Once in a Dogtime

My coping mechanism was deliberate. Before the death dealer arrived, plush toys were on spin cycle, leashes were spoken for, and grooming tools had been tossed in the can. He relished attention, yet despised being brushed.

The doctor spoke in soft tones, but I wasn’t really listening. The look in his eyes upon approach made the decision a forgone conclusion. A companion of more than a decade, always hyper-aware of his surroundings, shook nervously as we positioned him on his side. The scent of the medicine man had tipped him off.

I cupped his head in my left hand, while the right lay over his heart. Moments stretched into eternity, images of gaiety flashing through my mind so quickly they blurred like a quadrillion tubes of pastel arbitrary squeezed out onto a busy thoroughfare. Then the animation was gone. His head went heavy in my grasp. I pushed his eyelids shut. A surreal experience, and days later the snapshot of that lifeless body still haunts my innermost thoughts.

Nobody crossed paths with the creature without heralding his gallantry, his inquisitiveness, and his kitchen counter surfing aptitude. Those who spent more than a few minutes with him almost certainly recall the notion that they were in the company of a regal spirit, the four-legged reincarnation of someone wise beyond their years. And yours.

Cautious, yet daring. Cunning, but kind. A wayward angel perhaps? Or just an impeccably dressed salesman, with his next twelve years’ quota booked in advance – joyfully sharing the plunder, while repeatedly requesting drinks on the house.

The pup crisscrossed a continent, grudgingly playing follow the leader. Unbeknownst to the owner of record, however, it was the provider of food, water, and bolster beds that was being played. By a master, on his Stradivarius.

Collie Dog

Argent Action Jackson - Gracie
May 20, 1999 – June 23, 2011

Some people get back on the horse right away, but it’s nearly impossible to take the reigns when you know you’ve just parted ways with Secretariat. Who could run down skateboarders and scooters, wind perpetually at his back. And while a replacement does not exist, retrospection informs me that despite the scarcity of goods those dog years were a heck of a bargain.

MG signing off (…)