Jay Cronley: Two-dog days were the best of times
BY JAY CRONLEY World Staff Columnist
Sunday, October 14, 2012
10/14/12 at 4:30 AM
I have to think that having two dogs beats having one dog.
When one dies, there's always the other one. That's probably selfish, to a degree, but it's a small degree.
Dogs break your heart when they die. The natural scheme of things slows them down quickly. One day your dog is catching Frisbees while jumping through the air. One day next week, the dog puts its two front feet onto the edge of the car seat or sofa and looks over its shoulder for backside help.
Once the dog's initial slowdown has jarred your routine, life settles into a different pace - you and your older dog running less and sitting more of a Saturday morning.
The loss of a good dog is so unsettling, the most common reaction is never again; never again so predictably sad, never again an elective that turns out to leave such a hole in your life.
Then the best times are recollected, and you think that maybe the surviving dog could stand some company and fun, not to mention anybody else in the house.
Love never dies: So what about the other dog after the older one dies?
You owe that dog more than some real bacon for a change.
She's there forever, the older dog, she's there for every day of the other dog's life, then she's gone.
She was immobile a few days before she died in the summer. The natural rhythm of things tries to be graceful even in times of great stress. So maybe her winding down helped. Still: gone.
It's true that dogs live in the moment. They can usually put their noses on what matters the most. But they can also recall the best things from their lives.
Treats and best friends are ingrained forever.
A little bit closer: So what you do with the surviving dog is spend a lot of time with him.
Walks twice a day, Frisbee in the hallway or catch in the kitchen when it rains, cheese snacks watching ball games, leaning three inches farther out the car window - life has been more entertaining than usual the most recent couple of months.
But during the ordinary times, like just walking through the house, there's a cold nose on your calf.
He has a mind to stay close.
Over the weeks, a new pattern takes shape. But nothing new can erase the best times.
Every so often, the both of us can be caught looking toward where she should have been.
Original Print Headline: Two-dog days were the best of times