Posted by: notsofancynancy | July 10, 2012

The Dogs Who Loved Me Series, How Trouble Saved My Life

How Trouble Saved My Life


The year was 1981; I had just come out of an eight year relationship that was not only abusive, but also included a heavy drug addiction. I had hit rock bottom. There was three months of lonely solitude. I was depressed and not eating. I dropped to 118 pounds on my 5’10 frame. I was in so much emotional pain I didn’t think I would live and really I did not even care if I did. I knew in order to survive that I would need to make some changes in my life. Then on September 16th of that year I woke with an idea. Being my birthday I would go to the dog pound and bring home a new friend, this would be my birthday present. It would be my way of starting over, a clean slate.

I arrived at the pound and went inside to see what was available. In the first cage I came to was this little tiny dog. She was white with brown spots. Her legs were so short that her back end had to sit like you would if you were sitting side saddle. She had one ear that was “broken” and one ear that stood straight up. Her brown eyes were the saddest eyes I have ever seen. She was adorable and at once I knew this is why I had come. I didn’t want to dismiss the other dogs there after all I had only looked into the one cage. As I walked from pen to pen my mind kept going back to that first little pup. I rushed through the rest of the kennel and back to that first cage becoming so afraid and a little panicky that someone might take her before I could get back. Twenty minutes later I walked out to my car with my new friend.

Two days after I got home the little pup got sick. I took her to the Vet and he gave me medication for her and told me to get some children’s cherry cough syrup, I could also offset her coughing by getting her into the bathroom with the hot water running to produce steam, thereby breaking up the congestion in her chest. He gave her a fifty-fifty chance to live. SHE NEEDED ME!!!  I decided not to name my small friend, in case she didn’t make it.

I spent every hour of the next few weeks by her side. Her coat under her throat was red from the cough syrup. She coughed a lot, so much that it was hard for her to catch her breath. I thought she was going to die. I would hold her and rub her neck hopping to calm the cough. Finally the third week she started to get better. I was so wrapped up in her that I had forgotten my own problems. I knew in order for her to survive I would have to be healthy and so I started to take better care of myself. It took a full two months until she was well enough to be a puppy. My little friend would make it!! I was ecstatic!! It was then I realized that I too would make it. I had put on five pounds and was on the road to recovery. I would name my friend Trouble that is what her name would be.

That was 32 years ago.  My best friend passed away in August of 1999 at the age of 19.  Trouble provided me with many years of companionship, and helped me through many rough times.  She was always there when I needed a shoulder to cry on.  She was always there with her funny antics and cute tricks, and she did a lot. For instance you would give her the command to jump up and while in the air I would shoot her, “Bang.” She would fall to the ground with her tail wagging. Then you would say “Dead dogs don’t wag their tails,” and she would lie still, acting dead. She had many other tricks but this was my favorite.

She loved me unconditionally, without any questions.  I really believe that if it wasn’t for her I would have just given up, because until she came into my life it had no meaning.

I know she will be waiting at Rainbow Bridge, and I can’t wait to meet her and cross that bridge holding my little friend close to my heart.  I miss you Trouble!

Trouble was cremated and her ashes are memorialized on a hill top overlooking the desert she loved, with a friend named Sideshow Bob who passed before her.  I made a rock headstone that says,

Trouble’s Headstone

Bob and Trouble were buddies, good friends, Watch over her Bob,  until were together again. Rest In Peace Trouble 1981-1999.


  1. Trouble was a blessing indeed. What a beautiful story.

    • Thank you! I wrote this about five years after she passed and only had to update it. It has been a lot longer than it feels. She was the hardest to loose, not that they get easier, your heart just gets bigger.

  2. An incredibly written story on someone so dear to you. Gotta wipe my eyes…

  3. That made me cry. So sweet and sad.

    • Awe sorry! She was a special dog.

      • The pain of losing our Rosie is still near the surface even tho we put her down almost 4 years ago.

