Friday, March 18, 2005

 

Friday Blog Blogging - TBogg's Thursday Basset Blogging

TBogg is one of the funniest liberal bloggers out there - and one of the best writers anywhere.

It's a bit of a tradition (as much as any activity as recently spawned as blogging can have "traditions") for bloggers to post pictures of their cats on Friday (I have no idea why).

I can't post pictures (if I could, you'd love my stupid but gorgeous and adorable little cat, Tuppence), so on Fridays, I blog blogs - immortalize (yeah, right) one especially good blogpost I read during the previous week.

TBogg blogs his lovable basset hounds, on Thursdays (I'm not sure why Thursday instead of Friday, but so what?)

Anyway, this week, he paid tribute to his first basset hound, in a way that proved, once more (not that we needed any proof), of just how mighty are his writing chops. Go read the whole thing (it's too long for me to post more than just excerpts.)
Thursday Basset Blogging - Memorial Edition

St. Patrick’s Day has a special meaning in our family. We’re not Irish (far from it), but when every St. Patrick’s Day arrives we get a little sad and a little sorrowful (just like the Irish…but without the drinking) because it was on this day seven years ago that we had to have our first basset, Cooder, put down.

Here’s my Cooder story.

About eighteen years ago, I was in negotiations to take a job where I would be doing a considerable amount of traveling and so my wife said she wanted to get a dog to keep her company while I was away. Fine. We both grew up with dogs and it was inevitable that we would end up with one anyway. Now I’m a pure breed kind of guy, my parents bred hunting dogs and we had our share of Springer Spaniels, German Shorthaired Pointers, and Golden Retrievers, so we starting looking into what kind of a dog we wanted. For some reason, we initially looked at West Highland Terriers (also known as Westies) but, after sitting in a room with what appeared to be a heavily caffienated one, I said “no way”. In an off-handed remark, I mentioned that maybe we should get something like a basset that didn’t require too much action and was content to sleep while we were away at work..

Long story…short dog. I was in Riverside when I received an urgent call from my wife. She had found a basset puppy, the last male of the litter, and she wanted me to see him before he was sold. I hurried back to San Diego and didn’t even get to sit down before we headed out the door for the breeder’s house. There were three puppies left: two females and a slightly undersized male who had enormous ears. I had the impression that he was the runt of the litter which is why he was still around, but, damn, he was cute and snuggly, and so I told my wife, “Let’s take him” which it turned out was a forgone conclusion since she had already paid for him earlier in the day.

We called him Cooder. Now, if you remember, Cooder was supposed to be my wife’s dog and he liked her just fine, but he loved me. Wherever I was, there was Cooder. If I was sitting on the couch, he was sitting next to me. If I lay down, he lay down next to me with his head on my shoulder and minutes later he would be asleep, softly snoring in my ear. If my wife made his dinner, he wouldn’t eat it. I would have to go pick up his bowl, take a spoon and stir it, and then he would eat. On walks he treated strangers with indifference. They could pet him and talk to him, but he would just look away until they were done. Only my parents could elicit a tail-wag from him. He made himself my dog without my ever asking.

:::snip:::

Cooder gets sick. It started out as a lump on his right hip. At first we thought it was fatty tissue but it kept getting larger and then we knew what it would turn out to be. An operation and it was gone, but then another one showed up. Another operation and we thought we had it knocked. Then I started noticing the blood in his urine. Outwardly he seemed fine, but the bad stuff was working overtime inside of him. St. Patrick’s Day 1998, I got up to take Cooder out and he couldn’t stand up. I kept trying talk him into willing himself to get up, but he just couldn’t do it. Then I pleaded, I begged. Then I hugged him to me and I cried. We knew then what we had to do and I picked Cooder up and carried him to the car for his last trip to the vet. The last thing I will ever remember about him was the look of bewilderment on his face. His mind was there, but his body was gone. Then, soon enough, so was he. My wife and I took the day off, and we walked down to the beach past all the bars where the St. Paddy’s Day celebrations were in full swing. We talked about what a great dog he was and we talked about what we would tell Casey when we picked her up from school. But mostly we talked about us and how he had been there for most of our married life.

Every year, prior to Christmas, I climb up into what passes for an attic in our house to bring down the Christmas decorations. Sitting next to those boxes full of ornaments and lights and wrappings is a small lidded-box. Inside that box are Cooder’s collar, tags, food bowl, and his last rawhide chew. And every year I pull them out and look at them and remember. Then I put them away for another year and remind myself to always keep them and to always remember the dog that I loved and who loved me. He was my friend.

So if you’re going out tonight to heft a beer for St. Paddy, have one for Cooder. He would have ignored you, but you would have loved him anyway.
I wish I could post photos, because Cooder was/is really cute. Go look.

:::gulp::: This one's for you, Cooder.
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