| || |
Happy Tails: Life Is a Series of Dogs
April 19, 2010 - Dorian Gossy
As I contemplate the death of a favorite dog, I am surrounded by dogs this weekend. Let me explain: my husband, Roger, and I are always in the company of our hound-mix, Harley, 3½ years old, 50 pounds of darting dogflesh, exuberant and soulful by turns. A friend is traveling this weekend, so we are hosting her companions Teddy and Kiera, two Australian shepherds. Together the three of them yowl, bump, and pant around each other and our legs when we dispense treats, or outside when they tear around the field and hunt for the most disgusting antique corpse or wild animal poo to roll in or eat. Every move I make in the kitchen gets scrutinized by three pairs of doggy eyes. I give one of them a scratch, and pretty soon here comes another wet nose insisting on notice, and then a third. My hands lose themselves in a forest of fur as I ruffle all three of their coats at once. Everything is urgent to them, especially the task of holding my attention and garnering whatever I might dispense: pats, treats, supper, toys, a wrestle. Their urgencies insist that my focus be on the present, on the here and right-now.
But I can’t help thinking of Jackie, another dog, a black Labrador, lost this past week by my husband’s daughter and son-in-law after enduring the conflagration of illnesses to which older dogs become vulnerable the longer they live. Molly and Dominic had been keeping Jackie alive and quite well in the past year with a complicated regime of insulin shots, special food, and frequent vet visits, but just this week Jackie fell ill again, and Molly and Dominic made the excruciating decision that most of us will make as pet-owners: whether to prolong in pain the life of our animal, or let the vet slip the animal the needle-cocktail that sends them to endless sleep. Jackie died quickly, I’m told, her worn-out body slipping away in seconds without pain.
Jackie came from a shelter at three months old to Molly and Dominic in Ireland before they were married, and she marked the time for them and for us beginning with the early years of their relationship. Molly and Dominic later moved with Jackie to England, married, moved to Vermont, bought and fostered what is now a flourishing bed-and-breakfast inn and bar-restaurant, where Jackie became a genial pub dog and great town favorite. She started out life a frightened puppy, having been pitched out of a car in Dublin because someone no longer wanted her, and left this life eleven years later funny, talkative, always friendly, and much adored. Her life defines a period of wonder and growth for all her family and friends, and at her death we marvel at how much she enriched every moment we had her along for the ride.
My friend and fellow dog-lover Steve Feinbloom introduced me to the phrase that titles this blog: “life is a series of dogs.” How right that seems! Right now I’m still in the Time of Harley, and Teddy, and Kiera, and all my other dog-friends who insist that we humans stay in the moment and think about their supper! Or their treats! At the same time, I’m gently ending the Time of Jackie with sorrow and gratitude.
No comments posted for this article.
Post a Comment
News, Blogs & Events Web