“You’re my best dog ever…”
This— gently whispered into Phoenix’s ear by a boy named Leopold— was the general consensus of those lucky enough to get to know her.
With great sadness, Erica and Ben announce the passing of their little Miss Morsel*, one of Phoenix Allszplat’s many and oldest nicknames(*). She leaves behind her sister, Pandora Allszplat, and was predeceased by her older sister Little Bear “LB” Allszplat. She also leaves behind countless cousins, grandparents, and closest friends. She loved people deeply, especially “her” people— a tender, gentle love that she shared openly— usually with ears tucked down tight to her head and adoring eyes peering into your soul.
Mary Dingo*, her given name, was born in Tennessee in 2007 and little is known about her first weeks in this world. She was fortunate to be saved from a kill shelter and soon after was listed for adoption on the internet. Ben and Erica came across her Petfinder.com listing with a location of Connecticut, after increasing their search radius for shibas to over 60 miles. They quickly learned she would, in fact, take a long transport ride with Kyle (a story for another time) from the south, in a specially fitted horse trailer filled with 70 other crates loaded with pups destined for new homes in New England. Just days later, in a commuter parking lot, 12 pounds of jumping bean was handed out on a red leash; she was joy and love instantly, and without a shred of hesitation on her part, became their Sweet P.*
Femix* joined an aging LB at her new home at Bogg Hill on Cape Cod. As she grew into a young pup, she quickly asserted her independent and athletic presence. Unlike many pups, she did not imprint on her new people and stubbornly neither followed them around nor came when called. She had her own ideas and steady energy, requiring two walks a day and a stream of chews to stimulate her interest. She let out the characteristic shiba scream the first time her people tried to go out without her— they suspect due less to being left alone than left behind on an adventure. In time, she learned to “walk good” beside them and “go play” on her walks in Beebe Woods, Chappy Beach, and in the nearby bogs by Pond 14. She made fast friends with other pups and met the love of her life Koa. For many years, her ears would brighten expressively when her people would tease, “Do you want to see Koa Koa?” In addition to Koa, she made great friends at Camp Jones, where she would spend many a holiday with her buddies Tuck, Carlos, Mac, and numerous other four feeted fuzzies. Whether off to meet her friends for a walk, or stop with her people at Coffee O, she enjoyed her trips around town in the car, surfing the center console on short rides, and snuggling in laps on longer ones. Passersby on the street often commented on her build, alert ears, and curly tail, inquiring whether she was actually a dingo.
PX* was an astute hunter of small woodland creatures and would pounce with precise fierceness and a bloodthirsty eagerness that was unsettling considering her almost angel-like qualities otherwise. She liberated baby bunnies and squirrels from their nests and voles were never safe as she patrolled the bogs. A part of her wanted to join the coyotes roaming the power lines and run forever, but she learned to appreciate her relaxed porchlife and would sun herself while vigilantly making sure the squirrels, cats, and wild turkeys knew not to touch ground in her territory. She had real squirrel problems. She was an expert bee and flycatcher, earning her yet another nickname of Miyagi. Her repertoire of tricks included a well-executed and crowd-pleasing high-five. For many years, her first activity of the day was to do a full check of the perimeter of the property. In her early days, she made more than one escape from her yard in hot pursuit of bunnies, once being rescued near the road by a neighbor in the dark of night.
She trained her people well. Sweet Pea* loved to sleep in on weekdays and thankfully Big Baby* very much enjoyed sleeping in on weekends. During the week, after seeing her papa off to work at the robot factory, Glen Davis* would climb upstairs and back into bed until fully rested. In the evening, she would start a campaign for dinner by positioning herself by the door and glaring at her people until her request was noted; once exhibiting her distaste for the menu by selectively jettisoning all the pieces of cauliflower from her bowl. Her favorite treat was popcorn and she was a pro catcher. Later, she’d announce it was time to go to bed by retiring upstairs first. As a youngster, she would sleep like bricks at the foot of the bed, however as she aged, the slightest wiggle of a toe might disturb her and the little Buttercup*, quite miffed, would retreat to her saucer. She enjoyed her naps in a regular rotation of places: the cubbyhole under the breakfast nook, the laundry pile in the bathroom, the porch, a succession of couches, the square of sunlight cast through the skylight… or when feeling frisky, right up on her peoples’ pillows on the bed.
Bogart’s* arrival on Cape Cod coincided with her guy launching a photography project which she conceitedly thought was named after her. She quickly did become the top— one might say super— model of benshotme.com and was once the subject of a 365 day photo project. As a top model, she preferred to work naturally and her posing was fluid yet confident, occasionally even regal. She cared not if the images were of her lounging on one of her several couches, on the top of Mount Washington, or a field in Maine. She enjoyed beach shoots (despite an obdurate aversion to water in all its forms) and posed in the woods as naturally as she mock street brawled in the backyard with her attractive friends. She featured in several of the family holiday cards.
