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RIP, a fine news hound: Abigail, 2003-2016

Who's a good dog? Abigail.

The Sentinel news team lost its most faithful and loyal worker Tuesday, as Abigail Lee Corgidog Smith slowly fell asleep in the arms of her master. She was 13.

A trenchant copy editor and dogged investigator, Abby would always pursue a lead, no matter where it led. A gruff newsroom leader, she would urge others to sniff out the details from her customary spot at her master's feet.

"That lede's not tough enough," she would grumble. "And fix that headline!"

A loyal companion and faithful listener, Abby would provide wise counsel in moments of crisis, and was concerned to the point of distraction with keeping her backyard safe for Democracy and shielded from the predations of marauding birds and felines.

Even in her golden years, she remained a bit of a rabble-rouser, frequently attempting to rouse the neighborhood dogs with clipped barks of encouragement to join the impending Dog Revolution.

"The revolution is at paw! Bones and rawhides for all!," she would cry.

But she was also a bon vivant, with a taste for the finer things in life: the thick but supple leather of a pair of Doc Martens, the binding of vintage art books, an endless succession of filthy tennis balls, throw pillows, and a two-foot square from the center of a wool Persian carpet.

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And bones, of course. Plenty of bones.

Enough bones that she would craftily stand them on end to create a Bonehenge arrayed about her. When she wasn't hiding them behind a couch or bookcase, that is.

And she loved music; probably because of her part-beagle lineage. She would happily howl and wail, and mutter, and yodel, if live music or a group howlenanny sprung out.

And she didn't give a damn that she sounded remarkably like Yoko Ono. That was everybody else's problem, she said.

Abby, never forgetting her roots despite her comfortable den under a newsroom desk, would hound others to support the Obama administration's Deferred Action for Pets and Animals program.

The mixed-breed mutt was, after all, an illegal beagle — a cross perhaps composed of random spare parts, but able to look regal and dignified as often as she was gawky.

When she was just a wee puppy, Abby was found inside a nailed-shut crate with her sister, a black and white Corgi/beagle, in a dumpster in Rocky Point.

The pair were smuggled north across the border by a kindly woman who volunteered for a Tucson animal rescue group.

After being nursed to health, Abby met her master when she was about five months old. It was love at first sight — even considering that at the time she was dashing about a Midtown front yard as fast as her short little Corgi puppy legs could carry her, a fresh cat turd dangling from her mouth.

She was adopted anyway. Her devil-may-care grin may have played a role in that.

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As her legs grew a bit, she became able to jump up on the couch without assistance, where she would often be found indulging in what she considered to be a well-deserved nap.

After all, the strain of keeping her human and canine companions in line was constant. Every morning at breakfast, she would have to loudly remark that "the service in this restaurant is terrible" as her disappointing and meager dry rations were delivered.

Abby never qualified for a green card, but dutifully played her role as a fine quality beast, and a best friend.

Even on the last afternoon of her life, she was still grinning, if very tiredly at times. And her scalp still smelled like warm, clean puppies, with a faint whiff of the rosemary bush she so often practiced her topiary skills on as a growing pup. Abby died at home, surrounded by her pack — Stanley, Oliver and Ricki — and her mommy and daddy.

Who's a good dog? Abigail. Sit, Abigail. Good girl. Lie down, stay. Quietly. Still. Good girl, very good girl.

Who was a good dog? Abigail was the best dog.

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2 comments on this story

2
555 comments
Sep 14, 2016, 2:23 pm
-0 +2

@TucsonGirl,

Thank you. Abby was a damn fine dog.

1
116 comments
Sep 14, 2016, 10:09 am
-0 +2

I cry reading this.  Beautiful tribute to a sweet babe.
Hugs to Maria and Dylan….you gave your babe a wonderful life…hope you can take some comfort in that amidst the loss of one of the pack hugs to both of you.  <3

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Abigail Lee Corgidog Smith

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