Tuesday, August 12, 2008
I Said Goodbye to my Dog Today
Grendel came into my life about ten years ago. She had been adopted from the pound by my step-son's girlfriend. They all moved in around the corner from us, and lived together three or four years. Grendel would roam the neighborhood, visiting different dogs and people from house to house. She was a frequent visitor to our home where her face would suddenly appear at our back door. She got along with our miniature dachshund, Nicki, and tolerated Georgie the cat. When her parents broke up and were not in a position to take care of her any longer, it was only natural that Regina and I would adopt her.
The first challenge was converting her from a street dog to a house dog. I was not about to allow her to roam free, as she was used to, so this meant long walks for us both. For several years we dominated our Indian Beach neighborhood in the early mornings and evenings. Grendel was a great dog to walk. She was purposeful and focused and kept a steady and limitless pace. Putting her on a leash seemed to make her more aggressive towards other dogs. Regina described her as an alpha dog and it was true that Grendel knew she was queen of the neighborhood.
Nicki died last February and not long afterwards Grendel began showing declining interest in longer walks. Soon it was apparent that she was having hip and leg problems. I met Dr. Mauricio Vargas of All Pets Mobile Clinic when I campaigned at Conexion Latina. Dr. Vargas began working with Grendel and she rallied a bit but her overall path was downhill. Folks say that you will know when it is time to put your dog down, and by this past weekend, it had become clear to me. Regina said goodbye before she left for work, stroking her head and promising her she would run free in the sky. I helped Grendel up and out into the sun where she lay for a half hour in a state of doggie contentment.
Later, Dr. Vargas came by and then took her away when she was gone. He was very kind and sympathetic and treated us both well. I now have no dog in the house for the first time in years and Georgie the cat is not much one for walking on a leash. Grendel joins the litany of Nicki and Frieda and Ralph and Crystal and all my other pets who have gone on before her.
I offer the only epitaph that is fitting for her: "She was a good dog."