Saturday, November 01, 2008
Pooka's last hour
Depressed today about having to take Pooka, our 18 year old 'puppy' to the vet for the last time. He's had a long and rich doggie life, and he got six more months of good life than the vet had predicted when we first got the terminal diagnosis. but it's now come to the point where if we wait any longer he will likely start to suffer. So, however selfishly we would like to keep him around longer, it's time.
Our other dog was, well, a dog. So while we loved and will miss Portia, it's not the same. Pooka was an old soul. He understood things dogs don't; he saved my wife's life on at least a couple of occasions, and it was he who told Mary to go with me. (Every other potential boyfriend had been barked out of the house, and on one memorable occasion, not allowed in the door; until me --Pooka sniffed me a couple of times, and jumped up into my lap. Mary's expression at that moment should have told me something, but it wasn't until he was my dog too that I came to understand and rely on his ability to correctly judge people.)
So just a quick story to illustrate what I'm talking about. Shortly after Mary and I started dating, she left the dogs with me while she went on a week long speaking tour. Portia was fine it, because, well, she was a dog and anyone who petted and fed her was okay with her. Pooka on the other hand deeply resented being dumped with a stranger. When Mary phoned to check on the dogs, and to visit with me, Pooka came out of the kitchen at the sound of the phone and gave me -- I swear -- "Is that her?" look. So I said, "Hey Pooka, it's Mary!" pointing at the phone as if a dog could understand me. So he looks at me with this unmistakable "tell her this from me" look, lifts a leg, and pees in the middle of my front room directly in front of the telephone, then turns calmly and walks with great dignity back into the kitchen.
It is hard to yell at a dog indignantly when you are collapsed in helpless laughter, so there was a bit of a delay before I could convey to Mary what had transpired, but I never again made the mistake of thinking of Pooka as just a dog. He will be sorely missed.