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