I went back to the vet, paid my $20.00 and Lady came home  to be a part of our family for the rest of her life!

This was at about 1 year old

Lady was all puppy….a very wild puppy for the first 2 years of her life. She chewed everything and was an amazing escape artist. Every time you opened the front door Lady would fly out the door. Then you’d spend the next 1/2 hour driving around in the car trying to get her back. She liked to play a game with you trying to catch her and as soon as you’d get close to her she’d dart off again. She was full of energy.

However, after lots of training she finally became the perfect dog and would not even leave the yard (even if the gate was left open) until you told her she could. Lady was such a guard dog that we gave her a theme song of “Secret Agent Man”. She would keep the yard very well protected from anything that moved, including birds, squirrels, turtles, lizards, and the neighbor’s cat. Her main goal in life was to guard her family. Such a good girl.

Lady loved to play football. You could throw the football for her and she would retrieve it, then run for the touchdown….darting all around so you couldn’t catch her….she always made a touchdown and we got a good workout trying to catch her :).

When Lady was still a puppy I ran a home day care center. One of the little girls that I babysat for still used a pacifier. We couldn’t leave those pacifiers laying around anywhere because if we did, Lady would go and grab one and just lay there sucking on it. She would, eventually, bite at the rubber part and chew it to bits. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the picture of her sucking on the pacifier…we do have one, but it’s not going up on the blog.

I don’t have any puppy pictures of her. Not sure where those pictures went. I do have videos of her as a puppy, but those are on 8mm and I don’t know how to get those off the 8mm and onto my blog.

Lady was always trying to be the Alpha dog…she would listen well to me, and pretty well to Chip & Vanessa, but poor Jenny, no matter how hard she tried Lady just looked at Jenny as another puppy that she didn’t have to obey. Whenever Jenny would call Lady you’d always end up hearing “Lady Diana, you come here right now!” 😉

Lady loved camping and hanging out by the fire pit! Whenever we would take her camping though, she would absolutely tire herself out by “guarding” the campground all day as if her life depended on it, then she would sleep so heavy at night you could not wake her up! lol.

Chip with Lady

Vanessa with Lady - I can't help but say....you see that look in my daughter's eyes? haha....mischief, devious? lol

Jenny with Lady

The kids all adored Lady, they even fought over spending time with her. Haha…it was when we lived in the above house (in Washington DC) that Lady finally learned that she was not allowed to dart out of the house, and not allowed to leave the back yard! That came with lots and lots of training!! Whew! I remember when we lived here and I opened the front door because someone had knocked and out Lady darted. I spent then next 45 minutes chasing her down in the  car …we’d pull up to her, get out of the car to go get her and she thought it was a game and would put her butt up in the air until you just got to her and then would dart off again! When we finally got her back in the house she spent the rest of the day in the bathroom. That day I determined that we either had to get this under control or find a new home for her because I couldn’t keep chasing around a dog every single day! We got it under control! 🙂

Lady was a lot of fun and a lot of frustration when she was a puppy….but what a great dog she turned out to be. Once we learned how to train her and once she started obeying the rules of the house, it was a perfect fit! We had a cat named Katy at this time…she and Lady were good friends :).

We rescued Katy from Pet’s Mart (shelter animals). They said she was born without a tail. Whether that was true or not, Katy only had a stub of a tail and we’ll never know exactly why. She was a sweet kitty and we loved her too.

Lady also liked to go to the beach with us or really anywhere with us 🙂 Good thing we liked to camp as Lady loved to be outdoors with us!

Once we moved to Florida and lived near a bombing range we realized that Lady was deathly afraid of the bombs, thunderstorms, fireworks…anything that made loud noises. She would shake and try to get up on  your lap. We always thought it was so funny that this buff doggy whose chief goal was to guard her family and her property was so afraid of loud noises :).

We got a second dog named Jazmin. Jazmin and Lady were great friends from the very start! They used to play together nonstop in the back yard. So we had a cat named Katy and two dogs, Lady and Jazmin. Then we got some bunnies – one for each kid….Chip’s bunny was Prince (a black bunny), Vanessa’s bunny was New York (a gray bunny), and Jenny’s bunny was Snicker’s (a brown & tan floppy earred bunny). Lady and Jazmin were outside playing and suddenly we realized that Jazmin was chasing something and suddenly it stopped. Lady went over and stood over top of this animal (whatever it was) and would not let Jazmin come near it. As we took a closer look at what Lady was protecting we realized that Jenny’s bunny, Snickers, had gotten out of it’s cage and Jazmin was having a great time chasing it all over the yard. Well, I guess God designed bunnies to have a heart attack if they were chased too much … probably for their protection since they are food for many animals….and Lady was now guarding a dead bunny. What a good girl Lady was to guard the bunny from Jazmin, even if it was now dead. That was a very sad day for Jenny. Fortunately, New York had babies and Jenny got new little bunny :).

