Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Our dogs are always with us

My Aussie, Scooby, died two years ago at twelve, a respectable age for an Aussie. He was perhaps the sweetest dog I've ever had but he had quirks and problems, mostly from having been an abused, neglected "backyard junk" dog for the first three years of his life and then being in a cage at the humane society which is where I found him. He knew his house manners...but he couldn't be relied on. He chewed things until I taught him better. He jumped on people, and we had to relearn that. But he was so eager to please that he soon gave up jumping. He was an incurable food thief--once I found him in the living room with a banana on the floor in front of him. The look on his face said, "Okay. Now I've got it. What do I do with it?"
Sophie and I both grieved when Scoob died in his sleep one night. He had idiopathic vestibular disease--the only way he could keep the world straight was to tilt his head--and he was losing the use of his back legs. One day he crawled to the back of his dog house and wouldn't come out. I crawled in to get him, and he oh-so-gently put his mouth around my wrist. It was his way of saying, "I don't want you to do this," but he never would have bitten me. He was ready to die, and he knew it.
Sometimes I sense that there's a dog behind me at my desk. Sophie rarely lies there and she's usually asleep in her chair across from my desk. But when I look down to my left, I see the patch of old wood floor where the finish is completely worn off--it's where Scooby lay, right next to me, every evening and lots of days, for nine years. I like to think he's still there, seeking my company and watching after me.

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