In Memory of The Booper

Tallulah Belle Spencer-Summerlin

June 29, 2009 – January 22, 2024

Each that we lose takes part of us;
A crescent still abides,
Which like the moon, some turbid night,
Is summoned by the tides.


Our house is all wrong now. Everything is too quiet. The schedule is off kilter. We don’t know what to do with ourselves.

Fourteen years ago, Jessie looked at me as I struggled to get a very hyperactive young Daisy to calm down about something and said to me, “I’m glad you have a dog because she makes you so happy, but I could never have a dog. They’re too much work.”

A few months later, she called me from work a little nervously. She said, “I did a thing and I should have checked with you first.”

On her way out the door to lunch with some coworkers, she had seen a beautiful brindle boxer running frantically across multiple lanes of traffic, dodging cars. The dog had raced into the parking lot where they were and somehow ended up in the back seat of Jessie’s car, and now was on the way to our house. 

She didn’t have a tag on her collar, and our vet could find no microchip. She was exuberantly affectionate, and within a few hours I could see that my wife was in love with a dog for the first time. We took photos and made posters which we posted all over the area near her office. A week passed with no calls. Jessie left for an overnight work trip. The next morning, she called me in tears. Someone had called to claim the little boxer. She asked me if I could please go meet them, which I did, and it was clear that everyone was thrilled to be reunited.

An hour later I got another call from Jessie. There was a family in a neighboring town who had a litter of boxer puppies. Could I be ready to leave at 2pm to go meet them?

When we got there, we were introduced to the most adorable litter of rambunctious puppies. We played with all of them, sniffed their puppy breath, and admired their tiny little puppy toes. Jessie looked at me and asked, “They’re all so perfect, how do we choose?” Just then, the tiniest puppy, the runt of the litter, roared with all the ferocity her little body could muster and began wrestling with her sibling. “That one. That’s the one,” I said.

And that’s the story of how Tallulah Belle Spencer-Summerlin became the youngest member of our family.

It was a big name for a tiny dog, but she grew into it. We spoiled her rotten from the minute she got in the car with us. She had dozens of nicknames: Lulah, Boopie, Booper, Boop, Pooper, Little Dog, Demander-in-Chief, Chew-dogga, Stinker Belle… 

She was the very best napper you’ve ever met. I have 3000 photos of her napping. She elevated it to an art form, so I documented it.

She loved sleeping on top of Jessie in a hammock.

She expected you (me) to hold her bones while she chewed on them. At first, I was concerned. They had attempted to remove her front dew claws when they docked her tail, and it was done poorly and it left her with mangled dew claws. I thought it must hurt her to hold her own bones, so I asked our vet about it. The vet took a look at the dew claws and told me, “nope, she’s just spoiled.” So I kept holding her bones.

She was very well dressed. She had more sweaters than any of us. And she loved a blanket.

She ruined our sofa sitting on top of the backrest to peer out the window every day while she waited for the kids to come home from school and Jessie to come home from work. She knew all their schedules and would be at her station fifteen minutes before they each arrived. It was impressive because for a while, each kid came home on a different bus. It didn’t matter. She knew what time to expect each of them.

She once sneaked into the pantry, chewed open, and ate an entire five pound bag of cat food. Actually, I think she did that twice.

Her farts were legendary.

She’d eat almost anything, including oranges. If you were eating it, she wanted a taste. I’d giggle the whole time I was feeding her orange wedges. “Silly dog, you’re supposed to be repelled by citrus.”

She beat cancer three times. She had three big scars on her left side. We called her Frankendog.

She loved her mommy more than anything. There’s never been a dog more attached to a human. Jessie was her human and she wanted to be wherever Jessie was at all times.

She missed Daisy a lot. Every morning for the past two years when she woke up, the first thing she did was check Daisy’s bed. I hope they are together somewhere now, chasing cats and wrestling and cuddling like they did in their best days.

She was so soft. She was the softest dog I’ve ever petted. I think it’s because we loved and petted her so much.

She was the heart of our family, and we are completely lost without her.

Amanda Summerlin

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