Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Passing of a Good Sport

She played football, squash and some tennis. Her favorite for a while was squash until she became a little bit older and turned to touch football. She used a deft touch when dropping the squash ball to the floor. She loved chasing around the tennis ball. She wasn’t much to look at and often her dark bangs hung over her eyes, she was a bit bow-legged as well but she loved the sports; in fact she wasn’t a very good athlete at all. She tired easily, probably mostly from laziness. She lead a dog’s life, we swore after her games she slept 23 hours out of the day and got up only to have some food and go to the bathroom. While approaching that master’s age, she still, while ever so briefly, still exhibited a child’s enthusiasm for her games.

What she lacked in skills she more than made up for in intelligence. She learned so many tricks, she could really dance and sing if the incentives were right; she loved an audience, she loved people and talked to them in her own language all the time.

Two nights ago, after a leisurely game of touch football, she collapsed. I held her in my arms and while she lay so listless in my arms I knew she wasn’t going to make it. My son was at the squash courts, I stayed with her for quite a while trying to make sure she knew how much she was loved. Each breath struggled, she was fighting it, I wanted her to just close her eyes and let go into that other place. She hung in there, she wouldn’t let go. I left her with my wife to go get my son.

I told him she was very ill and probably wouldn’t last very long. Long before we opened the house door (bat like hearing), she had tried to go to the door to greet us, probably mostly my son, and she collapsed again. He picked her up, I knew she had waited for him as if to say she wouldn’t leave this world without saying good-bye to him. He held her in his arms as she rested her near lifeless head on his chest. She was going now and we told her how much we loved her and would never forget her and then she died.

She was our dog, our “puppy” as we called her, she didn’t suffer in the end, death came quickly – but like she lived and played she died with great dignity. She was my son’s dog, even though I took care of her, she was his, she adored him as much as he adored her. She was our friend, our family, and we played those crazy games with her; I may have cursed her once or twice for puncturing the squash balls, or yelled at her when trying to work and she wanted a game of football, and she always seemed to bark at just the right time during a conference call – but, wherever you are, “puppy”, your heaven is surely that much loved rest and I hope to keep your spirit up there’s an occasional game of whatever ball they play up there.

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