'My Old Dog'
I said good bye to an old friend last week. My dog Allie. A mutt with a crippled foot, sort of a long haired dachshund but not quite. She found me in downtown Cushing nearly 11 years ago and I took her home with me. She added much to my life that I have yet to fully fathom.
One week after taking her home I had a heart attack and in the ensuing weeks and months while Karen was working herself to death to nurse me back to health and keep the house and business afloat, this little bright eyed dog sat in my lap night and day keeping me company and letting me know I was not alone.
A few years later when Karen developed lung cancer Allie was her steadfast companion as well. Making certain only those she trusted were allowed near her sick bed without undergoing intense barking and close canine scrutiny. Karen was not one to think too highly of animals on the bed but she made a big smiling exception in the case of Allie. She would reach out to touch the dog and her face would dissolve into a peaceful countenance.
Unconditional love, non judgmental companionship, night or day, right or wrong, rain or snow and all those tired old cliches were made new and fresh with her presence.
At first thinking her crippled and bent front paw was a hindrance to her we babied her. Until a few days into her stay we noticed she could outrun the rabbits and squirrels in the back yard and climb the maple tree to harass the squirrels in their nests. I learned (again) from her not to judge a perceived handicap too readily, if at all.
After Karen passed away Allie and I got even closer, if that's possible. She had run of the house and the yard and loved to sit just inside the open front door splay legged and ears raised eagerly observing the activity on Broadway. And commenting from time to time.
Always ready to take a walk through the park or around the block. Or a ride through the country if it was offered. Or to simply sit by my side and do nothing at all. Whatever I needed in the way of a partner she was ready and willing with eager eyes. No questions asked.
She had not been herself lately and a couple of weeks ago took a big downhill slide seemingly overnight. Finally wheezing, wandering off in the dark, refusing to eat or drink, staring off into space with a vacant stare and then unable to even attempt to move it was quite obvious she had other things on her mind. Maybe she was thinking of new back yards, tall maple trees, new squirrels to chase, new paths to walk, a long sleep and a well deserved rest.
Thanks old friend. You were a bigger part of my life than you could ever have imagined.