Dogs are central to our lives and our language. Man’s best friend. His protector, his soul mate, his work tool and his conscience. It takes a lot of effort to take a puppy and turn him into your lifetime companion, but the return on investment is better than anything Wall Street can offer. Kittens might be easier to care for, but there is a direct correlation between effort in and reward out. As you may have guessed from other posts here and here, I’m a dog person. I’m not going to harm a cat, I just don’t want to share my home with an animal who might eat my face if I forget to feed it.
Dogs have been a part of my life forever. The first dog I knew right from birth was Jason. We had his mother. She was in heat and my dad had strict instructions to keep her safe from the neighbourhood studs (spaying and neutering were much less de rigueur in the 70’s). So he tied her in the yard. And one of the local stud pack found this hot girl conveniently positioned for his delectation. Dad came out of the house with a bucket of cold water too late to cool the ardours, and the deed was done. I wanted a puppy, so dad made a deal – if there is a black dog, we can keep it (she was sandy, he was red). And lo, there was one black dog. Jason stayed with us 14 years.
Much later in life my own family had our first fur baby. Milo came to us as a pup at 8 weeks. He was a little black bundle of fluff. Milo arrived in our house a few weeks ahead of my second daughter, so she never knew a moment without him in her life.
Milo didn’t do much. He was basically a floor decoration, a speed bump in the hallway, and a tumbleweed generator. He spent most of his life lying on his side either on the deck, next to a heater, on a bed or under the car. On a walk, he had a magnetic attraction to water. He would break ice to paddle (never swim) – but try washing him and he would react like a mogwai. Squirt a hose at him and he would tear around the garden, dig holes and roll, so he came back dirtier than when he started.
Milo made his own choices in life. When his time came he knew, and he wanted to do things his way. He was almost thirteen when the vet told us a decision was getting close, with congestive heart failure and arthritis his major issues. Maybe he heard this, but more likely he just knew. A couple of days later he wouldn’t eat, and then that evening when he went out to do his business he took himself off. We hunted far and wide that night, but found no sign. Next day I posted his details far and wide. We found him that afternoon. He was alive and well, but his decision was made. He still would not eat. A day or two later we made the heartbreaking trip to the vets to end his suffering.
That was a trip I never want to make again, but of course I will, for what is life without a dog to share it?
RIP Milo: 2001 – 2014
Posted for the 2014 Blogging from A to Z Challenge.