As it turns out, I’m an excellent dog trainer*.
When Mr. T and I first started dating, I was charmed at how his white fluff ball dog, Goliath, would jump to greet me at the door. I delighted in fluttering my hands in encouragement, noticing that if I did so, he would stand on his hind legs and talk to me. So cute. Henceforth, I told T how lucky he was that I taught his dog to walk on two legs. (Never you mind the jumping or barking that never went away.)
And then there was the taxing stretch of my master’s program where I taught Goliath how delicious naps on the couch could be, the two of us snuggle spooned up. This signaled to G what a wonderful position the usually off-limits couch made for sentry duty. Not infrequently, we would come in the back door quietly, only to catch him leaping off the top cushions where he had a better view to watch passerby outside, and tail wagging, pretend he’d been four-on-the-floor all day.
And then—he didn’t need too much of my help for this—there was G’s discovery of the joy of cooking. More precisely, he realized what a messy cook I am, and that if he just stood right underneath me at the counter or stove, delicious morsels of cheese or chicken would rain down. (Veggie scraps, too, but who has time for that?) This suggested that no matter what was happening in the kitchen, he should definitely stick by our ankles, just in case.
And so. A week after we had to somewhat suddenly say goodbye, I find myself missing our misbehaving boy. Both T and I walk in the back door expecting that familiar bark of greeting. I still listen for the tinkle of his collar as I leave a room, surprised not to see right behind me, as usual. When I drop something in the kitchen, I’m chagrined to find it still on the floor a few minutes later.
Life without our dog is strange and quiet and so sad.
But we’re comforted to know G had a long, glorious life. In fact, while we thought he turned 16 this summer, puppy pictures confirm he was born in January 1998. He was about to turn 19 in a few months! (No wonder he was stone deaf toward the end.)
Now I picture our nearly toothless old man grinning down from dog heaven, chasing his favorite hippo and eating all of the chicken. And I’m also so grateful to friends and family for spoiling us with kind words, cards, and care packages during these difficult days.
Rest in peace to a dog who was always smiling…
… who hated babies. A lot.
… who sat where he wanted, couldn’t catch, refused to fetch, loved mischief (most of the time), and always found the sun.
… who had a deep and abiding passion for chicken, bacon and other savory vittles.
… who helped out whenever possible–grading papers, organizing tax documents, gardening.
… who despised spa time but adored looking pretty.
… who put up with a LOT over the holidays.
… and who above all, loved his humans.
* I know. I know. Those of you with actually well behaved dogs are probably dying inside. I promise to be a better dog owner next time around!