Friday, September 29, 2006

"...the best old hound dog I ever did know."

Today I dug a deep hole in my backyard and buried my best friend Kesey.

The 18-year-old Basset Hound/German Shepherd mix was on a steady but slow decline over the past couple years, having suffered some doggy strokes, senility and overall creakiness. She was on various medications and had a tendency to fall over.

Last night she twitched a lot, and this morning she couldn’t get out of bed.

It was time. There was no question about it. She was slowly stripped of her dignity and today was the final straw.

The first order of business was to give Kesey her final meal. Fortunately, we had a fridge full of her favorite – roasted chicken with stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy. CP propped her up and hand fed her. Kesey looked dazed and confused, but wolfed down plenty of chicken.

Chicken made Kesey happy, which made me happy.

Then CP carried Kesey out to the car to take to the vet. I stayed home and worked on the hole. I made it nice and deep and smoothed out the edges.

When CP came home, we carefully lowered Kesey inside and placed her atop her blanket.

Everyone liked Kesey, even the cats. So it’s no surprise that they came out for the burial service.

A tennis ball was placed near Kesey along with a few flowers. She looked peaceful and comfortable in the hole, which made me feel a lot better.

After 18 years, you’d think I’d have something deep to say about my friend, but all I could mutter was “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. It’s been a good ride. I’ll miss you.”

CP said a prayer and then it was time to finish the deed. I suggested to CP that this might be a good time to leave and she agreed, being that grave diggers usually fill in the hole after the family has left.

CP and the two cats retreated and I grabbed the shovel.

The dirt is packed tight and it won’t be long before the grass grows over Kesey’s grave.

I’m left with a million happy memories and a broken heart.

While digging the hole, I kept thinking of the line from Bob Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man" about the "twisted reach of crazy sorrow." I couldn't quite remember the exact lines, but thanks to the internet, below is the lyric I was thinking about:

"Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me,
In the jingle jangle morning I'll come followin' you.

"Then take me disappearin' through the smoke rings of my mind,
Down the foggy ruins of time, far past the frozen leaves,
The haunted, frightened trees, out to the windy beach,
Far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow.
Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free,
Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands,
With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves,
Let me forget about today until tomorrow."


Blogger Tim Hooven said...

Sorry to hear about your dog, I know how you feel. I had a yellow lab (Goldie) we had to put down some years ago. It was awful, I got him when I was in 7th grade(82-83), and he was around until 1993. Over the course of his life, he was bit by a rattlesnake, attacked by raccoons on two different occasions, hit by a UPS truck, attacked by a crow, and beaten senseless by a burglar. We went all over McK by bike, hiking, fishing, followed me around on Simpson property on horseback and motorcycle (not the dog). Always there, and always happy to see people. Dogs are great friends. Sorry for your loss.

10:14 AM  
Blogger Heraldo said...

Jack, I'm sorry for your loss. This is the third tale I've heard in three days of people parting with a beloved pet. Such a loss marks the end of an era.

4:54 PM  
Blogger Jennifer Savage said...

Aw, Jack, what a sad and beautiful story. Hard as it was to do, you fulfilled your last obligation as a good pet owner. Good on you. Kelsey sounds like a lucky, wonderful dog.

I'll offer you a song, too: "Dogsong 2" by The Be Good Tanyas. Obviously, the lyrics only suggest the beauty; if you want to hear it, let me know and I'll send it to you.

Dogsong 2

Out in the trees, dirt on our knees
We laid him down forever
And on that hill there it was still
As in the ever after

He lays his rest we knew it best
To lay him down so gently
And now he sleeps where moss does creep
And no more is he with me

The birds did cry, and so did i
To think of life so lonely
And in their song I heard it long
What sadness, and what beauty
Your friend is gone, but you live on
In life you loved him fully
But now little streams and forests dream
And all is made more holy

10:04 PM  

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