L to R: Jazmin, Riley, Joey & Lady 🙂
All posing for the Camera 🙂

Lady has traveled alot with us. She was born in Virginia, moved to Alabama, then to Florida, to Vegas (in an airplane), visited California, then traveled Rt. 66 back to Florida again. We have had many other dogs since Lady arrived at our house….some have stayed with us, some we’ve found other homes for….but she was good to all of them!

Not to mention that she's had some awful haircuts too!!

To name the dogs Lady has had to share her family with – first was Jazmin (who, of course, we kept), then came Jake (a walker hound who lived with us until we found him a home), then came Bear (a beautiful brown lab puppy who we returned to his owners). Then we adopted Riley & Joey (pictured above). Then we found Tegan (a Plott Hound who lived with us for about 6+ months before she went to live with my sister in Tennessee). Lady was a little older when we found Tegan and could not tolerate Tegan trying to steal her rawhide, but other than that….she tolerated her :). If you want to see the story that resulted from Tegan stealing Lady’s rawhide read this in my blog:  Good Morning Sunshine :)))) and then here: Sad Sad Day… and finally the results of being persistent in protection of your dog: Good Thing I’m a Leo 😉 . Lady has had quite the adventures :).

This is Tegan –

So in honor of our sweet, fiesty, wonderful Lady I wanted write this particular blog about her and how much joy and love she brought into our life! She loved loved loved to cuddle and I loved loved loved to cuddle right back! You live on in our hearts, Lady….we will never forget you! There is a day lilly growing on top of your grave whose flower will be red to memorialize your firey personality and the deep deep love that you had for your family and we have for you! We love you Lady Diana Van Patten and miss you dearly! ❤

These pictures were taken on March 9th right before Lady’s final walk down our street:

I’d like to close this blog with this story of a little girl who lost her doggie and decided to write a letter to God….

Our 14-year-old dog Abbey died last month. The day after she passed away my 4-year-old daughter Meredith was crying and talking about how much she missed Abbey. She asked if we could write a letter to God so that when Abbey got to heaven, God would recognize her. I told her that I thought we could so, and she dictated these words:Dear God,Will you please take care of my dog? She died yesterday and is with you in heaven. I miss her very much. I am happy that you let me have her as my dog even though she got sick.

I hope you will play with her. She likes to swim and play with balls. I am sending a picture of her so when you see her you will know that she is my dog. I really miss her.

Love, Meredith

We put the letter in an envelope with a picture of Abbey and Meredith and addressed it to God/Heaven. We put our return address on it. Then Meredith pasted several stamps on the front of the envelope because she said it would take lots of stamps to get the letter all the way to heaven. That afternoon she dropped it into the letter box at the post office. A few days later, she asked if God had gotten the letter yet. I told her that I thought He had.

Yesterday, there was a package wrapped in gold paper on our front porch addressed, ‘To Meredith’ in an unfamiliar hand. Meredith opened it. Inside was a book by Mr. Rogers called, ‘When a Pet Dies.’ Taped to the inside front cover was the letter we had written to God in its opened envelope. On the opposite page was the picture of Abbey & Meredith and this note:

Dear Meredith,

Abbey arrived safely in heaven. Having the picture was a big help and I recognized her right away.

Abbey isn’t sick anymore. Her spirit is here with me just like it stays in your heart. Abbey loved being your dog. Since we don’t need our bodies in heaven, I don’t have any pockets to keep your picture in so I am sending it back to you in this little book for you to keep and have something to remember Abbey by.

Thank you for the beautiful letter and thank your mother for helping you write it and sending it to me. What a wonderful mother you have. I picked her especially for you. I send my blessings every day and remember that I love you very much. By the way, I’m easy to find. I am wherever there is love.

Love, God

XOXO 🙂

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This entry was posted in adventures, Beloved Pets, dogs, Family, Friends, Life and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Lady Diana Van Patten August 7, 1997 – March 9, 2012

  1. The story of the little girl brought a tear to my eyes. Thank you for sharing Lady with us.

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