Walt the wonder dog

September 1, 2011 at 3:04 pm (family, loss, poems) ()

Listening earlier today, as I tortured myself up a treadclimber, to a priest of whom I am a regular listener, he said in his weekly homily “we’ve been surrounded by death around here this week”…. and went on to count out the number of funerals in their parish, losses in his personal life etc.

I have been surrounded by death recently too.   Won’t go into details, but I do want to say something about our basset hound Walter Pigeon (Admiral in the Royal Navy).  He was 10 years old (yes, makes him 70 blah blah) and lived a dog’s life – as hounds do in their particular way;  went from sleep to death while riding on the floor of our family van, as recounted in a previous post.

His eyes were velvety brown, deep and amazingly expressive … which you would know if you were ever on the receiving end of his hypnotic attempt to guide you with his eye gaze over to the treat jar, eventually resorting to turning and pointing his whole head if one wasn’t swift enough to pick up on his meaningful gaze.  Or his feigning injury to fake out another dog in order to swoop in and snatch that poor beast’s treat;  he was all about the treats by the way … not balls, toys, and certainly not a dumb stick.  Not sure if it was  because of his six-inch legs, but the diner was always open in Walter Pigeons world and food was never a need to be questioned or put off. Thus the well-practiced and almost hypnotic eye gaze to treat jar routine.

Thunderstorms were Walter Pigeon’s Achilles heel.  He would wake you at night, politely, with a restrained woof as he sat on the floor next to the bed.  Once all were up, he went through his regular routine of heading to the basement with person in tow, sometimes he went under a piece of furniture, other times he was satisfied with just having you next to him.  My husband says it was because Walter knew that lightning would strike the tallest thing around, so if he laid next to an upright human …. well, surely he hadn’t thought it out that much.  Another thing, Walter had an extraordinary sense of self-preservation.  Trouble?  RUN in the opposite direction, or more usually he would be seen crouching and trying to silently exit the area, while drawing as little attention to himself as possible. It was an amazing thing to see a dog exhibit such self-control.   We had long decided that if we ever saw him heading out in his crouch position we should just go along with him and if Trouble occurred while we were sleeping we knew we’d be in trouble because Pigeon would be long gone.

I had a dream about Walter Pigeon last night:  he was lying there on the floor as usual and I was so happy to see him that I woke up … then realized he was gone.  I don’t care what anyone says, dogs are in heaven too.  His ashes sit on my bedside table.  Have thought about putting them under the table, you know, in case of thunder?

White tipped tale waving

Above the tall grass at me

Walt patrols the pond

1 Comment

  1. Rebecca Olesen said,

    I am divorced, and upon divorcing agreed the doggies should stay with him, because they had always lived in that house and I wouldn’t have a yard. Our best and greatest dog was ‘snappy’. A foundling who had been abused, and was already a young grown up doggie, and brought home with us when our son was 3. He and Keith were buddies, the greatest. Our son passed at age 15, but Snappy lived on for 3 more years. One Wednesday night I dreamed I could not find a light the worked in my apartment, but their was light by the front door, and Snappy was standing at the door, facing it, but turning his head to look back at me. I petted him and said, oh Snappy, what are you doing here?

    When I woke up, Thursday morning, I thought, oh no…I need to call (my ex) and ask him if Snappy has died. Well Friday (my ex) called and chatted for 20 minutes before he could bring himself to tell me that Snappy had died, because he was trying not to cry when he told me (but failed). I asked when it had happened, and he said Wednesday night.

    I fully believe dogs have souls like humans. When I woke up from the dream, I knew he was gone and had swung by to tell me he was leaving. I pray all the time that he is in heaven with Keith, best buddies still.

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