Mango--The Happy Pomeranian
It began as an ordinary day. It was Friday, March 29, 2002. It was the day that we happened to meet an adorable 3-pound Pomeranian puppy. Her fur was a fluffy, soft blonde with hints of orangesicle cream. The orange of her parents and the cream and white in her family line gave her soft, light fur. Her color was officially registered by the breeder as cream. With attentive chestnut brown eyes, blonde eyelashes, a cute-as-a-button black nose, a little curled up tail that flipped over her back, and gentle foxy features, she was, simply, adorable. She was watching us from behind the display glass at a local pet store in Carlsbad, California. More specifically, she was watching the man who decided on that evening to take her home to be his puppy.
It was all unplanned, really. Therese had a quick errand to run at the mall after work. Kerry came along, and as he usually did when passing by the pet store in the mall, he stopped to look at puppies while Therese continued down a few stores. (Normally, he would never hold the puppies to avoid feeling attached.) He slowly walked by the puppies in the display windows. After a few minutes Therese returned and noticed that the little female Pom at eye-level was intently watching Kerry after he had moved passed her window. "She's trying to get your attention," said Therese. Kerry turned around and came back to look at the Pom, quietly staring into her eyes. "I want to hold her," he said. And Therese knew then that their life was about to change.
Kerry had been dreaming about getting a puppy for years. He had been thinking about it more seriously in recent weeks. The time now seemed like it might be right. But, of course, when the time was really right he would contact a reputable Sheltie breeder. Those plans quickly faded when the pet store employee brought the tiny, blonde Pom from the back and placed her near Kerry's feet. She wiggled and smiled her tiny, Pomeranian smile and excitedly begged for attention as if Kerry was the greatest person on Earth. In no time at all the tiny, blonde Pom won over his heart. One of Kerry's fondest memories is that evening as we drove home from the pet store with his puppy in his arms as she trembled a little in the darkness of the car. He decided there in the car that the name he had picked out long before would fit her just fine--Mango.
Mango Jam was born on January 7, 2002, far from the places that became her homes. From a professional breeder to a pet distributor in Missouri, the Hunte Corporation, tiny Mango traveled in a customized truck from the Midwest to a pet store on the West Coast. Mango's mother was Darlin' Sandra and her father was Little Alto. With a four-generation pedigree, we also know the names of Mango's grandparents, great-grandparents, and great-great-grandparents. She was born with two littermates. She never returned to her birthplace. She chose her new pack--her new family--in a California pet store. She was "rescued" from the pet store window, and the adventures began.
Mango was an adventurous Pom! She loved to walk, and even though she was small, she could walk with purpose for miles. Fortunately, we love to walk, too. So, the three of us walked more miles together over the past 17 years than we could possibly count. We walked around parks, up and down steep hills and small hills, through the crunchy leaves at the university, along the coast and beaches of southern California, in the desert, in the tropical air of Florida, in the woods and around lakeshores of Minnesota, and countless other places in between. With four (yes, four!) road trips across the country from California to Florida, Mango experienced more sights, smells and sounds of the world around her than many people. On those trips she would pop up from her nap to look out the window nearly every time she heard the turn signal of the car. She was always so curious to see where we were going next! And although it was not her favorite mode of travel, Mango accompanied us on multiple airplane flights while tucked snuggly in her carrier in the cabin with us. When she ran, she ran with such enthusiasm! Her little legs moved amazingly fast with her curled tail flying freely behind her. Chasing the rabbits into the bushy hideaways along the university path or speeding out onto the dock at Discovery Lake to bark at the ducks were some of her favorite pastimes. We are certain her dreams, which sometimes woke us at night as we heard her little legs kicking in her kennel beside our bed, were filled with these happy adventures.
Mango reminds us of valuable lessons:
* Happily greet your loved ones with a smile. Mango was unfailingly happy to see us when we returned home. She never showed even a hint of disinterest. And she knew from our routine when we were home for the night. Then she'd zoom around ready to play because her pack was all back together again. She was always happy to see us, even if we had only stepped out for a few minutes, and her greetings will be so sorely missed.
* Chase after what really excites you! Mango was thrilled to chase after a tennis ball on a tennis court. With her Pomeranian smile she would eagerly wait like a spring about to pop when she saw that a ball would be launched across the court. Then she'd speed into action with glee in her eyes and tail flying to chase after the big yellow balls. (Returning the balls, however, was not her strong point.) If only we would all go after our delights with such enthusiasm!
* Eat your veggies! This little dog would spin with excitement for a raw baby carrot and pieces of peeled cucumbers. They were regular treats that she never turned her nose to, but she would wait with enthusiasm for a cool, crunchy treat (or pop up from rest if she heard chopping in the kitchen that might be her veggie treats). She also happily ate little pieces of sweet green peppers and sweet (not tart) apples. We're certain that her taste for raw veggies throughout her life led to her long-lived vigor and her bright eyes until the last.
