Wednesday, April 28, 2010

One of a Kind

Before I start, I’ll warn you that this post is not about wine, a little sad and very sentimental. If you’re not a dog lover, you can probably stop right here.

Early Tuesday morning, our dog, Peanut, passed away. We went from celebrating the birthday of one dog to mourning the loss of another. Having dogs (and other animals) in your life comes with the painful cost of having to say goodbye to them.

Peanut lived a fine and long life – 14 years and some change. We were fortunate to have enjoyed her presence in our lives. A dog like her only comes along once in a lifetime.

As a young dog, she was sleek, graceful and athletic, with boundless energy. A true renaissance woman, she conquered every task put before her: obedience training, agility training, protection training and (for the most part) anti-couch-jumping training.

At the same time, she taught me more about dog training than I ever taught her. I always said that any lack of ability on her part was my failure to explain things properly.

She aged like fine wine – becoming more complex, more interesting and more cherished with the passing years. We called her the grand dame of our household. When we were considering bringing a new puppy into our family several years ago, I knew there would never be a better teacher in the fine art of being a good dog.

A friend of mine describes wines as one-dimensional, two-dimensional or three-dimensional. Peanut was a three-dimensional dog. People who aren’t dog lovers might not believe a dog can have depth of character, but the rest of us know better.

Before she met me, E had never had a dog in her life. When Peanut met E, she instantly recognized her as another smart, strong, beautiful woman and took her on as one of her people. She showed E what it’s like to have a truly exceptional dog.

As I read back over the words I’ve written, they seem so hollow, so insufficient to express how much we loved her and how much she is missed. I suppose that’s because grief is intensely personal – whether it’s for an animal or a person.

I never felt like Peanut was a very dignified name for her. But that was her name when I adopted her as a six-month-old, and I could never bring myself to change it. She was just Peanut.

There will never be another like her.


Sean said...

J&E -

So sorry to hear about Peanut. She was a good dog in a good family.

Sean & Tina

John said...

Thanks, guys. As you both know, there's nothing like a good dog.

S. said...

She was a great dog, and your words do her justice simply by saying that we loved her. No other dog can ever replace her.


John said...

Thanks, S. She was lucky to have you as one of her people. We'll raise a glass to her together soon.

chafe said...

Dude,you almost made me cry. So sorry.

John said...

Thanks, DB. I've shed enough tears for both of us. You know how I love my dogs.

I remember a certain day many years ago when my German shepherds terrorized your apartment complex.