“…all stories, if continued far enough, end in death, and he is no true-story teller who would keep that from you.” ~ Ernest Hemingway
This story begins on a Sunday afternoon in June of 1998. I had gone out to see a movie and as I approached my car to return home I noticed a man standing at the edge of the parking lot. There was something at his feet on the grass just at the edge of the pavement. It was a puppy. No collar or tags, underweight, covered in fleas. It did this thing where it put its chin on the ground, looked up at us with dark brown eyes, and inched forward with the front paws while trailing the hind legs straight back. It was one of the most pathetic things I have ever seen.
I already had a dog [the Pooter Dog] and didn’t want another one, but I couldn’t just leave the mutt there. I took her home and cleaned her up a little. The next day I took her to the veterinarian to get her checked out. The doctor estimated that she was about 12 weeks old. I put signs up in the businesses all around the area where I found her hoping someone would claim her. After a week I watched the two dogs playing together and suddenly realized, I have two dogs.
Online, and often in real life, I call her the Peanut Pup. Other names [in addition to her real name -- and this seems like a long list, but these were spread over the course of 14 years] include Baby, the Fluffy Puppy, the Flying Purple Tongue, my Shadow, and the Chicken Dog. Peanut is the most timid creature I have ever known. She has always wanted to be right under my feet. I had her for more than a year when a vet-tech commented on how gentle she was for a Chow-mix. I had no idea that Chows were bred to be guard dogs and have the reputation of being as vicious as Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, or any other misunderstood/mistreated breed you can name. While I could see how powerfully she was built, I don’t think she knew it.
The mutts were happy to see me every single day. It’s the darnedest thing. And they made me a better person. Losing Pooter Dog last April was among the saddest times in my life. Peanut helped me get through that.
“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.” ~ Will Rogers
Yesterday was a glorious Indian Summer day — clear blue skies, warm sun, and cool breezes. Almost perfect. Except that Peanut didn’t want to get up. With age and arthritis, she more and more often wants to sleep late some days. I can relate. This time though, even when I helped her up she went right back down. I took her to the vet and confirmed what I knew. It was time to let my friend go.