I stumbled across this photo from about 1999 of a guy and his dog.
While continuing to go through photos I came across this one of Avis.
These dogs have graced the lives of one or another or both us. I look often at this collage, usually with a smile on my face and in my heart. Clockwise from top right:
Just a saying about the impact they had on us.
Rex, a very sweet boy. Faye adopted him sight unseen. Despite his blindness, HW positive diagnosis and treatment, and other concerns, he was always a sweet, loving, courageous boy whose sense of direction and location was as sure as that of many sighted animals. His job was to be loving and to show the way.
Moonpie ran into my yard and heart as a tiny puppy. Enthusiasm was her watchword and how she lived her life. She was a delightful Labx who never would swim but loved chasing a ball and whose life came to a shockingly abrupt, all too early end.
Kingsley Leigh was my friend Marian’s dog, and she taught me the love of and for dogs. Kingsley was an extraordinary dog, smart, sensitive, mischevious. I had not had any dogs in my life before her, and now I cannot imagine ever living life without a dog.
Ah, Corndog. He strayed from his previous home into my life and though he went back to that home he never left and eventually came back for good. Corndog never met a human or a dog he disliked.
BoJo was hard done by. He’d been abandoned outside a shelter which took him in anyway, had pretty much run out of time there, had very bad hips which must have hurt terribly. None of these things were his fault. Faye saw to it that we gave him two comfortable years that he would not have otherwise had. I did not give him the credit he deserved. My loss.
Bruno guarded Faye throughout his life, which regrettably ended before I met him. He was loyal, a marvellous companion by all accounts I have read and heard and I wish I could have met him.
Avis was the second dog in my adult life. She could be hard-headed, even morose, and sometimes difficult to control. It didn’t help that I was ignorant, lacking in knowledge and self-awareness. Dussie was nearly fearless and full of character, once at eleven years of age launching herself at a GSD/wolf mix.
I am doubtful there is a Rainbow Bridge, that concept, that philosophy seems awfully egocentric to me. Who would Corndog choose? Why should he choose me, a bit player in the totality of his approximately nine years of life? He had a pretty good life at his previous home so why would he come running up to me? And, he loved all people. I would be not at all offended if he continued loving whatever human was scritching his ears when I entered.
I don’t often shed tears that they are gone. Instead I prefer to be grateful, and to try to remember and apply the lessons they taught while they were in my life.
Today, I told some people at work stories about my dog Avis.
She was literally a flea market dog – adopted at a flea market for some acquaintances who backed out at the last minute, leaving me holding the bag (or should I say holding the puppy).
Avis was a spaniel(?) mix who weighed about 30 lbs and was quite a character. She escaped three times that I remember, once being bailed out of the pound. She was almost fearless, once launching herself at a GSD/wolf hybrid, only escaping unscathed because I and the other human alertly brought our leashes up short and backed away. She liked being in the water but never learned to kick with her hind legs which resulted in some comical/unsettling moments as she sank by the back end, being resolved by fitting her with a flotation jacket.
As she aged she mellowed (thank goodness!), enjoying more lap and couch time. Ambles around the block became quite enough. She tolerated the addition of younger dogs – Moonpie, Stella, Corndog, foster dogs – to the household.
In early 2005 and at fifteen years of age she had had enough, which is a story in itself. It was time to let go of her. I do not grieve for my loss. While I do sometimes shed a tear or two, the bargain we make with having and loving dogs is that we will almost certainly outlive them. I don’t mourn, I look back and am grateful that I owned her and learned something about the love of and for dogs.