For a book lover like me, meeting him at Border's Book store, portended great things.
Goodbye, Great Heart
It was a match made in heaven. . . I met him at Border’s Book Store. I had been avoiding such “open houses” since an ill-fated Internet match did not work out in the least, but a neighbor urged me to look again, and there he was. . . in all his fluffy, furry glory.
Clayton was not an easy dog to own at first: stubborn, arrogant, and prone to running out the door, not to mention biting my husband when he came to bed late and disturbed the "king" at rest. (How many men would put up with that?)
I remember his first Christmas at my mom’s, the star of the show, gladly receiving pets from adoring family members, until my niece got ready to leave, and Clayton dashed out the door. His fur was pitch black, and it was a Christmas miracle that he was not hit in the street that dark night. My niece, in her high heels, ran after him, and dragged him and his smug smile back to the house. If she hadn’t, he would have run clear to Tijuana.
We got to know one another, became a family, and he learned to love his dog brothers, first Wilber, and then Pete. But when my daughter visited the next Christmas, he bit her puppy, Bailey, in the nose. Bailey still has the scar. Clayton was not interested or patient with puppy antics.
After several years, Clayton threw a “fatty embolism” in his spine, leaving him partially paralyzed. We nursed him back to health, and walking, but his running days we over. He loved us; we loved him. When he boarded at the kennel, he played in the water pool all day and kept the staff laughing. On the way home from the kennel last July, he slipped in the car and caught one of his weak legs in an odd position between the seat and the wheel well. He was in terrible pain, and bit my husband when he tried to get the paw freed up. Finally, the paramedics came to help us get him out, with a towel around his snout. I’m sure they are still laughing about the day they had to save that goofy, big dog (we now have doggy seat belts to prevent such accidents).
Clayton died on Saturday. We will miss him forever. I know there’s another dog out there that needs a home, a dog that I will love, but first I have to let the ragged edgesof the dog-shaped hole in my heart heal over.