We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Dogs can not talk. They can make grown men cry, when they have to be put down. I didn't cry when my mother died two years ago, I guess I was being strong for everyone else.
Lilly came into my life 14 years ago after a bad accident I had. She was a year old. A friend of mine dropped her off while they went to Florida. His wife was getting a job and they could not take care of her anymore, so if we liked her at the end of the week we could keep her.
She changed all our lives, especially mine. Helped me to cope when I was confined to a wheel chair. Was with me every step of the way, from the chair to rehab to crutches.
The best 20lb friend I ever had. She was a Jack Russell Terrier. R.I.P my good friend, I'll see you on the other side.
Chip's hospital is just out of town on a four-lane highway, and one day while he was in surgery he heard the girls laughing, "Dr. _, Dr. _, there's a semi pulled up in the parking lot taking up all the spaces." Chip finished up the surgery to greet Amos walking in with a little mutt held in his huge, black arms and a look of anguish on his face. Amos was about 6'5" and weighed about 300 pounds, and his little mutt weighed maybe ten pounds. Amos introduced himself to "Doc" and said, "Doc, I seen your place ever time I drives by, and I say to mysef if Fluffy gets sick, I knows where to go. An she's off her feed an here she is, Doc." Chip fixed her up for a minor tummy upset, and Amos went on his way after greeting all the secretaries and techs like old friends. His basso profundo voice carried throughout the hospital, and its mellifluous tones caught the ear of everyone and created an instant, mesmerizing love for Amos and his little Fluffy - named for the muttly spicules of hair that stood around her darling face.
Amos dropped in for 13 years with Fluffy, and everything seemed to stop as if he were a magnet for goodness, good stories, sweet beholdings, and for the love he beamed for Fluffy. He never made an appointment, and often enough, he'd make up a tummy problem just to drop in to see his "Doc" and friends. They learned he traveled the east coast with Fluffy as his constant companion,... so constant that she was allowed into the truck stops that Amos frequented.
In the thirteenth year, Fluffy was diagnosed with cancer and Chip wanted Amos to leave her with him for treatment. Amos couldn't do that; he said, "I can't, Doc. I be lost without my baby. Jes tell me what to do." Chip set him up the best he could, and Amos paid close attention and repeated everything so he'd get it right. He said he'd bring her by every trip. He did up until the time came to let her go. He came in that last time and the whole hospital knew and seemed to go into slow motion hoping time would stop for Amos and Fluffy. But it didn't and Chip went in to smooth things out for Amos' baby. Amos said, "I'm gonna be smiling right good for her, Doc, don't you worry." It was over quickly and Fluffy sagged in Amos' giant arms. Amos turned his head up and Chip slipped Fluffy out of his arms and passed her to a tech as the first wail came out of Amos. He keened so with grief that he fell into Chip's arms and sobbed. Chip led him to his office and took out the bottle of whiskey he kept there for sad times, and poured Amos half a shot. Amos cried so loud he apologized. "Lawww, Doc, I'm cryin like a little boy." By then everyone in the hospital was crying as Chip gently got Amos to tell stories about Fluffy so he could remark that she definitely was one special little girl, his road girl. After a time, Amos said farewell to those left standing and climbed back into his rig. After fifteen minutes, one of the secretaries told Chip Amos was out in his truck crying. Chip went out and climbed into the passenger side and shut the door. Everyone watched and sighed when Amos reached out a long arm to hug Chip, and then before a few minutes passed, they saw them laugh. Big laughs. One more big hug and Chip was back in the hospital and Amos was back on the highway. The girls asked Chip what he said to make Amos laugh, and Chip said, "I asked him what was the greatest thing about Fluffy. Amos said, 'She loved me. She lived to make me happy.' So, I said, 'Well stop crying 'cause she's up there crying because you are."
Amos said, "Lord, I owe her my smiles, don't I, Doc? And she's at peace at last."
Our 14 year old yellow lab is fading fast. In the past he rarely barked at all, just a solitary yip when he needed to go outside to do his business or his indoor water bowl was low. As of late he frequently goes into a 7 or 8 long deep throat-ed bark episodes. My wife and I are unable to determine what he needs.
His very first retrieve was on a drake woodie from a fast moving section of the upper Potomac River. The passing shot was a bit long from our brushed up blind on a sandbar. I sent him quickly but by the time he made it out to the drake they were about 100yds downstream. When he got back to the bank he was twice that and at a very steep ten foot high section. I left the blind worrying that he would need help on the slippery muddy bank. I had not made it twenty yards toward him when he came running through the mid October goldenrod and nettles delivering the drake to hand. He was ten months old.
Damn monitor has gone blurry on me...