When I was twelve we decided to get another dog, we already had a half-crazy Dachshund given to us by my violin teacher when he and his family moved to Canada. I can't recall how the choice fell on a Groenendael but we were decided when we saw an ad for some Belgian puppies in a local paper. There was never any question about which gender to get as Niki did not get along at all with male dogs. When we went to pick her up on our second visit Vinje, her breeder, brought us a beautiful little girl saying "this is the one for you!" And there can be no question about him making the right choice; some dogs are just very special and she was definitely one of those! Dibah was exeptionally affectionate towards people, espescially children whom she loved. She could be skittish and jumpy when it came to sharp or loud sounds, and was perhaps not the toughest girl around, but children could suddendly appear out of nowhere making tons of noise without her batting an eyelash. Dogs where another matter, she had several negative experiences as a puppy with loose, agressive dogs and this made her quite insecure, espescially when it came to dogs bigger than her.
Dibah was the whole family's joy and we often joked about her being my mother's third child. She was my father's constant companion, espescially when he had to go on long walks because of a back injury. At night she slept in my room (sneaking into my bed more often than not), and she was a big part of my life from age 12 til 26. She was a very healthy girl with exception of an infection in her uterus for which she needed surgery. She also needed an operation for calcific deposits in her hindquarters during her later years, and she had to swim to get her strength back (something she did *not* appreciate. The next year went well but during autumn 07 her hind legs again lost their spring. She had great problems jumping onto the couch, and as time went on she almost couldn't get up the stairs. On December 7th it finally got bad enough that it would be impossible to keep her going while alowing her to maintain a good quality life. That day was probably one of the worst of my life, we not only lost our special girl but we also had a really bad experience at the vet. It was not the way I wanted to say goodbye, though of course nothing could have made it easy. 14 years is a good age for a dog but at the same time feels much too short.
Dibah was the dog that made it so that there couldn't be anything but a Belgian for us, she was a wonderful girl who would not be kept apart when there were people around. She was a very vocal girl who would "talk" along when she felt like it, she'd grin the way Belgians do and put her head in your lap when she'd decided it was about time she get some cuddles!
We miss her.