09 February 2009

What I mean to say

I was eleven years old when we got you. I kind of thought of you as a rebound dog at first. Samson, our first boxer, had died of heart worms not too long before we got you. He was eight at the time. This will sound terrible but at first I didn't really like you all that much. A lot of that probably had to do with the fact that you weren't Samson, the dog that I had grown up with. You also threw up in my lap on the way home from the house we bought you from; that didn't help your cause. But before too long I came around. You were, after all, one of the cutest puppies I have ever seen. How long was my hardened little eleven year old heart supposed to hold out against forces that adorable? Jeremy, my older brother, was really into the Bloom County comics at the time so he thought that Opus would be a good name for you. I didn't object because I idolized him. My parents didn't object because they had two children to contend with on the matter. Most people thought it was a goofy name for a dog but then again you were kind of a goofy-looking dog (no offense) so it fit pretty well. We had papers saying you were a full-blooded boxer. I don't think any of us ever actually believed that was true. We didn't care. You were awesome.

You used to be really damn good at getting out of the backyard and terrorizing the neighborhood. By "terrorizing" I really mean "slobbering on". You were a big, intimidating looking animal and most people were scared shitless of you but in truth you wouldn't have hurt a fly. You were scared of most any loud noises: thunder, vacuum cleaners, the trash compactor, garbage disposals, etc. I chased you around the neighborhood more times than I care to remember. When you got out you never jumped the fence but rather when you were smaller you dug under it and once you got big enough you just ran through the damn thing. It's a sight to behold watching a 100 lb boxer ram a wooden fence until it splinters just so he can piss on the neighborhood mailboxes.

Mom always had allergies so you weren't allowed in the house all that often before she moved out. When it was cold or raining she would let you sleep next to the backdoor but not venture any further. I remember laying with you down there a lot of times when you were scared of the thunder and shaking. I had allergies, too, but I didn't care. You were awesome.

I moved off to college and about three months later Mom moved out and after that it was just you and Dad for a long time. I wish I could have spent more time with you during these last seven and a half years. Dad ended up getting another dog about 4 or 5 years ago. You had started acting pretty depressed and Dad and I agreed that it would be good to get you someone to play with. It worked out pretty well and Baxter has become part of the family now. Of course after a few years of that you started showing your age and you didn't have the energy or patience to keep Baxter entertained anymore so Dad got another rescue dog to keep Baxter happy. Lucky for us all of the dogs seemed to get along well enough and now Baxter and Toffee are keeping guard over your old spot in the kitchen.

Even towards the end when it got to be so hard for you to get up and move around I could still see so much life in the expressions on your face. And although I know that this was the right thing to do the look in your eyes the last time I saw you makes it a lot harder to deal with.

You should have heard Dad when he called earlier today to tell me. He was really upset. It was all that I could do not to start crying right there in the cafeteria. It was really hard to finish out the day at work. I haven't cried about anything at all since Pawpaw died twelve plus years ago and now I'm sitting here at my laptop bawling like a toddler with a skinned knee. I'm really angry at myself right now, too, because I don't have many pictures of you to show everyone just how pretty you were. I loved you a lot, Opus. I still do. I don't even want to imagine what the house in Irondale is like without you there. I know it's going to seem empty. You've been there loving us for the last 14 years and I can tell you now that you'll be with me forever, loved. Thank you so much for always being such a great dog and wonderful friend.

1 comment:

Ari said...

Oh dear God in Heaven! I'm now bawling like a baby! I love my dog more than anything...like I said, if you need some puppy-love just let me know - Matthias loves to love people