Talkin' trash to the garbage around me.

09 October, 2007

Eulogy


Chubby's the hairy one. No, hairier...


It seems that the way to deal with the end of a really shitty, sad day is to celebrate a life the way that we with Irish blood do best - with whiskey and words.

I never meant to adopt Chubby. When I went to Greenhill on December 20, 1996, I had plans to adopt a one-year old Aussie Shepherd that I had spied a few days earlier when I had come to visit. By the time I had shown up to adopt, the pooch had already been snapped up by someone else. Bummed, I walked, head down, to the end of the shelter, and then headed back towards the exit. As I was about to pass through the door, I glanced into the last cage on the left, and there he was, curled up on a pad at the other end of the stall watching me. I stopped and bent down, he padded over to say hi, and that was that. The Greenhill folks said he had been there for five months. Apparently, people don't take a cotton to adopting three-and-a-half year old dogs. Fortunately, I did. His name prior to my adoption was Blackie, which was a step removed from Darkie or Coolie, so I decided to rename him Chubby, after the Medeski, Martin & Wood tune "Uncle Chubb." A short time later, I learned, much to my chagrin, that Chubby was a colloquial expression for male tumescence. But the name stuck.

I suppose you could say I got the dog I deserved. One who was completely neurotic, wholly trusting, and entirely loyal. I never worried about Chubby running off on me - indeed, sometimes I wish he would've given me a little more space. He always seemed to be underfoot. But if I left a gate open in the yard, he'd be waiting on the stoop when I came home. He was so loyal, if I'd leave him with friends, he'd stick to them like white on rice. Chubby wasn't much of a swimmer, but I remember my friend Nick telling me about a time when they took him camping, and a group had decided to swim across a small Cascade lake. Assuming Chubby would stay put, Nick joined them. Upon reaching the other side of the lake, Nick looked back to the far shore to make sure the dog was still there - he wasn't. He was paddling across the lake to join the swimmers. Nick was Chubby's ticket back to me, and the dog would be damned if his ride home would leave without him.

It's hard to say goodbye to a friend who has stuck with you through thick and thin for eleven years. He was there when I'd come home heartbroken. He was patient with me through some hellacious hangovers. He'd curl up next to me on cold mountain nights in the woods. He accepted a new family member when l'il wobs came home and welcomed him as part of the pack (however grudgingly). He was fiercely protective, growling down the shady characters who'd show up at my door when I was stupid enough to live with heroin dealers.

I had to watch the life ebb out of his body this morning. He went peacefully, leaving me with a hand full of tissues, eyes full of tears, and a heart full of pain. But it was the right thing to do. Fare thee well, Chubby. I hope the Puppy Hereafter is full of endless belly scratches and rawhide bones that never end.

This is as much a wake as a eulogy, and wakes are about sharing memories. If you knew Chubby and would like to share any fond rememberances, please do so. Or, if you'd like to take a chance to offer a memory of one of your own four-legged friends, share away. Make me smile on a sad day.

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