Mary Fluke, who had cared for him since he was a puppy.We told stories and laughed and cried like children. We discovered right near the end that he liked tuna fish, and he must’ve eaten half a tuna’s worth.
Mary Fluke, who had cared for him since he was a puppy.We told stories and laughed and cried like children. We discovered right near the end that he liked tuna fish, and he must’ve eaten half a tuna’s worth.Tags: American Essay Writing ServiceRelated Literature In Research PaperParoles Essaye BacheletMasters In Social Work CoursesHomework For 6th GradersCreative Writing Course OutlineAp EssaysAlternatives To Research PapersWorst Memory Essay2 Grade Homework Sheets
I’ve been meaning to write this for months, with the idea that you should celebrate the things you love while they’re still around. They could do surgery, but they can’t promise they’ll get the whole tumor, much less whatever else might be in there. The arthritis in his hips is so bad that our neighbor calls him the Little Soldier because he sort of goose-steps down the street. He has random seizures no treatment has been able to fix. After a while he’d prop his front paws on the console between our seats and lay his chin on my shoulder. Our old place had big yards and houses set back from the road. Alix and I are introverts, too, and we’ve always wondered if we raised Fred to be a loner.
He might have a few weeks, might not have tomorrow. I went out to get the paper and there was a white ball wriggling at the end of the drive. He’d stick his head out the back window, jowls blown back in the breeze, nostrils pumping with all the smells he was taking in. I stood there in the park and cried, partly because I knew how he felt.
Now in his last days, arthritis has made it harder for him to get down, so he backs into a corner and sort of slides down on the bed. We spent a year in Boston and it snowed 60 inches that winter.
He’d bound through the park across from our apartment and come home with a snootful of frost.
He used to lick the pad of his back left paw constantly, like a baby sucking its thumb.
But I need to say a few words about our old dog, Fred. Not that it matters to Fred—I’m pretty sure he can’t read this, although he has fooled us on many things over the years. A dog can love you in a way that caves in your heart. Our new house had a little yard and a front porch and lots of people walking around. It probably didn’t help, at least in that regard, that we neutered him. I always figured he was watering the spot, hoping they would grow back. He won’t go near the AC vents in the floor—I’m pretty sure he thinks the air coming out of there is monster breath. I read somewhere that it’s a hard-wired memory from the days when wild dogs tamped down the grass before they slept. Every year he wilts a little more in the summer, and every year he perks up in the fall. We had a big storm at the old house one day, and he dove in and out of the snow like a dolphin. We had our vet check more than once for a splinter or an infection. He spins around six or eight or 10 times before he lies down. It was early November 2001, a couple of months after 9/11. We put him in their yard while we figured out what to do. We spent some of our finest days back there, picking up pecans or weeding the flower beds as our dog and our tabby cat played in the grass. At night Fred would sleep in a crate in the garage, and Rocket slept in the seat of our John Deere riding mower. Our yard didn’t have a fence, so we took him across the street to our neighbors, Bill and Susie. I wanted to call him Herschel, after my favorite football player, the great Herschel Walker, who won the Heisman for the University of Georgia when I was a freshman there a million years ago. When the door lifted enough for Alix to see, she saw two things: One, Fred had in fact scared the geese silly—they were taking off toward the pond. She showed it to Fred, and he instantly dropped the gosling. Fred had cradled it in his mouth the whole time, never biting down. Sometimes I’d roughhouse with him and he’d grab my arm with his teeth, a million years of wild dog battling a thousand generations of breeding. I’d stand at the corner of the garden fence and watch. I’d dig a treat out of my pocket and hold it high where he could see. It was an expression of natural joy, his ears blown back, his eyes wide, every muscle in perfect sync. He never stopped on time and so he would go flying past and slam on the brakes, scrabbling in the dirt like a cartoon. We think he got dumped in the street, or escaped a bad place. In that big backyard at the first house, we had a garden and a couple of pecan trees.Never shy, I tapped on the young woman’s door to ask her what kind of dog it was. I thought when the time was right I would make a decision, consider breeds, look around.We live in Nashville, where people do things like this and no one is frightened or surprised. The truth is, I too was a woman who lived in an apartment that didn’t accept dogs. My puppy tucked her nose under my arm and the hundred clever dog names I had dreamed up over a lifetime vanished. “Rose.”I was 32 years old that spring, and all I had ever wanted was a dog.We’ve spent so many nights standing in the cool air on this street we love, staring at the stars, listening to the neighborhood owls, or just watching Fred prance around the yard and catalog the smells. I didn’t know what to do on that first night without him, so I walked out in the yard and stared at the stars and thanked him again for coming into our lives. One thing I hope is that we’ll be able to sit down and have a conversation with Fred.Have him tell us why goose poop tastes so good, where he really liked to be rubbed, whether we did right by him at the end. It’s most likely one of two cancers, both malignant. And even if it works, the specialist said, he’s not likely to make it to 15. At the time, we lived in a house in Derita with a long driveway. When Fred wandered off, Rocket would come back down and stroll into Fred’s line of sight. Finally Alix and I figured out a trick: We’d get the car and drive to where he’d wandered. Back then, there was nothing he liked better than a car ride. But some dogs are alpha dogs, and Fred is an omega. Once we took him to a dog park, and three or four other dogs jumped him right when we got inside. He was OK, but the rest of the time he was there, he went off by himself to the far corners of the park. We were all walking around with holes in our lives. We walked back to our house, and about halfway up the drive, I looked back. The cat, Rocket, would let Fred chase him and then head up a tree when he got too close. After Rocket died a year or so later, Fred would chase a cat now and then, but he never tried hard to catch one. Every so often he’d get loose and take off, exploring the neighbors’ backyards. He’d look over his shoulder at me and trot just out of reach, like Rocket used to do to him.