What do you want to know about my dog?
January 24, 2023 2:09 PM   Subscribe

I lost my long-time companion, and I want to write about her. I'm thinking of writing a little book over the course of this year, answering one question every week. Can you help add to the list of questions?

We spent a decade together, so it seems much too big to just go about it chronologically. I need questions to structure my memories. Ideally, the questions will even help me remember things I've forgotten. What would you ask me to help with this?

Any questions are welcome. Funny or sad is fine. They don't all have to be deep or meaningful or special. I'm just looking for inspiration. Of course, questions that are just answerable with yes/no or a couple of sentences don't work so well. I'd like to fill a few pages with every answer.

Thank you very much, this is important for m grieving process, and I appreciate your help!
posted by toucan to Pets & Animals (21 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I think this is such a lovely idea! You might want to take a look at Storyworth, to see whether it might give you inspiration as well.

Some questions that I would want to think about if this project were about my own beloved lost pet:
In what ways did her personality change from puppyhood/youth to her older age?
How was she most like a person, and how was she most like a dog?
Who were the people she loved the most? Who were the dogs she loved the most?
What was her most special way of taking care of you? What did she love the most about the ways you took care of her?
What was an odd quirk or habit that you realized was hilarious to explain to other people? (I had to teach my dog the phrase "it's not real" for when doorbells rang on TV!)
What are some of the trips you took together?
Describe what her perfect day would be like, from her perspective.
How did you know when it was time to let go?
How did you first meet her or know she was the dog for you?
posted by neutralhydrogen at 2:18 PM on January 24 [5 favorites]

What did your dog do that made you think they knew more than they could say? About you, humans or the world?
posted by Emmy Rae at 2:18 PM on January 24 [2 favorites]

I made a list a few years ago of my dogs favorite things. Favorite snacks, favorite places to lie down, favorite places for scritches, favorite toys, favorite smells, favorite noises, favorite things to pee on... There's good data there and it makes me smile to picture him enjoying everything on the list, from goat cheese to the neighbor's landscaping rock.
posted by phunniemee at 2:39 PM on January 24 [2 favorites]

What did she do that got her in the most trouble (with you or with others)? Did she know she was guilty?
posted by Mchelly at 2:47 PM on January 24 [1 favorite]

I'm sorry for your loss.

Describe the day you got your dog in as much detail as possible.
What was your dog afraid of? How did you comfort her?
What were your dogs nicknames and theme songs, or what songs did you sing to or about her?
Who were your dog's second favorite people and what did she do with them?
What was your dog's biggest adventure?
What did your dog dream about?
posted by kochenta at 2:52 PM on January 24

Can you describe a time you watched her figure something out?

Did you learn some non-verbal communication from her that you can apply to your relationships with humans?
posted by amtho at 2:59 PM on January 24

A sympathetic paw to you and your memories.

What did she look like? A rug, a pillow, a piece of clothing? What other animal would she have been? What was her status in relation to other animals or people? Did she like water, swimming, baths? Sleeping in the sun, running in circles, chasing things, snoozing on furniture? Did she try to eat things off your plate when you weren't looking? Did she try to get into the food stash, was she successful? What life changes did you both go through together?
posted by winesong at 3:44 PM on January 24

What did she like to play?
What did she like to play on her own?
What did she not like to eat?
How did she react when there was an urgent situation?
Did she make sounds when she slept, or movements?
Did she have a favourite sleeping spot/blanket?
How much drool was there?
How did her coat feel?
Was she clever with her paws? Did she scratch unintentionally?
Were the problems with her grabbing stuff and trying to eat it ever? Even outside if there was a delicious dead bird on the sidewalk?
What made her content?
How did she prick her ears? How did she stand and what did she do with her eyes when she was listening and not sure of what she was hearing?
Did you ever hear her heartbeat? What did is sound like?
Is her name now, in some way, sacred or reserved for you?
Did she look like other dogs of her breed?
Did she love or like anyone other than you?
Did she have any dog friends? Any dog rivals/enemies/opponents?
Did she ever howl?
What about her baths, what were they like?
posted by Jane the Brown at 3:48 PM on January 24 [1 favorite]

What things did you train her to do or not do? (Commands like "stay" or "heel", tricks, games like fetch, rules like not walking in the garden beds, daily routines where she knew what was coming next and what you expected her to do.) What was easy to train and what was hard? What were you never able to train her to do or not do? How easy was she to train overall?

Was there anything she trained you to do? Did she have a way of getting you to give her a treat or throw a ball or pet her?

What were the most difficult parts of her puppyhood or her first months living with you?

If you've had other dogs, what things about her were unique or unexpected compared to the others?

What did she do that made you the angriest?

What made you proud of her?

What kinds of petting and other physical affection did she like?
posted by Redstart at 4:28 PM on January 24

What was the dumbest mischief she ever got into? Did you ever have an experience where you were sure she was toast but she survived? Did she ever do something so ridiculous you had to pay a bunch of money to make sure it wouldn't happen again?

