You knew something was up these last few weeks, didn’t you?
Always affectionate and playful, you seemed to want more attention, more play and more hang-out-on-the-sofa time. Like you were banking it up. For both of us.
Then there were also weird moments when you would sit on a doggie bed facing the wall, like you were thinking some deep thoughts.
As is often the case with dogs, the first solid indicator of illness was not eating, and then not pooping. (Sorry, but that’s the way of dogs. It’s like checking the oil on a car, if anyone still does that.)
You were always quite the canine gourmand, so I really worried when your favorite “treat” foods, like peanut butter, chicken jerky and rice, were waved off.
Over a 36 hour span, the vets poked, prodded and scanned you, while you looked at me with quizzical dignity.
When they told me you couldn’t be saved, they left us in a small exam room. You looked right into my eyes, as if to ask “Are you sure about this?”
And I was. And I am.
Here’s what else I am sure of, on this second full day without you.
I didn’t just happen to adopt you, in January 2017. You were meant for me.
You made me slow down more. You made me walk you around my neighborhood, where I’d lived for a decade, and really see it for the first time.
You interrupted good books, televised football games and desk work, usually with the subtle gesture of nosing the remote or paperback out of my hand. I took a break—“for you”—and actually took one for us both.
The nuclear barking/snarling response you had to every ring of the doorbell must’ve drove off countless salespeople and politicians. For that, alone, thank you.
The secret most of those doorknockers never knew was that, within 10 seconds of meeting (sniffing) anyone, you were ready to be their friend. But those first ten seconds could be intense.
The only time you raised one of those gigantic paws was to plunk it down on my arm or knee, to say, “Hey, I’m here!” Or, “I would also like to eat that!”
You were my best friend, at a time when some human friends proved unreliable. You didn’t care how I voted, what I said on the radio or what my mood was. A mood-proof friendship? Yep. Dogs don’t care if you’re an introvert or an extrovert. “Just include me in whatever! ” is their motto
It seems to me that “owner” might be the wrong word, with a dog. I can’t speak to owning hamsters or turtles or horses. Maybe it applies to them.
With a dog’s life, you really borrow some of it. You try to make the time you borrow better for them, the best it can be. The thing about dogs is, you can love them with all the riches in the world, or love them while living under a bridge, and to them it’s just the same.
I hope I made these last two years and ten months the best for you.
You definitely did for me.
Rest in peace, you good dog.