Because of the dog's joyfulness, our own is increased. It is no small gift. It is not the least reason why we should honor as well as love the dog of our own life, and the dog down the street, and all the dogs not yet born.
We lost our Popeye Willie this week. He suffered a seizure on Monday that proved to be too much for our little guy. On Wednesday he passed over the rainbow bridge to join his two bichon sisters, Daisy and Sadie.
Popeye was my constant companion. We adopted him when he was three and I was going through my first round of chemo for ovarian cancer. When I eventually retired from teaching because of a recurrence, it was Popeye who helped me transition to being home full time. He became my best buddy.
Popeye kept me on my toes, if only because he was always getting into mischief. Here are just some of a few shenanigans he became famous for:
He once jumped high enough to grab a carrot cake off the counter and devour it for dinner.
He was capable of opening cabinet doors in order to access the garbage cans.
Chives from the garden were his favorite snack.
Food could not be left on the table for any length of time. He ate a bowl of spaghetti within fifteen minutes after coming home with us for the first time.
We used to like to say the Popeye was a good boy…except when he wasn’t.
He would hog the bed at night, endlessly chase squirrels in the backyard (always barking up the wrong tree), once cornered an opossum behind a row a hosta bushes, and thought nothing of breaking through the electric fence so he could go visit the neighbors (he couldn’t resist the four labradoodles next door).
But he also was always ready for a walk or a hike, even as he grew older and struggled with a bad knee that occasionally caused him to limp. He greeted both people and dogs that we’d meet with a cheerful bark, and loved when I brought him along to pick up prescriptions at CVS because it meant he’d get a treat from the clerk.
Speaking of treats, he was also spoiled by the UPS man, so much so that if the truck pulled into the driveway while we were outside he would jump onboard to get his treat rather than wait patiently in the yard.
I have a tendency to be absent-minded, which was a detriment after Popeye began being treated for lymphangiectasia, a rare intestinal condition that required he take a variety of meds throughout the day. I shouldn’t have worried that I’d forget; after the first few weeks Popeye had the schedule down pat and would let me know when it was time for his next pill. He was never off by more than an hour.
Sometimes I wondered who was taking care of who.
I will miss having him jump up on the couch to curl up next to me at the end of a day, and the way he would greet me in the morning with a quiet “woof”. I will miss seeing him wait at the top of the stairs for his Dad to come home each night, and how he would pester me endlessly for bits of carrots and red peppers when I made a salad.
He was such a joy.
Rest well, my sweet boy. We’ll see you on the other side.