Friday, January 31, 2020

Nora's legacy: love, laughter, joie de vivre and lessons to us humans

Cookie cuddles not quite year-old Nick and Nora, after a bath in Davis, California. They were born there, September, 2005 


The Yorkshire terrier's small size belies its personality: energetic, spirited, domineering. Yorkies are affectionate. They love attention, a good choice for one who wants to dote on a dog with tenacious personality. Beneath the glossy coat beats the heart of a feisty terrier.--AKC's "Dog Breeds, What Dog For Me?"

Nora stayed in many hotels in her life, here the Omni
Los Angeles. She and Nick were also frequent fliers.
SINCE NORA left us two days ago, we've been touched by loving emails, phone calls, notes on our door. Anyone who has experienced loss feels our pain. Apparently this sweet pup touched many hearts.
Endearing, adorable Nick and Nora entered my life nearly 15 years ago, three days after my husband Billy died. His last act during hospice in our Arizona home was to cart his IV into our office to print out the profile of Yorkshire terrier, attached to his hand-written note:
"Cookie, this is the dog for you.  Two will fit in a dog carrier. Yorkies are your canine equivalent."  He passed the next morning, Nov. 11, 2005, unaware that six weeks earlier, in Davis, Calif., Yorkies Duchess and Duke became the parents of four pups.
My sister Robbie had spirited me off to her Davis home to await Billy's ashes. The year had not been kind.  Besides the recurrence of Bill's cancer, we lost all four of our elderly dogs and my dad Richard died.
Our great-niece, Peny, was one of many kids
to love Nora; always, she patiently acquiesced.

TO BE DOGLESS for the first time in my life, and to lose both my father and second husband, was a heavy burden.  Wise Billy knew
Lifelong love of dogs
I'd need the comfort of canine companionship.
Cookie, Nick and Nora at Torrey Pines,
a daily ritual after Jazzercise.
That Monday morning, sis and I walked her two labs to a nearby park.  A neighbor was playing fetch with his Yorkie.  I petted Charlie and it buoyed my spirits.  Then sis went off to work where she forwarded an in-house email from a colleague. "Two Yorkshire terrier puppies need adoption."
The rest, as they say, is history.  My sis, niece Amarylla and her fiance Steve along with great-niece Lucy, met the Yorkies that evening. It was a crazy, loving home with accordions in the living room. My niece's musical fiance, Steve, picked one up. I played a piano tune. We admired and held the pups -- tiny, about six inches long, completely black, less than a pound.
Their mother nearly died giving birth and the pups were delivered by Cesarean.   Their lovely colors slowly evolved in their first two years, when I met and fell in love with Bruce William Keller.  His beloved Yorkie, Miss Molly, was his constant companion during his college days at San Diego State Good gig, our dog's life
 William Powell and Myrna
Loy played Nick and Nora
Charles in "The Thin Man,"
inspiring the pups' names. 
University. She was named after the Creedence Clearwater rendition of "Good Golly  Miss Molly" so Keller already loved the breed.  He and the pups quickly bonded and we had many happy times together from Santa Barbara to Boston. Thankful for those memories, I offer Nora's obituary:
NORA CHARLES Jones Meyers crossed the Rainbow Bridge Jan. 29, 2020, after 14-plus years of defying death and enriching lives of her grateful and humbled human companions.  Nora lived large.  Her world was filled with travel, adventure and exotic treats collected by her parents on global travels.
Cookie shares ice cream -- their favorite strawberry.
She and her twin brother, Nick, were named after those flamboyant fictional characters created by Dashiell Hammett in his novel, "The Thin Man" and made famous by Hollywood. The movie personae were dapper, clever characters, favorites of Cookie, who interviewed the Nora actor, fellow Montanan Myrna Loy. Like their eponyms, Yorkies Nick and Nora were a charming, dashing couple.  They downed Greenies and
Yorkie day trippers
Nick and Nora stayed in hundreds
of hotels, here the Ashland Springs
during an annual Shakespeare trek. 

rawhide treats instead of martinis but possessed the same flair and allure of the Hollywood couple.
Nick and Nora are all eyes to the sky in Santa Barbara.
Intrepid and curious explorers, they looked the grim reaper in the eye numerous times, winked at him and sent him packing. Nora lost her spleen in a vicious attack by three off-leash dogs in an Arizona park. She survived a run-in with a wheelchair, and an attack by a ranch dog who mistook her attempts to play as an infringement. The pair bounced back after a fall from a second-story balcony while chasing squirrels. Nora nursed Nick through recovery from a rattlesnake bite that left him nearly blind in his left eye.
Nick and Nora preferred warmer climes but played in Montana's snowstorms.

Cookie Meyers sailing with Nick and Nora on San Diego Bay.

