It all began on a busy day in March 1998.
My husband and I stopped at a pet store for some dog food.
Inside were cages of furry little monsters;
tiny bursts of energy, pulling tails and chewing
on each other’s ears. Big happy yelps eminated
through the store. Wait, was that the puppies
or us giggling? I can never remember.
It didn’t take long for an attendant to beckon us to
take one out and play. We couldn’t resist the allure
of the golden colored Shih Tzu, and boy
that little furball played, and played,
and played his way right into our hearts.
On the drive home (not that day because we had
an old dog at home and didn’t want another pet,
but I couldn’t get him out of my mind [and knew
he was already permanently planted in my heart],
so the next day we went and bought him),
my husband nuzzled his new puppy and said to me:
“You are the best person in the world. I love this dog.”
And then we both cried.
Over the next few days we played steeple chases
and hide and seek as Dudley would find new
places to explore and I’d frantically worry an
Osprey had carried our bundle of furry love away.
Like all dogs, Dudley always grinned from ear to ear.
He always laughed with puppy joy. And when he ran – which
was frequently after squirrels, cars, cats, people or anything
that moved – he ran with the might of a thousand dogs;
his ears pinned back and grinning into the wind
as it whipped across his golden locks.
Every night we’d come home from work to a happy, but frenetic scene.
Dudley would be jumping up and down like a rubber ball as if saying:
“Look at me. Look at me. Yippy! Mommy and Daddy are HOME!”
I’d pick him up and he’d go limp and lickeddy,
“Sigh, we’re safe. The wolf pack is one.”
Mornings were just are crazy. Our little puppy would rise
to the sun running from one body to the next,
yelping “Good Morning! I’m Alive. Are you? Lick, lick. Yes?
Mommy, check. Daddy, check.” And then he’d crack up in
doggy style hysterical laughter, rolling around on his back
as we’d try to ignore him and attempt to go back to sleep.
After a few years the level of excitement wore off. Sure,
he’d be happy when we’d come home. But,
it wasn’t like it used to be. He couldn’t quite
jump around like before. It was more like a business transaction.
“Okay, you’re home. Good. Walk me. Feed me.
Now let me go back to sleep.”
In time his eye sight faded and then his hearing. But he’d
find his way up the stairs and to the food bowl. And whenever
I moved from one room to the next, he’d know and
follow me there. I don’t know how he did it, but he did.
I guess the nose never quit.
Only July 4th, after almost 14 years of love, he had a
grand mal seizure. It took several doctors and no
final answer, but today Dudley ran over the Rainbow Bridge.
Fortunately for us, he left his love and our memories behind.
He’s probably running steeple chases
and snoozing under a cool breeze
waiting for his wolfy pack to arrive.
© 2011 Sara Coslett