Farewell to a dog, man’s best friend
I made a tough decision this week and had Holly Dog euthanized. She was nearly 15. I buried her in her pen in the back yard where I can look out and see the mound, and remember.
She was a great dog and wonderful companion. Holly was my daughter's dog. I brought her home on Christmas Eve, 15 years ago, thus the name Holly. In the car, on the trip home, when she curled up on my lap, we bonded. I knew she was a special dog. She was.
When my daughter went off to college, and then got married, Holly became my dog. She's been with me through thick and thin. If I went to sleep on the couch at night
watching television, Holly would poke me in the ribs with her sharp nose to let me know it was time for bed.
Being a jack russell terrier, she was quite the varmint dog. She must've had a dozen or so squirrels notched on her collar. And bird catcher. Holly Dog would lie in wait in the back yard, and let the birds settle down underneath the bird feeder. She would then charge the flock, often nabbing a sparrow or dove as it lifted off the ground. If she missed, she would hunker down and wait. As the bevy circled and came back in for a second landing, she would leap high and nab one in mid air. I've never seen anything like it.
My son and daughter were home for Memorial Day. I informed them of my decision to put Holly to sleep before her suffering became severe. She was nearly blind and deaf, on a lot of meds, and storms terrorized her. The kids were sad but agreed with my decision. Of course, the Holly Dog stories poured forth.
There was the time Holly Dog went to college. We were on vacation and had a neighbor look after Holly. Holly got loose and went into a building on the Iowa Wesleyan College campus. The students thought it was hilarious, and joined in the capture of the “educated” Holly Dog.
When she was one year old, and being the Christmas dog, Holly found her own present under the tree and opened it.
She was a great “sick” dog. If a family member was sick, she would curl up with the sick person and not leave his or her side.
The greatest Holly Dog story, however, was the time she won the Berry Best Dog award at the Strawberry Festival in Farmington. It was the second year I had entered her in the contest. The first year we were smoked. I made up my mind that wasn't going to happen again. I bought a cute little strawberry-looking outfit for her to wear. She would have nothing to do with it. I entered her in all the contest categories, like most obedient, best costume, best trick, dog/master look-a-like, etc. We lost on every one. Totally discouraged, I figured she didn't have a chance with the Berry Best Dog award. But we went through the motions. She won! Holly just looked at me like, “I told you, I'm the number one dog.”
I'm going to miss my twice-a-day walks with Holly Dog. I think I enjoyed the walks more than she did. I'm also going to miss her curled up on my lap in the mornings when I'm in my chair reading and writing. I don't know a more peaceful feeling in the world than a good book, a cup of coffee, and nice warm puppy on my lap.
It was only fitting and proper that the first rose on my rose bush bloomed on the morning I buried Holly Dog. I brought the rose in the house to fragrance things up and help take my mind off the absence of Holly. She's leaving a big hole. Everywhere I look, I see signs of her. Dog is God spelled backwards, you know.
Have a good story? Call or text Curt Swarm in Mt. Pleasant at 319-217-0526, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit his website at www.empty-nest-words-photos-and-frames.com