Monday, April 4, 2011

D is for Dog

April 5, 2011
A to Z Blogging Challenge
Day 4 - D


While I didn’t have a cat until I was eight or nine years old, I’ve always had dogs. In fact, my very first word was my version of the name of the dog.

I’ve had dogs, but it’s the last two who’ve enriched my life beyond the others. Callahan and Jett. The only time in my life I’ve been without a dog was between Cal and Jett. When I had to have Callahan put down after he developed Cushings disease, I was too heartbroken to even think about getting another dog for two years.

Cal was a pointer/hound mix. He had a rich caramel brown saddle with a white chest and blaze, with even ticking. He was a handsome lad, but his best feature was his yellow eyes. No one – no one – messed with that dog. He was completely gentle, but at 90 pounds of pure muscle, he didn’t look it. Cal was my constant companion for the seven years I lived alone. During that time a dog in the house, especially a BIG one was comforting. It was quite a relief when the dog liked the new man in my life and vice versa.

Taking him for that last drive was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but the dog had started to suffer. It was time. He was twelve, and the clock only goes forward. Then the man’s health took a bad turn. There was surgery followed by chemotherapy and I didn’t think much about getting a puppy.

A little over two years after Cal’s death, I received a sign. I know lots of people don’t believe in signs. I don’t either when it comes to big, showy things. To me, a sign is something small only the individual recognizes. It could be a random thought sent by the subconscious, or a scent on the breeze that triggers a memory or decision. My sign it was time to get a puppy was something only I could receive – a dream. Within days I unexpectedly came by a black Lab pup.


Cal was an alpha dog. I’d arrive home from work and he was glad to see me, sure, but he didn’t smother me with affection the way this Lab does. The Lab is a beta boy, eager to please, and yet he does display a mind of his own, firmly refusing to heed my warnings about sleeping on the sofa. Cal made it clear he accepted me as pack leader – of a pack of two. I like to think Jett would be a fine protector if I was ever threatened, but with Cal, I knew it in my gut.

Jett is past nine now, and showing his age. Those dozen or so white hairs on his chin that were so adorable on his puppy self have now spread in an alarming path to cover his muzzle, almost to his eyes. His clock has suddenly begun to tick faster, and I catch myself already mourning him. It’s normal, I suppose, a way of preparing myself for the inevitable day.

My boys are very different, but each will always hold his own place in my heart. And if it’s true that all dogs go to heaven, then Jett will walk beside me on the road while noble Callahan forges ahead, nose to the ground, to sit patiently waiting by the gate for us to catch up.

3 comments:

Jen Daiker said...

This was such a sweet post. I do believe that all dogs go to heaven, just like all pets go to heaven... at least some sort of lovely place.

What a fabulous blog! I'm stopped in to welcome you to the A to Z blogging challenge! I'm a co-host, should you need anything don't hesitate to ask! I do hope you'll stop by for a visit!! We're also on twitter (I'm @jenunedited and we're at #atozchallenge)!

KC Kendricks said...

Thanks for stopping by Between the Keys! I'll have to zip over to twitter and get onboard.

Liz Fichera said...

"All dogs go to heaven..." I so LOVE that. I love dogs too and your pics are precious.

Nice to meet you today, KC!