Stella Muhammad Merchant

2001 - 2018


 One weekend about 17 years ago , on a whim, I was talked into getting a dog by a girl I was trying to impress. I responded to an ad in the newspaper that read something like “Dog for sale: $25” and ended up in a pet store on the east side of Tucson. I pointed at various dogs inquiring their price and after inquiring about a few very high-priced dogs I Finally asked, “Which one is the $25-dollar dog”. Stella was the $25-dollar dog.

I was 17 at the time, I lived in an apartment that didn’t allow pets and with a roommate that didn’t like dogs, but for obvious reasons I got her anyway. Rather than get rid of the Stella, a few weeks later we decided to move out. It was the start of my adult life and unknowingly I had just acquired the partner that would be by my side for the next 17 years.

I never should have had a dog. When she was a puppy I fed her psilocybin. She ran away on several occasions. Once I thought she was gone for good, but she came home days later at 2:00 in the morning smelling like a sewer. When she was 3 or 4 years old I was trying to find a home for a stray that ended up attacking her. The other dog broke her leg, knocked out some teeth, and caused several puncture wounds across her entire body that almost killed her. She once got hit by a car and another time spent 10 days in quarantine after biting a woman in the face (the woman deserved it). Aside from a bum paw, she came out of all this unscathed.

No, I shouldn’t have had a dog, but I am so grateful that I did. She wasn’t well trained. She didn’t do tricks or come when called but that’s why I loved my Stella so much. She was independent, calm, and loyal. She seemed happiest and most content when she was with her family. All she needed in life was us.

When she was a puppy I’d take her over to the Castles and Coasters parking lot where she would pull me on my skateboard for hours like a mush dog. She loved being outside, especially water. It didn’t matter if it was a spray from the hose, 6 ft ocean waves, or a mostly dry creek in the Rincon’s.  Often whenever we would go camping, upon exiting the truck the first thing Stella would do was find the closest carcass and roll in it. Total dog move. That was Stella.

For 17 years she was unwavering ball of energy and happiness. As she aged and began losing her hearing, and then her sight, and finally her ability to walk, she always stayed true to her nature and her personality and she never lost that part of herself. I respect that so much about her. I’ve learned so much from this past year of caring for my sweet princess as she ailed. I never thought I could learn so much from a stupid dog. Learning to say goodbye is tough. I woke up this morning missing my Dog but I know that it was her time and now she can be at peace.

Rest easy my sweet girl. I’ll see you on the other side.