Since Saturday morning I have been thinking to myself “Who gets so upset over a dog?” In the past few days, while receiving the love and kindness of coworkers, friends & family I’ve realized a lot of people get so upset over a dog. I’ve seen grown men cry, strangers tear up and people consoling me with understanding eyes. I’ve heard people say “Pets are like family members,” and my cynicism takes over. “No,” I think, “pets are animals. That’s it, just animals.” Well, if that were the case I would not be writing this blog.
I won’t pretend that I’m “over it,” but I am slowly recouping from the trauma of losing a bad dog. He was bad. He chased birds, he ate the trash and he was a lousy guard dog. He was afraid of everything—especially squirt bottles which he would be threatened with while he barked at birds and did loop-de-loops around the house. I would come home to his piercing screeches of “I NEED TO GO OUT NOW” and I was awoken by him on more than 1,000 Saturday mornings. He ate off plates unattended and he would get “rough” when playing with the other smaller dogs. He had sad eyes that stared you down when he had jumped into your seat and growled for its ownership. He shed his red hair in every area of the house. He climbed couches, made holes in furniture and scratched the shit out of the windowsills.
He left his mark in every room. Now that he’s gone, these are all the reminders we have of him. Some of the reminders we hold onto are the noises, the annoyances and the things that once made us scream his name. Now, we wish we had those moments back.
Much like when a young person dies, saying good-bye to a young dog is hard. He was 6 and had a heart-attack; probably from the stress that life had put on him, but I guess we’ll never know. We got him from the NBC 10 show where they promote adopting from the SPCA. Someone had, most likely, abandoned him & abused him. They showed him off as "Shamus" a skinny pure-bred that, as a 1-year-old, looked like life had not treated him kindly. We hit the doggy lotto; an Irish Setter for free! He was a bad dog. He was timid and gangly when we first got him. He was my replacement. I moved out to college, Rudy (previously known as Shamus) was the new member of the house.
We’ve been able to console ourselves with the stories of his life. The time he ran away and I lured him into the house with a slice of pizza, or that time he almost ate a bird which sent my mother and I into hysterics. Then there was the last time I saw him when he, instead of screeching as I entered the house, jumped up on his back legs and hugged me in the best way a dog can. I wish I could hear him screech again, something I thought I would never say.
So this is my eulogy for Rudy; a bad dog who I will miss more than I realized.