      • Someone explained the loss as being like a pot hole. You eventually learn how to avoid the pot hole and automatically go around it, but every once in a while you may be distracted and hit the pot hole once again. Then you remember and are once again more conscious of the hole once again. i am not sure if that makes any sense now but it did when she told me. lol

      • It made perfect sense. Another blogger put down their 12-year-old lab and wrote about it. Bam. I was crying. I replied to her and she responded. Bam. Crying again. I am a sap when it comes to dogs. The pothole is a good analogy. Or is it a metaphor? I can never remember the difference.

      • lol not sure either!

  4. WOW.

    • Is that a good Wow? or a Bow-wow? lol

      • That’s a WOW BOW. Tee Hee. Maybe there outta be a word like, “WOL” Wow Out Loud. (It’s a good thing!)

      • WOL!

  5. I just wonder if they know just how much they do for us? Nancy this is such a beautiful entry, thank you for sharing it with us. (((HUGS)))

    • I think God knows and always in on us getting the right dog for us. Thank you for stopping my sweet soul sister.

  6. Waaahhhh!!!! I love dog stories and that is beautiful. My Dad used to pose the question, “Do dogs need humans or do humans need dogs?” He and I thought that Humans need Dogs.

    • I know I for one NEED dogs! Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Where’s the Kleenex?! Beautiful story. I expect to be met by a pack at the Rainbow Bridge some day… 😉 Trouble will live in your heart forever.

    • Thank you for you kind words and yes I will have a pack too! I have finally gotten to where I do not cry every time I read this story and I wrote it. lol Thanks for stopping by!

  8. . . . So lovely your shared story that I’m in tears-they are tears of joy and sorrow and hope all of that goes along with trouble eh– I want my Moma well and I miss my Ossie too!

    Also, I read (I think) that Queenie is also a bit under the weather. I am feeling the throws of a Fibro flare– also weather driven from hell hot temps to rainy days w/a breeze– this old body knows not what to do

    You’re an awesome writer Sistah Friend and I, like you, was rescued by a pooch– have lived and not cared or wanted to but all of my grief has served me well~~ back to life & thriving again! My great-grandmother was right: all that does not kill us makes us far stronger than we dare to dream. . .

    • Thanks for stopping by Sweet Soul Sister! We are bless and I am so glad you are my sister friend. I heard from the queen herself and as you have said she is not feeling well. It got to 119 today and I am setting in front of the fan trying to stay cool! Thank for stopping by dear friend!

  9. That story was so touching. It reminds me of my old dogs Angel and Bella who died not so long ago. Pets are truly a wonderful thing, aren’t they?

    • We are certainly blessed to have them in our lives! We are really lucky!

  10. 🙂

  11. Such a touching and beautiful piece as always.

    • Thanks it mean a lot to hear that! God bless

  12. Our God is an awesome God! He knows exactly what we need! He knew your love of animals and where it would lead in the future! =) Trouble and Bob are romping around in heaven with the little children who are all waiting for us someday! Thank you for sharing Nancy! God bless!!

    • Thank you once again for your support Linda! It always mean a lot to me for you to take the time to read and comment on my posts. God Bless sister friend!

  13. What a lovely story – We have always had dogs, and I understand how you feel. Rainbow Bridge will be full of dogs welcoming their friends home. Thank you for sharing and for warming my heart! Blessings – Patty

  14. I am so glad you shared how this precious pup brought you through some incredibly tough emotional and physical healing! How smart of you, though, to follow your gut to the animal shelter and bring home a companion. You needed each other! What a wonderful little friend. Debra

    • How smart of God to put that thought in my mind!

      Thanks Debra

  15. Such a beautiful story – you two were made for each other weren’t you? Thank you for sharing! x

    • Thanks for reading! and yes she was my soul mate!

  16. That’s so awesome you had Trouble for 19 years. That trick would have really been something to see, I was trying to laugh and cry at the same time. I suppose saying good bye is the cost of all that joy and love they give while they’re ours. I remember asking my Dad once “why do we die?”, and he said “death is what gives life meaning”. I get it now.

