It's odd to consider a dog as a production assistant, but she was always with me when I was recording. When things didn't sound right, she would give me a unyielding, disgusted look and get up to leave the room. If I turned it off, she would sit back down. It meant hit the delete key and start over, or that it wasn't a good day for creativity. She loved to hear me play anything, especially the sitar. Her reactions were of genuine happiness when I pulled out the sitar case, and she would sit at me feet and roll over on her back and go to sleep when I played.
I found her when she was 6 weeks old and it was love at first sight. Part Chow, part Bulldog. She looked like a teddy bear. She never did anything wrong, except for ridding the yard of armadillos in her own extreme way. (And there was this incident with a carpet in that hotel in South Carolina, but we managed to cover up the whole by moving the dresser before we left.) She cost us a lot of money in vet bills over the years. The knee surgery, the thyroid condition, Adisson's disease. But when you looked in those eyes, money didn't matter. Nothing mattered. She had this one trick. "Look cute". She earned her name, Cleo was short for Cleopatra.
In 13 years I trained her to bark when she wanted to go out, and she got really obnoxious sometimes. This loud, relenless, ear piercing bark, when I was getting her leash. She also had this natural talent for being a guard dog. Simply put, if she didn't know you, and you attempted to enter our house holding something in your hand, she would let you know that such things "we're not allowed" in our house. When she was at her prime, if someone visited, they had to pass inspection. There were a few that she wouldn't let it. Once you we're ok in her book, you were always ok.
She became very ill over the past few months, and this past month, she became very week. There was extensive nerve dammage from the shoulders down, and she had lost all feeling on her right side. The kidneys began to shut down, causing serious anemia. We had made the decision that after the weekend, we would take her in Monday and do what dog owners sometimes must do. Friday night, she laid on her bed, which I moved to the living room, and could only drink water. I swear she had a huge smile on her face all night. I woke at 3 am and she had gone to that great doggie heaven. The only place I will be happy with, providing their is an after life.