He came into our lives one year exactly after we lost our white wolf and Golden Retriever. I still cry and imagine them running together, as much in love as two dogs can be. Muzzle to muzzle they touched in joy, even dying 3 months of each other, first Jazz, the Chinook, from a broken heart. He listened for her bark constantly when she was gone, and sometimes wagged his tail as he gazed at empty space across the room.
So when the call came one Sunday afternoon after a mini tornado swept through a near by town, I was scared to bring it up to my hubby. “Honey, ready for another dog?”
“Annie” the voice on the other end of the line said. “We have a storm displacement dog out here in front of the convenience store. He’s real friendly but no one has a place for him. Can you take him?” My husband picked up like radar the look in my eyes, and yelled “No Annie”. He had his heart set on a Schnauzer. I whispered in the phone, “Bring him tomorrow morning when my husband is asleep”.
“Can’t Annie. He needs a home now. We’ll bring him over.” A click on the other end of the line, I realized that was that. I said nothing to Kevin. Within 5 minutes a red truck pulled up in front of the house with a Brittney Spaniel/ Pit Bull mix in the back. “He’s here!” I shouted. “WHAT?” Kevin yelled. “Annie I can’t tell you anything!”
The truck door creaked open, the sound of a leash dragging on metal followed by a dog bouncing out of the back end and there he was. A true blue hunting dog, robust, with brown sparkly eyes, rust and white painted pony coat, a little stiff in the hind legs, pulled ahead of a man in a ball cap walking to our door.
As he approached us the man said, “I`d have taken him myself but don’t have the room for him. Seems like a nice dog.” As if in agreement, the dog looked up at us with humor in his eyes. It was as if he had known us forever and just wanted to know where his old room was. He seemed to be older, and had one canine tooth missing in front. When he saw our herd of displaced cats coming towards him in welcome, he lunged for a corner of the room and began to shake violently. “Well thank you for taking him. Casey’s sent a pizza certificate to give you for taking him off their hands.” We said our goodbyes, Kevin remaining a little reserved. I am sure he was somebodies hunting dog, probably tied to a tree his whole life, terrorized by wild felines and loud commanding male voices. Who knows what funnel plopped him in front of the smell of fresh baked donuts at the Convenience store in Early, Iowa.
We named him “Tazer”for his boundless energy. His similarity to a hyper talk show host was uncanny. He spun circles, flirted and looked over his shoulder at us, tapped my computer for treats, won our hearts immediately, and before long my husband had found the dog of his dreams, matching his work out manly man energy. Tazer was a rugged dog that begged one’s survival skills to carry a rifle and immediately hunt game. Except Kevin and I save animals, never killed them. Apologetically, to pacify Tazer’s great hunting needs, when he skillfully staked out prey, I made a gun shot sound effect with my mouth. “BAM!”
“REALLY? THAT’S IT?” He seemed to say.
Eventually Tazer realized a warm house, loving cats, and a continuous adoring audience were the trade off for hunting. So much did he prefer this life style that any time he was put in the fenced in back yard, he began to panic and ram his head into the door. Our devoted love, and our black Cocker Spaniel’s adoration, as well as the purring cats that allowed him to sniff their butt, became his Heaven. In the mean while, in great panic, I ran behind him, saving the game he stalked, screaming “NO TAZER NO!” I am sure any red blooded red neck hunter would have been horrified.
As one big happy family we drove together, walked together, laughed together, Tazer always the light of our eyes and filling the house with laughter and comedy. Once again an animal angel had come into out lives, rescued our tomb quiet environment and exercised us daily.
JUST TWO YEARS AND HE IS GONE
Today, 6:00am in the morning, our sparkly eyed, 100 mile an hour Brittney Pitt dog lies exhausted, unable to walk, in the back porch. I sit beside him, cross legged, as thunder rolls outside. We are watching the world through the screen door one last time together. He can no longer climb the stairs into the house and he is so heavy I can’t carry him. One toothache and he is slipping from us fast, as he is too old for surgery, the Dr’s say. But now he dies anyway as the poison flows all through his body, further traumatizing his heart murmur. The price of adapting a senior dog, is the short amount of time you have together. Tazer sleeps, looks tired and worried. He knows he is dying but his huge strength refuses to let go. Its just not his way. We have hauled his heavy body up and down the stairs to go to the bathroom, and now he collapses on walks after only a few steps. We sit with him until he is ready to take a few more steps.
We drive to the vet at 10:00. Kevin is at the drivers wheel, and I lie in the back of the jeep with Tazer. He has no more fight. At this point he is beginning to have spasms in his back legs. Kevin parks in front of the vets office and carries his 90 pound Brittney like a baby in his arms protectively. We lay a blanket on the metal table, to give him a sense of warm home. The Dr gives Tazer a relaxer first, and shuts the door so that we can be with our buddy as he gratefully, finally, can rest. We both stroke his beautiful rust and white fur and see clearly he is comfortable. We are asked to leave the room before they give Tazer the second shot, but we know he will pass immediately. Five minutes later we are told we can come back in to see him as he lies peacefully on the table. We have asked to have Tazer cremated so that his ashes can be buried with our other beloved pets passed on from age or accidental death, which we bury around a 12 foot maple tree carved into a ring of wolves.
Quietly we drive home, and Kevin disappears to take a last walk, alone, around the foot ball field in memory of Tazer. I light a white candle, and wait for the flame to burn out, when Tazer reaches Rainbow Bridge.
Never Let Self Pity say “I’m Not Ready”
I know that Tazer, like each of our displacement animals, was an animal angel. The test is, when a loss happens, will we wallow in self pity and say “I’m not ready yet,” to turn a cold shoulder on the next homeless animal that needs our love? I believe when there is a death in the family, we send silent reverberations to the Universe that our Canine brethren can hear or feel. There will be another animal angel at our door in time. Until that day, we wait and remember our sweet Tazer.