Bruce Keller with Nick and Nora at Oceanside Harbor.
THEY DEVELOPED an abiding love of culture but despite exposure to highbrow activities -- classical music concerts, art museums, Shakespeare festivals, foreign film marathons -- their tastes included Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton and Lyle Lovett.  They wagged their tales to "How Much Is That Doggie In the Window" by Patti Page.  Their "top ten" recordings also included Cat Stevens' "I Love My Dog," and Baha Men's "Who Let the Dogs Out?" They insisted Ed Sheeran's song, "Shape of You," was written for his Yorkie, not his girlfriend.
They accompanied their parents to seven Tony Bennett concerts, including two with Lady Gaga. In short, their artistic bent mirrored that of their mum and dad:  eclectic, universal, diversified.
They were also a beloved fixture at plays, writing workshops, yoga class, interviews, shopping treks and Jazzercise. They snoozed patiently on couches or in the Explorer between acts, jaunts and intervals.
Nora was amused but puzzled when people compared her to "Star Trek's" Chewbacca. She tolerated observations that "You two look like a pair of koala bears." ("Humans mean well," she told her bewildered brother, reminding him that the koala is a marsupial not a bear, and that the taste of eucalyptus is over-rated.)
Nora loved a good road trip to visit cousins, aunties, uncles and admirers in Mendocino, Atlanta, San Francisco, Phoenix, New York, Las Vegas and New Orleans.  Her friends included a gifted Israeli painter who captured the pups on canvas, and fellow Yorkie devotees, a delightful English couple who visited them in Montana.
  Nora and Nick logged over 125,000 airline miles and listened to their mother's endless exasperation when the airlines refused to boost her own mileage tally or establish their own account. "Thank you for your humorous letter, but we must deny your request for miles on behalf of Nick and Nora's travel," wrote a customer service agent.

Kindly Joe Rosenberg DVM came to our home
Tuesday, to help Nora cross the Rainbow Bridge
and console her sad parents and brother Nick.
NORA SLOWED down during her last months but still kissed and cuddled. Her parents cut short a trip to be with her on New Years Day when her dog sitter -- worried at her lack of appetite -- took her to her San Diego vet.  A loving neighbor cared for her while we flew home then she spent a week in UC Davis Veterinary Hospital's ICU, enduring tube feedings, IVs and prodding by well meaning personnel who struggled day and night to save her from hopeless kidney failure, They bought us brief, precious time with our cherished friend.
Declining food, including her favorite strawberry ice cream, was the death knell for Nora. She'd early on developed a reputation for robust consumption of appetizers ranging from  turkey droppings and deer scat to carcasses of unidentifiable roadkill. ("I may be dressed for black tie dinner, but I do love to snack," she said.)
When she could no longer walk-- and she loved to hear that word-- we decided to help her.
She passed peacefully with a house call from compassionate vet, Dr. Joe Rosenberg, who consoled Nicky while we wept. We say farewell, not good-bye, and whisper "Ah, dear Nora. You sleep forever in a special corner of our hearts." Her ashes rest in an urn described thus: "Nora: she lived life to her Yorkie fullest." Go In Peace is recommended for its compassionate end-of-life care, complete with a ceramic paw print and a lovely wooden box for precious ashes.
 Dr. Joe Rosenberg:

Cookie and Keller brought Nick and Nora to dog-friendly
Bohemian Bus Beautiful recently in Mendocino County.

  It's a bus like no other you've seen, a lodging unlike any you've enjoyed. Bohemian Bus Beautiful in the lovely coastal woods of northern California is a dog-friendly get-away where artist and writer Blake More runs an inspired air bnb. Her fanciful artwork includes collage, sculpture, painting, mosaic, fiber work, a garden with lights and many magical touches. Even the bathroom and outdoor shower are treasure troves of unique artwork accented by nature. Each space has something to admire, ponder and appreciate. Remember to explore, learn and live and catch us Fridays for a fresh look at travel, nature and the arts:


  1. Quite simply wonderful! Tears across the pond.

  2. Florida Dog FanciersJanuary 31, 2020 at 11:47 PM

    Splendid eulogy for a prince of a pup.

  3. Such a pretty girl. Give her sweet brother special love and attention.

  4. Louisiana Yorkie OwnersFebruary 2, 2020 at 1:35 PM

    Starting our day with a coffee and a cry. So sorry but grateful for a grand piece of writing and cherished photos.

  5. We love this piece. May we use it in an appeal for adoption? (Our local shelter is having a fundraisee and push.... please text me your email and i will send you more info. A truly heartfelt piece.

  6. Wonderful wonderful-- full of love and light. And hope.

  7. Nora and Nick had the best parents. Thank you for your love for them. We need more.people like you.