Monday, June 1, 2015

Wilderness Dog Sammy


For the past few years, the last thing I’ve done each and every evening has been to pick him up from his bed in the living area, carry him down the back deck’s steps into the yard for one last wobbly constitutional, and then return him gently to his kennel in my office for the night. Only then have I been ready for sleep.

It’s the most mundane things that you miss.

In time, such things become threads in the fabric of your life. The staying subconsciously tuned to any small noise that might suggest that he’s caught in a corner or under a chair. The listening for his small raspy breaths to try to keep track of which of the many pet beds, scattered about the house, that he's settled into. The responding to any whimper that might suggest the need for a trip to the yard. The juggling of meals and medications and subcutaneous fluids that have kept him comfortable and with us. A geriatric terrier takes some attention.

And yes, there were "good" years. Many. The stories I could tell. But the last have also been good in their own way, our lives woven more tightly through a dependency and a dedication and a tenderness that is hard to comprehend, much less describe. Man and dog intertwined by needs at their barest. But the threads have been pulled and our cloth has unraveled. Things here just don't fit quite the same.

Now there’s no reason to keep the door to the basement stairs closed, lest he tumble down them. No reason to excuse ourselves from the party every three hours to run back to the house for a moment of relief. No reason to take each first step with care in the likely event that he’s settled underfoot, just to be close to us.

For the past few years, the first thing I’ve done each and every morning has been to ask “Is Sammy awake yet?”

It will take some time before the answer settles in.











Godspeed, little Wilderness Dog,
Scourge of squirrels, chaser of deer, defiler of tall weeds.
Go run with the big dogs once again.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

So very well said. I read with tears and smiles and a lonely feeling right now.
Live Free ...

Kevin Frank said...

I'm sorry for your loss Mike.

Donna P said...

A special little guy. I'm so happy that I had a few years to give him love. xoxo

Gramps (Mel) said...

Hey, Mike, my best to you and to your family, and, especially, Sammy. He runs free at this moment. Rest assured.. Hearts are intertwined with our pets forever!

Hope said...

Forever free

CathyB said...

My condolences, Mike. I went through the same routines with my bigger girls. Years of scheduling appointments during times when it was likely they wouldn't need me. Trying various diets and medicines to keep them going comfortably as long as possible. Mine have been gone seven or eight years now. I still miss them. And we haven't acquired new canines. It is impossible to imagine that any could be as amazing as the Banana Sisters: Razzmatazz and Moon.

Sweet dreams, Sammy

Guy Franzen said...

I give you my sympathy and this quote from Dean Koontz:
“Dogs, lives are short, too short, but you know that going in. You know the pain is coming, you're going to lose a dog, and there's going to be great anguish, so you live fully in the moment with her, never fail to share her joy or delight in her innocence, because you can't support the illusion that a dog can be your lifelong companion. There's such beauty in the hard honesty of that, in accepting and giving love while always aware that it comes with an unbearable price. Maybe loving dogs is a way we do penance for all the other illusions we allow ourselves and the mistakes we make because of those illusions.”

** said...

Beautiful Mike. My condolences. Dogs show us how to be in the world, and are more humane than most humans I know. They are a gift on borrowed time, who pull us back into our own tribe and make us better than we were.

Mike Sepelak said...

My thanks to each of you, here, for your kind expressions. He was a terrific little guy and will be terribly missed.

And Guy, that quote goes right to the heart of it. I thank you.

Chris L said...

Sorry for your loss Mike. Keep smiling by remembering all the wonderful times you two shared.

Mike Sepelak said...

Thanks, Chris.

Capt'n Preston McQueen said...

Another family member...

Mike Sepelak said...

They are indeed, Preston. And it hurts to see them go, though you know it will happen. It's worth the pain, though. Well worth.

Rich Beaudry said...

Mike, Remembering and remembering...

You know I dip in now and again and I always enjoy your thoughts and your slant on life. Sadly, "enjoy" isn't the word this time. Sammy was an amazing little man and, in sharing, you have brought back to me the difficult memories of all that have gone before -- and thoughts of the losses yet to come.

I hope you'll pause now and again and remember with us more of the good times when the hurt has faded as the love never will. Bounce on Sammy...

Rich