    • I have never heard that and I love it!!! “Death is what gives life meaning.” Awesome!

      A friend (?) also taught her “what do bad girls in Hollywood do?” and she would roll over on her back with all legs spread. I did not like that trick but others thought it was funny. She had many other tricks too.

  17. A beautiful story Nancy, that would make every dog loving owner cry. I can absolutly relate. Dogs only give love and more love, it angers me when I see people hurt their dogs. I wanted to give you a huge hug on getting out of that abusive relationship and realising just how much you are loved and life is so worth living. I know you know that now but still, I am happy to have “met” you and share in your stories. You are a beautiful soul. Hugs xx

    • Thank you so much. I cannot tell you how much your words mean to me! Hugs, back!

  18. A beautiful and thought provoking post Nancy. Bless that little dog for bringing you out of your “troubles”. A good message for so many others to give love so that they can receive love.

    • Thank you so much and what a great way to look at it. God Bless

  19. Thank you for sharing this story and I’m so glad for your return to health. And I’m so glad that Trouble appeared just when you needed her and she needed you. Blessing abound!

    • I kind of feel like it was God’s plan. Thanks for the wonderful comment!

  20. Nancy
    You and I could write a book about love and pain and the dogs we adore but more so the ones who loved their Mommy’s

    I sit here in tears reading your posts I am afraid to sit and write MY Story afraid the tears will never stop again. I am so tired of the feeling of loss myself mostly. I rad about your Dad but will now check the rest of your OLD blogs out and find strength from them. We are survivors . You are always so kind to LIKE my posts and I just had made time to see how you have been.
    This Blogging world is amazing made of of some wonderful people with such pain and big hearts

  21. What a wonderful story! Dogs make most of us better people and I am so glad you and Trouble found each other. They will have to scrape me off the floor when my Handsome Sweet Boy (Dudley) leaves this world, but I knew it was something I would have to deal with when I got him almost 13 years ago. I keep telling myself all my time with them is worth the grief I will one day face.

    • It is very hard to loose them but there are always others who need adopting. And it is more than worth the grief for all the happiness they give us.

  22. We played the ‘bang, bang’ game with our German Shepherd, Lucky, when I was a teenager. He would roll over on his side, wagging, and my mom would say, “Dead dogs don’t wag their tails!” and he would slowly stop wagging. Thanks for a lovely remembrance!

    • Thank you so much for sharing! I have heard of others pretend shooting their dogs but never another wagging tail. Awesome!

      • I was tickled to hear of someone else doing it, too. I suppose it’s only natural, especially with a tail the size of a German Shepherd’s. Last night, I remembered I got the idea for the game from an old television show, Ironside. In one of the episodes, Ironside plays the bang-bang game with a dog, a German Shepherd, also, if I’m not misremembering. Thank you for a wonderful walk down Memory Lane. I’ll never forget Lucky, but until I read your post, I didn’t remember I got the ‘bang, bang’ game from that show.

      • Ironside is a show Dad always watched I wonder??? lol No I can remember when I was training her she would wag her tail while playing dead and I would have to hold it and tell her “Dead dogs don’t…” I am glad it brings happy memories for both of us.

  23. Beautiful story of a special dog x

  24. I’m so glad you found each other, it was meant to be.

  25. This story brought tears as I read it. The two of you saved each other…what a wonderful story. Trouble lived a long life and I am sure she is watching over you still from the Rainbow Bridge. I could just see her lying in the floor supposed to be playing dead and that little tail wagging like every thing…so cute. Thank you so much sweet Nancy for sharing this great stories of your adorable, special sweeties. Hugs

    • Thank you so much for reading and commenting on my dog series. It is a true testament to how wonderful dogs are and how much they can improve our lives. Kiva is sitting here next to me waiting to go to bed. I feel blessed she came to live with me! God Bless

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