These questions brought to you by my late, great escape artist of a dog, who necessitated thousands of dollars in fence repairs over the course of her 11 years with us.
posted by potrzebie at 4:48 PM on January 24

Where is she now? What do you hope for her?
What were your favorite parts of her body? Which parts smelled the best?
Did she have a sense of humor? What did she think was funny?
If you close your eyes, can you still feel her under your hands? What do you feel?
When did you first realize you loved her?
If you got her as a puppy, was her personality already right there or did it develop over time? Did you know what she was like right away or did it take time to learn it?
What do you believe about the nature of love, and of death? What happens to love when the beloved is gone?
When did you feel most at peace with her?
Did other people see the bond that the two of you had? What kinds of things would they say?
How did she change you? When did the changes happen?
posted by HotToddy at 5:18 PM on January 24 [2 favorites]

What did you learn from her? Did the lesson come quickly or did it take more time? Did it surprise you?

My best to you. This is a really lovely project.
posted by mochapickle at 6:07 PM on January 24

What did her ears feel like??
posted by feistycakes at 7:56 PM on January 24 [2 favorites]

Who was her nemesis? (Postman? Neighbour cat?)

Who was her surprising non family favourite?

What was the worst thing she ever ate?

Did she have any habits/routines? (Of her own, not yours)

How did she outsmart you? (We had a dog who figured out what W-A-L-K meant)
posted by freethefeet at 10:22 PM on January 24 [1 favorite]

Most and least favourite house guest. Describe memorable interactions with your visitors.

Best and worst Halloween costume (if you celebrate). Describe memorable holiday moments, including interactions with holiday food/decor/ceremonies.

Describe any “near misses” in early life.
Did your dog run away, chase a car, jump in a river, eat the Halloween candy? Describe how your dog survived and lived on to old age.

Most disgusting thing your dog encountered. Did your dog explode a bloated salmon corpse or get skunked? Describe. This category can also include the most disgusting thing your dog ever did.

Describe your travel experiences with your pet. Any memorable encounters with planes, cars, ferries, or other transports? How did your dog like that hotel, cabin, tent, or relative’s house? What did you do there?

Itemize encounters with wildlife. How did your dog get on with the local birds? Did you encounter a coyote? What was the opinion on squirrels and other rodents?

Describe your dog’s interactions with other pets, past and present. Were they pals?
posted by shock muppet at 1:10 AM on January 25

Weirdly irrational things she was afraid of, weirdly irrational things she loved so much she couldn't get enough of...
posted by mochapickle at 1:18 AM on January 25

How did she communicate with you? Funny little head tilts? Sneezing? Play position - front legs down, back legs up, tail wagging?

Did you have a song for her?
How many nicknames and why?
What did you sacrifice so she would have a happy? (I used to give Cat Gordon the juice out of every tin of tuna, also let him sweat up my arms while typing).
Did you accidentally do something wrong that she immediately forgave you for (I am restless in bed and Gordy used to have to sleep right at the end to try not to get kicked out).

Did you have her as a puppy? When did she release her name was her name?

What did she think of her reflection?

What did she think of other animals? (My flatmate's dog, Molly, was certain she hated all cats [would bark if you said the word so we had to spell it out] until she met Gordon, who she immediately fell in love with (we never did tell her Gordon was a cat).
posted by b33j at 3:17 AM on January 25

What inanimate object(s) was her sworn enemy?
posted by Mchelly at 4:57 AM on January 25 [1 favorite]

Was there a time when you realized that she was observing you much more closely than you had previously noticed? Did that lead to anything funny or touching?
posted by praemunire at 8:59 AM on January 25

Here's something worth remembering: how did she make you feel?
posted by amtho at 9:38 AM on January 25

What was her favourite place?
What was her favourite toy?
Did she like water? Climbing? Running? Hiding?
How vocal (or not) was she?
How did she let you know she was unhappy/annoyed/excited/happy?
Did she like dressing up/wearing a coat?
What was the colour of her nose?
How soft or coarse was her coat?*

*That last question inspired by the enormous difference in coat texture between our previous Staff/Lab mix (Mia) and our current Staff/Lab mix, Amber (they're not related). The latter has silky, fine, predominantly black fur that's almost like human hair in its texture, whereas Mia had the VERY roughest, biscuit/tan coloured coat. If you examined one hair in isolation you could see that it got darker until it was almost red at the tip, and they were also barbed there too, with little hooks at their ends. You knew if you stood on one or got one in your sock, believe me. I am still finding the odd one stuck in old items of clothing or blankets two and a half years after she passed. What were once objects of annoyance or mild irritation I now treat with real reverence, as it seems strange to find a part of her here still, so long after she'd gone. That they persist so long after her passing both touches and amuses me, but it doesn't surprise me in the least bit - she was always a persistent dog.
posted by Chairboy at 10:53 AM on January 25 [1 favorite]

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