Sometimes, with people who like dogs, and every once in awhile even when they don’t; a special bond develops. This relationship can happen at any age, but it seems to me that it is most common with children and when your children have moved on. There are many movies and shows about the love of kid and dog, not so much I think about ARP readers love for their dog. They have more in common than you might think. In both cases, there is more of a parity between person and dog. The value equation is more even. There is a shared sense of vulnerability even when one party appears fearless. In the case of an old dog you commensurate about younger days before the vicissitudes of time exacted its present toll. A puppy or kitten represents innocence and bring maternal & paternal instincts out in the person. I remember my Dad once telling me a story about a kitten. He had been a WWII Marine and the story went like this, they were taking an island (Marines don’t try, they do) in the middle of the chaos, blood and fear there was this damn kitten whose mom had been killed. He tucked the kitten inside his shirt and they made it through the battle. My Dad said the kitten was adopted and loved by the whole unit. We thought as long as that kitten lived part of the world we once believed in was still intact. In a world without innocence you are not protecting, just killing. He said it was special to them, but a common story. Any relationship has three main factors; Party A and their present & past baggage, Party B and their present & past baggage, but what makes that special bond is that something more the happens when A & B interact. When Zane ( not a real dog, a chihuahua I called Zanyiac) & my wife took up residence together the knot was tied. Zane had her the first time he growled at me when I tried to wake her up. Zane was protector of her sleep and he was her hero. She quickly forgot that she, like me, didn’t like little dogs. He was an annoying little dog to anyone but the immediate family. He was noted for his long flowing black tail and a massive overbite. He was well past puppyhood, but still had a youthful disposition. I called him bat dog cuz he looked like a bat. Zane was fearless and would get himself in awkward situations. You always knew he would be okay, he was on’ry and mischievous. A Dennis the Menace to those of a certain age. This episode, the last, took an ugly turn.
My wife had a front row seat to watch the climactic scene. Zane had manage to get his small body through the fence into the neighbor’s yard in an effort to introduce himself to four real dogs. He was not welcome. I bear no animosity, at least not much, Zane was perceived to be an intruder and as such the real dogs were well within their “stand your grounds rights” to hold him within their powerful jaws and crush the life out of him and parade him around like a carnival prize. By anthropomorphizing the event I am not trying to take a cheap shot at my neighbor dogs, it is an effort to see through my wife’s eyes. We project our feelings and perception of the world onto our pets. That is what we do, especially so with dogs and generally the stronger the bond the more we do it. It’s not a one way street, dogs special gift is their ability to identify with people. I am guessing dogs project on to humans dog characteristic. I imagine they consider us limited. There is a whole world of smells we simply don’t seem to get. So much info to be had with a sniff, I imagine dogs laugh at us thinking no wonder they spend so much money on communication equipment. Enough commentary back to the episode, consider this a commercial break.
My wife watched and listened helplessly behind a locked privacy fence, when she wasn’t at the front door pounding, pleading for someone to answer. No one was home. I would say I came running and leaped the fence like a Marine negotiating a wall running toward danger; but literary license only goes so far. I made running like movements, which actually kind of surprised me and somehow waddle over the fence, feeling some of the vulnerability of Zane. I was carried forward by the knowledge Zane never let fear stop him, even when discretion was a far better option. I did not know these dogs personally and wasn’t sure about invading their territory without introduction in the middle of a frenzy. They had release Zane into the mud, two of the predators circling Zane, I moved toward him trying hard to remain calm while being bombarded by a complexity of sound and emotion. My wife emitting the sounds of true horror, the real dogs somewhere between a bark and growl, on point. Then there was the sounds of the Zanes’ squeaking still ringing in my ears and the deafening silence of their absence, and no apparent signs of life. I received the luck that was withheld from Zane, without incident I walked over and cradled their prized kill and my wife’s heart in my arms and walked backed to the fence. It was not a high fence and I was able to coax my wife close and reach Zane over to her. The spectacle that greeted me when I manage with increased difficult to get back over the fence left me without words. The only way I could describe it was to reference a scene from Tombstone, one of my favorite movies. Wyatt is in the street covered in his brothers blood after he just died. There is no consoling a pain that is solitary. His world view had been rip violently, unimaginable apart. Covered in Zane’s blood she staggered into the street. My daughter and daughter in-law came quickly. My daughter in-law is an emergency Vet Tech and confirmed he was dead. The moment having passed my daughter hugged and cried with my wife with a closeness I had not seen before. The house feels different now, the youthful energy and hope is gone. When you start getting older it gets easy to mark off things you can’t or don’t do anymore. Sometimes it is hard not to let hope and faith be among them.
In the time, this too shall not really pass, as much as fade.