Tuesday, December 26, 2006

A Good Dog

One of the finer things in life in The World According To Dan is a good dog. Dogs are the only creatures on the planet that truly, honestly can be counted on to find you endlessly fascinating and truly the best thing that ever happened to society. Well, since the advent of the chew toy, anyway.

The people in my life know my feelings on this, and so it was that I received for Christmas a fine book: A Good Dog: The Story of Orson, Who Changed My Life by Jon Katz. I'm only halfway through, but I love what I've read so far enough to know that I will be buying and reading more of Mr. Katz' offerings.

In it, he speaks of a term that I don't believe I've come across before, the "Lifetime Dog". That is a dog that bonds with a person so well, and the person with the dog, that they have the sort of relationship that many people--even lifetime dog owners--don't ever get to experience. I've known the meaning of that phrase for a long time, but I never knew the phrase.

Bobo was my "Lifetime Dog". I lost him shortly before I started this blog. Here is what I wrote about him elsewhere at that time:

I know it's trivial compared to what's been going on in New Orleans, but everybody else is covering that to death, and I've got a smaller, more personal pain that I'm bearing today and I need to write it out, if only for myself.

I had a wonderful dog. He was a giant of a beast, but gentle as a summer rain unless someone threatened one of his people. He loved stuffed toys, rawhide, being brushed and he LOVED it when I would clean the crud out of his ears with q-tips. He loved walking with me, and we explored the world together for over 7 years. He was one of the best friends I ever had, and for sure the best dog I ever knew.

This morning my friend went to wherever our beloved pets go when they die. He had reached the point where he couldn't make it down the deck steps to pee. He was doing well last spring, but it's been a pretty steep slide over the summer, and this morning we called the vet out to help him go easily.

He's now laying in his freshly-dug grave (with two of his stuffed animals), and I'm only waiting for his "mom" to get home so we can bury him together. She has come to love him, and he her, almost as much as me. It was a pleasure to know such a fine animal, and I have a hard time picturing myself ever finding a better companion.

But I won't quit trying. I've done this before. There's life after Bo. It just doesn't feel like it right now...but I still have one dog, and when her time comes, there'll be another. There always will be, because I'm cursed with a love of dogs...a curse I'm happy to bear even now during the worst part.

Bo: I'll miss you friend. I hope we'll meet again, and if we do, it will be a happy day indeed. Until then, I'll remember the good times and ignore the times you shook your head and splattered the wall with slobber. Slobber cleans off. Instead, I'll remember the time you discovered the rabbit in the back yard and almost killed yourself chasing him. I'll remember the time you bounded over a 4-foot fence from a sitting position when you spotted a squirrel and decided it needed to die. I'll remember the time you got your foreleg stuck in the fence gate and I had to leap oever it to rescue you before you broke it. I'll remember the first time I watched a 150 pound monster running toward me from ground level. I'll remember the times you jumped in to catch a fish I was trying to land. I'll remember the time I took you to the Renaissance Festival and you drew a bigger crowd than the jugglers, played with a hundred kids and ate until even you couldn't eat any more. I'll remember a hundred other times that you made me laugh and cry. I'll keep you in my heart and wherever I go, you'll be right there beside me.

Love you, monsterdog.

As I was preparing to do more work on the basement last night I was thinking of what I had read so far of this book, and it came to me that that is exactly the type of book I should begin my actual writing career by writing. Never mind that it will probably come off as a copycat of this book...though our story is so different from this one it wouldn't really be a copycat. They always say that you should write things you know and that you are passionate about. Check and check.

I always wanted to write, but was afraid to actually start typing the outline for reasons I don't really understand. Now an outline is forming itself in my head against my will. Maybe this is finally the winter when I truly bring what writing talent I have to bear for the first time.

It would be a wonderful thing to have a book sitting on my shelf with my own name on it as the author and a picture of my Bobo on it.


At 4:55 PM , Blogger Garrent said...

I've also read this book, and if you like it, you might also like Marley and Me. My lifetime dog is a beagle named Dodger. He went to the great hunting ground about 10 years ago. Yes, it still hurts.

At 1:19 PM , Blogger Julie said...

Can't wait for your book- this post brought tears to my eyes!

At 4:07 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

My lifetime dog was so badly abused by her former owners that she probably won't live to a ripe old age. She adores me and I love her in a way that took me by surprise. She looked out for me when I lived in a war zone and is now trying to get used to being a mere "pet" in the States. It's been a bit of an adjustment for both of us.

I just found your blog the other day, and started reading at the beginning. I'm considering foster care if I end up settling here, so it's very informative for me. The more I read of your experience, the more I want it -- even the hard parts.



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