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Long May You Run
J finally had to put Roquefort down yesterday. It had been touch and go for the past month. This is an ode to my (forever a) pup. Gone at 13.5 years.
You were not my first dog, that was Toby, but you were all mine. Well no you weren't, you were J's too. I still remember getting you in October of 2008. You were on a ranch amongst many other animals, a refugee from the floods. I remember you ran up to me and threw yourself at my feet in the dirt, furry belly up at me, lopsided grin with tongue lolling out. I stooped down to pet you. J and I, being the prudent persons we were still couldn't be completely convinced. We actually went and ate at a Chinese restaurant to mull it over. Getting a dog was a big decision, were we capable? Those second thoughts were a good thing, they were the mark of two people who did not make the decision on a whim and who would provide you with a blessed life.
I remember you as pup, as you will always be in my mind. Like a little pot-bellied pig. When you got super excited, like when one of your dog parents came home and you went into your pit-fits (zooms for a pitbull), you couldn't push the air out of your nose fast enough so you ended up grunting. It was the cutest thing ever. You were a German Shepherd Pitbull (although billed to us as a Lab/Shepherd mix for obvious reasons). We were also mindful of that, the prejudice you would face because you were a dark haired dog (seriously people find light-haired dogs less threatening, I am not making this up). Your sinister look would be covering up a true scaredy cat underneath.
We were mindful and we trained you well. It was a lot of work Roquefort. You were a lot of work. For the first 3 years you had so much energy. I would go on 14 mile hikes with you and you would turn it into your own personal 20 mile hike by running up into the woods and down again. From the very first I never had you on a leash. I didn't because I remember how Toby would run away if he wasn't on a leash, I couldn't take that. I needed you to be okay without a leash, and you were. Even though you would bolt off and give us fits you would always return. I could rely on you. I knew that you would always come back. It was a feeling, god I don't know how to say it. You were always there.
When I studied for the bar we were in the same small room every day 10 hours a day, so much that we were in each other's dreams. I remember you dreaming. Your little barks. Your tongue sticking out when you were really tired out. Your snoring. J would always say that you knew that all was right with the world if you could lay there and listen to your pitbull snoring next to you on his bed.
You were the best dog ever because you were also not the best dog. You would have horrible separation anxiety, I remember coming home from a law school exam to every one of my boxes turn up. You came running to me saying, "dude, you will not believe this but some asshole came in this home and tore all your boxers to shreds. I also think that dude took a shit on the rug, crazy man."
I love anthropomorphising animals and I did so with you. Unbeknownst to you you talked like the characters on the wire. Like stringer bell, Avon Barksdale or wee-bey. You were there for us, I wish I could have been there for you yesterday Roquefort. I am so very sorry that I wasn't. You see, your dog father was horribly sick, self-inflicted sickness. That's why he smelled like that. That's why he no longer acted like he did. That's why he didn't take you on those long walks anymore. Forgot to feed you. Didn't walk you. I am so sorry Roquefort, the tears streaming down my cheeks now are what I deserve. You were the best dog and I fell off a cliff, and you had no idea why. No amount of cold-nose nuzzling could help me. Nothing could. And then I was gone.
And it was only your dog mama. But that's all you really needed. You had an amazing life Roquefort. You may have no way of ever knowing it but you did. And I am so very, very grateful that I had you. I am even more grateful that J had you. You see, this you also do not know Roquefort, but your dog mama has had a difficult life too. In fact, you did know I guess. Dogs know when things are off. They just don't know why. They know their owners are sad. They know things are off. They just can't piece together why. But maybe that is a godsend, they just know that they need to be there and do what they do. People's lives would likely be a lot easier too if they just stopped dwelling on the why and just were there.
I need to end this entry. There is no way I can do justice to your life. This is just a small bandaid to put on my broken heart. How do I end this though?
You are running through the trees, a backpack on your back, your fur is glistening in the sun rays that glint through the trees. You are chasing a squirrel, deep into the woods. Your dog parents are screaming your name. You stop, blissfully unaware of anything other than your immediate presence. You are pushing air through your nose that makes you grunt. You are grinning your pitbull grin. this is just great you are thinking to yourself. I can smell them, why are they always yelling for me to come back? I know where they are, I'll come back when I am good and ready, but this squirrel, this motherfucker needs to get chased. and after that breather and another failed attempt at catching that sun of a bitch squirrel you make a u-turn and you go careening through the bushes towards the scent of your pack.
there they are, those bastards kept on walking without you, are they out of their fucking minds? heheh, you chuckle to yourself, crazy dog parents, always stepping out in front. I wonder what's for dinner? oh look, dog father is running and jumping on a log, that crazy-ass dude, well I gotsta step up on that log too! oh look, dog mama is climbing rocks, is she out of her god-damn mind? I gotta get her down from there! up those rocks I go, oh shit, how do I get down? didn't think that far ahead, what's that noise? oh it is that melodious sound coming out of my dog parents it is the sound that they call laughter, it rings out. it is a joyous sound. why are they doing it? fuck if I know, but I love it!
now I'm back in the car, time to curl up as the soft glow of lights flicker across the bottom of this Honda fit's trunk. I can hear my dog parents and, if I get up and stick my head over the seat, I can see them. don't know where we're heading but we're together. oh we're back home, they're sitting on the couch eating something. I ate my food. well shit, look at that time, it's 9pm, I'm tired as shit and they're still not going to bed, time to walk up the stairs and give them the look, the we're going to bed look.
finally, we're up in bed, they're chattering and doing that thing where they look at themselves in the mirror and shit in the house (I never got over the fact they shit in the house, at least they send it somewhere else). now we're all laying down. more chattering, eyes are getting heavy. time to go to sleep. yes, sleep. and tomorrow, tomorrow is another day. another day in the life of this dog named roquefort.