Born: Under a Lucky Star
Died: March 2, 2005
Libby passed away this morning after a brief but serious illness that
threatened to take the joy out of life for her. Libby, a true gourmand,
had cheesecake for dessert last night, slept peacefully, and died with
her boots on during a short morning walk. Her life was a long adventure,
and only now can some of her secrets be shared.
Nobody knows exactly when or where Libby was born, but we do know that
her first real job was assistant navigator to Amelia Earhart and it is
thought she was on that fateful last flight. Presumably this is how
Libby arrived in the islands of Tonga in the South Pacific where she
held a number of positions; most notably as Minister of Satellites.
She got to the Bay Area on a tramp steamer and probably worked in the
kitchen to pay her way. She always felt that it was her job to guard the
refrigerator; perhaps during this period that really was her job.
Judging from her sophisticated tastes, it is likely that she lived in
luxury for a number of years. However, when times got tough she was
forced to live in a junkyard. True to form, she found an abandoned Rolls
Royce and lived there with a small entourage of squirrels and cats.
During these years Libby must have had some close calls. Somewhere she
took a bullet which remained lodged in her ribcage for the rest of her
life. She no doubt spent some time in a state of homelessness because
she eventually wound up at the Fremont animal shelter covered in burrs
and in an emaciated condition. Here's a picture of her from that time:
When Libby came to live with our family, Molly took her under her wing.
Molly was like an older sister showing Libby the ropes. Later, Libby
repaid Molly, by working the tail gunner position on walks; she would
bark like a cannon at any dog that Molly questioned.
But, over time it became apparent that Libby was older and wiser. Libby
would eventually become the elder statesman of our house. She was quite
the Ambassador, and would extend a warm welcome to dogs we would meet.
She helped Molly and Heddy make many friends they might never have
otherwise given a chance.
Libby was also very friendly with frail and elderly people, and enjoyed
meeting everyone at the nursing home where Roland's mother lived. On
walks around San Francisco she counted as friends many homeless people;
no doubt she felt kinship with them.
Like Orson Welles, Libby was a gourmand. She acquired the name
"Margaret" from a man who said she "never missed a meal." Whereas Molly
was a fussy eater, Libby was quite the opposite. She would eat anything;
garbage on the street, pate on the hors d'ouvres tray, ice cream, you
She also loved to take naps and acquired an extensive inventory of
nap-properties around our house. She had her "gondola", a canopy-covered
bed she would often use for serious dreaming. She took over the entire
couch in her last year. She loved to snooze in the sunshine on the patio
after breakfast. If the weather was cold she would snooze under down
blankets. She would snooze on piles of laundry, under tables where we
would spot special pads for her, and she was a great traveler that would
snooze quietly in any car trip.
Libby loved to go for walks. Unlike most dogs, Libby didn't really view
the walk as a turf-building exercise. She enjoyed meeting new people
(who might have biscuits), meeting new dogs (so her hummingbird tail
could wag), and most importantly, each walk offer new opportunities to
get dirty. She was unafraid of dirt; happiest digging a hole, burrowing
into a hedge, or sticking her face into some pile of filth. On occasion,
she would reluctantly submit to a bath, and was a real beauty queen when
groomed. See top picture.
Like W.C. Fields, Libby tolerated children and puppies. Doctors say she
probably had at least one litter. We once saw a dog that could have been
her littermate; but only once. Since that one sighting we have never
seen another dog like Libby. As far was we are concerned she was
March 2, 2005
Roland H. Alden, Jr.