Wherever she went she graciously shared the spotlight with whomever she met. Seamus, an Irish lad (lab) neighbor, often wandered over on his own to bask in her company and chew sticks with her. There was one exception…
Sweetie* at first enjoyed a brief visit from a pup named Lucy Brown, immediately spending hours roughhousing. However, when the caretakers of her accommodations chose to adopt her, renaming her Pandora, she acquired a “step-sister.” This did not please the little Buttercookie* and— like her distrust for plastic bags blowing the streets, and bikes whizzing by too fast— Phoenixkins* would not stand for sharing her home with the youthful interloper. Whenever Pandora tried to snuggle up or munch on her cheek, she let her displeasure be known by huffing AND puffing out of her saucer bed and removing to a more secluded spot. Over time (a lot of time) Big Sister* grew to accept the presence of Panda and even occasionally was known to allow her to be near when they weren’t playing… but not often.
Nevertheless, the two became inseparable— chasing each other, wrestling, almost daily romping in the yard (their repeated path of chasing each other carving a visible track with a berm in the leaves) and walking in the bogs like two peas in a pod. However, the differences in their personalities was never more on display than when they visited the dog park. Panda Bear would bound off, nervously lick the faces of potential new friends, and run around without a second thought. Meanwhile, Old School* would hop up on the bench with the humans to sit and watch, with what might have been considered a hint of disdain. One could imagine her making small talk with her companion… “Fetch? Not for me. I mean really, can you look at these fools? How about the weather?” Or, “Come here often?”
Lumpsmagumps* life was not all trips to the beach, ice cream at Dairy Queen, and walks in the woods— she did need to visit her favorite doctor, Lucy, a number of times over the years. She once mistook a tube of crimson oil paint for a snack, the resulting bloodbath-like appearance of her and her sister inducing some panic stricken calls to poison control. Thankfully, after one charcoal treatment and a few colorful trips to the bathroom later, all was well. Her veterinarians during her knee surgery were equally impressed by her hardiness and beauty. During recuperation, by doctor’s order, she was limited in her mobility and her housemates confined her to the small bathroom using a baby gate— which Pandora promptly chewed from the outside in an effort to either break her sister out, or herself in. Panda, being tight lipped (and small teethed) would never admit to which. Other exciting trips to the vet resulted from several bouts of serious hives, ingesting a bottle of vitamin d, lyme disease, and consuming an unknown substance in the bogs early in pandemic that came dangerously close to using up her nine lives.
The Trunk Puppy’s* housemates traveled often. On more than one occasion, the Pretty Kitty* tried to stow away in luggage, often falling asleep curled up in a ball inside a half-packed suitcase. While some resentment lingered anytime her people left without her, she took out her discontent for the short trips on the recycling. It was their longer trips away— where she either visited Camp Jones or invited a number of temporary live-in housemates— that she really held a grudge about. However, these new people in her life gave her a wealth of friends that she treated like family and reciprocated their love.
The Allszplat girls’ thirst for adventure never wavered and with great bravery in the winter of 2022 they boarded an airliner and immigrated to England. The photos of their arrival at Heathrow show two very tired but happy new immigrants. Their paperwork accepted and the long ordeal of the transatlantic flight behind them, they quickly settled into their new life. For the Muttski*, who had lost a step and was looking forward to retirement in the south, this meant graduating to seeing the town by purpose-bought carriage ride. The townfolk nearly unanimously enjoyed seeing herself on her rounds and many smiles and a pouty face were made in her direction, with the most common exclamation being, “Oh, bless!” One unseemly character did accuse her of being lazy; he obviously did not know how much work she had done in her 15 years of modeling to that point. She had also gone to the office of Webb Research for years, where she even had her own security badge, as well as to the plumbing office where she kept a second set of toys and maintained a secondary walking route on Seacoast. In her new home, she accompanied her people to the pub as often as possible, made new puppy friends in the neighborhood, and enjoyed treats in the lobby of her building where she had her final birthday party at the age of 16 in April of 2023.
While her adventures in her final year were slowed by requiring booties to protect her back arms and a sling to steady her weakening hips, her dignity and grace remained intact until the very end. She loved to have a cordial encounter on the pavements (British for sidewalk) with children and pups of all ages, who respected her years and quiet demeanor. As always, a nice meal at her favorite table and a long afternoon nap at her retirement home in Southampton is how she eased into her typical day-to-day in her twilight years. Highlights of her time in England included trips to New Forest, looking out over the city from her flat on the 7th floor, and visits from her grandmother, aunt, and uncle, and former robot factory colleagues. Finally, she takes to her grave— which will be back on Bogg Hill with a burial and celebration of life in August— the highlight of rolling in the grass at Nottingham Castle.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Friends of Falmouth Dogs. If participating in the celebration of Phoenix’s life is of interest, reach out to her best friends Ben and Erica. They would be happy to share in your memories of this wonderful soul.