Just a Dog
The ‘Puter Hub and I lost one of our beloved family members yesterday. Dorothy, our 2-year-old goofy doodle, ran away for a last romp in the snow and was struck by a car. It was late at night. She is black. It was dark. One thing led to another. They are animals. These things happen.
Even though we only had her in our lives for a short (too short) two years, she filled that stint with laughter, happiness and unconditional love. I’d like to recall a few memories of her in honor of my precious puppy dog:
The time we picked her up from the breeder. I was elated. Cloud nine. She vomited all over the ‘Puter Hub on the car ride home. Deep down “inside,” she was elated, too. She showed us by showing her dinner.
My mom gave us some advice. “Talk to her.” That’s when the ‘Puter Hub started his daily conversations with the dog. They formed a man’s best friend bond. After all, he renamed his man cave to man’s best friend cave.
That night, she cried in her kennel. I cried, too. I wanted to crawl inside there and comfort the poor puppy. Instead, I slept on the oversized chair next to her kennel. Far too much mac and cheese for us to both fit.
She had stitches from the removal of her womanhood. We carried her up and down the stairs while potty training her. It didn’t go as planned. She peed all over the place to spite us. There were arguments.
“Why is she peeing on the rug?! I just took her out! Argghhh, bad dog!” – Puter Hub
“She is a dog. That’s what they do.” – me, giggling
The conversations with the ‘Puter Hub and Dorothy continued and she quickly learned to go poop and pee outside. She also learned how to spell t-r-e-a-t. With the crux of her black, furry head, she yearned for the t-r-e-a-t during Hagood Happy Hour.
I quickly taught her how to climb on furniture. There were PowerPoints. “Dorothy, this is how you climb on the couch. Step 1- place front paws. Step 2 – place back paws. Questions?”
The ‘Puter Hub loathed how Dorothy the Diva took on every couch cushion, chair, bed, human pillow as her own. But, he allowed it which leads me to believe that he thought it was cute. She was my 50-pound lap puppy.
While the ‘Puter Hub was still in school, I taught her how to sit, give us her paw, lay down and then go bang, bang. That’s shooting her with a pretend gun and she plays dead. The ‘Puter Hub didn’t believe me. Probably because when he got home I was slurring my words over the bottle of wine and gallon of patience it took me to do it.
Then there was the time she ingested a bottle of pills. She tried to go all Jimi Hendrix on us but we wouldn’t have it. She threw up the bottle of pills and after a quick stint at rehab, aka me showering her with treats, she was wagging that ferocious tail again.
The time she ate the ‘Puter Hub’s Chapstick. His laptop cord. His phone charger. My socks. The candle that looked like a ball. The apple that looked like a ball. The ornament that looked like a ball. The tennis ball that was a ball.
Then the time she went for the wine (cork). Where there was wine, there were corks. D somehow managed to get a hold of any wine cork no matter the vintage. Like mother like puppy, she wasn’t particularly picky when it came to wine. She loved the dog bar, so many dog crouches to sniff, so little time.
Unconditional love. Being there for us during times of loss. Celebrating with us during times of success.
Barking and chasing squirrels in her sleep.
Visiting her grandduke while we were in India. The grand-duke (grandpa of the dog aka my dad) Skyped. We like to think she was the first dog to ever Skype, the equivalent of landing on the moon (To us, at least).
I could go on. But, I won’t. My sister told me to inform my readers of the loss. Consider you all informed. I will leave you with this reading. It basically says if you’re one of those people that doesn’t think it’s socially acceptable to grieve the loss of a pet, eat it. Hey, I had to include something about eating in here somewhere.
It’s Just a Dog
From time to time people tell me, “Lighten up, it’s just a dog,” or, “That’s a lot of money for just a dog.” They don’t understand the distance traveled, the time spent or the costs involved for “just a dog.”
Some of my proudest moments have come about with “just a dog.”
Many hours have passed and my only company was “just a dog,” but I did not once feel slighted.
Some of my saddest moments have been brought about by “just a dog,” and, in those days of darkness, the gentle touch of “just a dog” gave me comfort and reason to overcome the day.
If you, too, think it’s “just a dog,” then you probably don’t understand phases like “just a friend,” “just a sunrise,” or “just a promise.”
“Just a dog” brings into my life the very essence of friendship, trust, and pure unbridled joy.
“Just a dog” brings out the compassion and patience that makes me a better person.
Because of “just a dog” I will rise early, take long walks and look longingly to the future.
So for me, and folks like me, it’s not “just a dog” but an embodiment of all the hopes and dreams of the future, the fond memories of the past and the pure joy of the moment.
“Just a dog” brings out what’s good in me and diverts my thoughts away from myself and the worries of the day.
I hope that someday they can understand that it’s not “just a dog” but the thing that gives me humanity and keeps me from being “just a human.”
So the next time you hear the phrase “just a dog.” just smile .. .because they “just don’t understand.”