* Enjoy simple pleasures. Mango enjoyed curling up on the balcony to enjoy an afternoon nap while feeling the breeze and soaking in the sun. Spending almost her entire life in the temperate climate and sunny days of southern California meant that she learned the joy of this simple pleasure when she was still a pup. We used to smile to see her basking contentedly in the warm, fresh air. She was quick to snuggle on the couch with her favorite people. And although she liked napping on cool sheets of paper, like the slick paper of open textbooks, her favorite bedding was freshly laundered cotton sheets.
* Do your best to bounce back after the difficult days. Mango had some tough days, too. Like the time she spent days in a full leg cast following knee surgery to repair a congenital condition common in Poms. We have a photo of her resting days after the surgery with her leg encased in a cast, her pink skin stapled underneath it. She's still smiling with her head up and those attentive eyes looking ready for fun. The metal pin remained in her knee the rest of her long life, but once she healed it didn't stop her from running like the wind and taking the walks she loved.
* Stay curious. There's always something new to sniff out, someone new to meet, and new places to see and explore.
* Don't tolerate mean cats. Enough said.
Mango reminds us that even a long life feels much too short when it's time to say goodbye. Saying goodbye to Mango was one of the hardest days of our life. Our heads told us that we needed to let her go due to her failing kidneys and the symptoms she felt, but our hearts wanted to hold on to her. She was still so adorable at 17. Kerry made the dreaded call. On Monday, January 28, 2019, she slipped into sleep in Kerry's arms while we stroked her and told her that she is a good girl. It's a terrible feeling. Our hearts ache for our special little one. We are so sad, and we deeply miss her presence. But we are comforted and find peace in knowing that Mango received our love and affection and care in abundance--along with an abundance of exercise and adventures. She brought us so many smiles! Her little paw prints have left their tracks on our hearts. The day we carried her home in 2002 began as an ordinary day, but the day we said goodbye was no ordinary day. What a special creature she has been--the happy Pomeranian named Mango Jam.
Over the past 17 years many people have helped us to care for Mango. We want to express our sincere gratitude and appreciation to the veterinarians and veterinary technicians who cared for Mango over the years. We especially want to thank Dr. Betty Hall, Dr. Terri Dolorico, and the staff at Canyon Creek Animal Hospital in Carlsbad, CA. They cared for Mango most of her life. We thank the doctors and staff at Veterinary Surgical Specialists, Black Mountain Road Pet Clinic, and Drs. Alger, Hartman, and Silverstein and staff at Heritage Animal Hospital in Maple Grove, MN. We extend a special thank you to Dr. Kerri Lockwood at Chiropractic for Everybody in Roseville, MN for helping Mango with neck and back pain in 2018. We are grateful for the kindness and strength of Dr. Marie Louderback for coming to our aid on the hardest day of our life with Mango--saying goodbye in a calm and quiet setting amidst our tears and emotional pain. Thank you to Melanie and Skip and others at Pets Remembered Cremation Services for providing care, a calm and quiet setting, and the opportunity to share Mango's story here. Other emergency veterinarians and technicians cared for Mango over the years. Thank you all for your compassionate work on behalf of our little one. Please know that it means a great deal to us.
Mango met countless dogs over the years, but we want to acknowledge a few of her special doggie friends: Joey, Penny, Romeo, Sweet Pea, Willow, and Wilson
We thank our family and dear friends who welcomed Mango into their lives, pet her little head and soft fur, accepted her wispy licks, gave her the attention she wanted from people, listened to our stories about Mango, and didn't complain when they left our car or our home with soft, blonde fluff clinging to their clothes. (We expect to find that soft fluff in our vacuum and on our clothes for a long time to come.) A number of you kindly and graciously accepted Mango-sitting responsibilities when we traveled or were gone for long days. We are especially grateful to Grandma Ena, Uncle Ken and Auntie Sheryl, Auntie Kathleen, Roy and Bonnie F., the Nugents, "Auntie" Dawn D., Katelyn P., and Brittany M. for your willing and kind care of Mango.
Thank you to Pets Remembered Cremation Services for making a contribution in memory of Mango Jam to the Can Do Canines Assistance Dogs organization. (www.can-do-canines.org)
Mango Jam (aka, Mango and "sweetie") lived a happy life with love and adventure from January 7, 2002 - January 28, 2019. There are so many stories about this "good girl" that we will cherish in our memory always. If you want to share a Mango memory or story here, we will include it in the memory book that we will create. Thank you for reading her story and comforting us. - Kerry & Theres
"I absolutely remember your beautiful girl being quite sassy and silly. She is one of my earliest memories at Canyon Creek Animal Hospital! Wishing you love and support at this sad time. May fond memories of Mango surround you always and help mend your broken hearts. Much love! Dr. D :) "