|LSR Clue, 1995 - 2010|
I am sure, about now, that some of my readers will be thinking that the observations contained in this post are both a little maudlin and a bit overdone. The death of a pet, to those who have never had an animal companion, probably does not seem like a major loss when considered in the greater scheme of things. In thinking this, however, I believe that those unlucky individuals who approach animals in this way could not be more wrong.
Not an hour goes by, but that I am reminded of the gap our dog’s death has created in our daily lives. Clue was really mainly my wife’s dog. This is not a complaint, but simply an observation. I have enjoyed the loyal companionship of many wonderful canine friends over the course of my life, but for my wife of almost forty years, Clue was special. She was, in many ways, the perfect dog that my wife, from her earliest childhood, had always wanted: obedient, well-mannered, startlingly intelligent, affectionate to everyone she met, and in her younger days, full of playful energy and boundless enthusiasm. Of course, in her later years, Clue’s playful energy and enthusiasm declined markedly. Nonetheless, she was still a constant and welcome part of our family's everyday routine. On most afternoons, while my wife was at work and I sat at home staring blankly at my computer screen trying to think of something modestly sensible to write, Clue would wake up from her morning nap — old dogs sleep quite a lot — and amble a little unsteadily over to curl up right behind my chair. There she would stay until either my wife returned home from work in the late afternoon, or it was time for her dinner (curiously, her “appetite” clock always seemed to run about a half hour faster than any of our real clocks).
Clue, as those who are familiar with the breed will know, was actually quite old for a Boxer when she died, and because of her advanced age, her day-to-day behavior around the house gradually changed in a number of eccentric, but endearing ways. She had become quite deaf in her later years, so she learned to communicate her various wants (to go outside, to eat, etc.) by licking my or my wife’s leg. Her deafness also led her to stay within eyeshot of either my wife or me at all times; if she woke up to find herself alone in a room, she would immediately patrol the house until she had located one or both of us. If I retreated to my game room — the only room in our house to which she was never allowed entry — she would follow me down the hall and curl up quietly outside the closed door until I finally emerged. Her devotion and good spirits were present to the very end.
The long and the short of it, I guess, is that I and my wife heartily miss our dog now that she’s gone, and will for a very long time to come.
Different cultures, I know, have very different attitudes towards dogs, as pets; however, for my own part, I tend to agree with the unnamed Englishman who long ago observed that any man who did not love dogs was unworthy of either trust or friendship. I would go one step farther and say that anyone who has not enjoyed the companionship, loyalty, and utterly uncritical devotion of a dog is, and always will be, the poorer for it. Our dog Clue is gone, but my wife’s and my lives are immeasurably richer for having known her; and the many happy memories of our years with our Boxer friend, I am positive, will be with us until the end of our days.