Sunday, August 14, 2011

If There's a Dog on the Cover, It Ends Sad

The title of this post is "advice" my son has given my daughter before about books. He is, of course, referring to books like Old Yeller and Where the Red Fern Grows that just tear your heart out when the dog dies at the end. Well, this weekend, we had our own sad ending for our faithful dog of 13 years, Tracy.

When a dog gets to be that old, you know you won't have much more time with them. What's weird is that Tracy wasn't sick. She just disappeared Friday. She went for a walk with me Friday morning, but when we came home from a long day at band practice and uniform fittings, she wasn't there to greet us by trying to climb into the vehicle, as she normally does. We haven't seen her since. Because Tracy wasn't the type of dog to run around the neighborhood, we're pretty sure something has happened to her.

But what? As I said, she stayed around the yard most of the time. We checked the ditches up and down our country road, in case she might have wandered out to the road and been hit by a car - nothing. We looked in the horse pasture, because she had recently decided it's great fun to bark at the horse, who usually bucks and kicks in response. We thought maybe she was foolish enough to bark at him within kicking distance, but there was no sign of her. We wondered if maybe she went visiting our neighbor's little dog (who comes by pretty regularly), but he showed up today briefly, looking for her, I guess. She hadn't been sick, just a little arthritic in one hip. I guess it will always be a mystery. The sad thing is, we lost another dog last summer in almost the same fashion - she just disappeared.

So, in the best "dog story" fashion, here are a few words about Tracy. She came to us as a puppy from the local shelter, the only pet we've chosen for ourselves (all the other dogs we've had over the years were dumped off along our country road and chose us). As a puppy, she was a chewer - I remember she pulled a quilt off the clothesline once and tore a hole in it that I had to mend. When we got a second dog, she quit chewing on things and chewed on him instead. She was always curious, getting up from her comfortable "cool" spot even on these dreadfully hot days this summer to come with me to the clothesline or the barn. Many dogs get grumpy as they get older; Tracy seemed to get sweeter and more loving. She would "talk" to us by whining, especially to my husband, who I think was her favorite.

Several times already today, I've looked for her when I went outside. It's going to be lonely around here without her.

1 comment:

Ephemera said...

That makes me very, very sad :( She was such a sweet dog.