Saint David Keep Him Close for Me A Dog's Life and Love
Saint David is the Patron Saint of Wales and March 1st is the day for his remembrance and celebration for Wales. The daffodil is reputed to be Saint David's favorite flower. The shape seems to be trumpeting the arrival of Spring! Some people say that the flower top is soon hanging its head in sadness and is placed often on graves. I've never heard that bit about graves before, it's some trivia I recently found. The daffodil is a narcissus and comes in variation of colors. Planted as a bulb, it will also come back year after year and naturally multiply on its own.
At my home on the east coast, I planted daffodil bulbs in the farthest corner of my yard and waited for them to flower and multiply. This second photo is not of my backyard, but this is similar to the way it looked. My dog was surprised to find these flowers coming up amidst his favorite spots to sniff and explore. They would brush against his short legs and bounce off his velvety black coat. He'd run towards me with his big Beagle ears flapping, he loved the backyard so much.
When we first adopted him, it was a rough time for him, coming from the home of an elderly lady who didn't drive and when her niece and the niece's boyfriend moved in my dog was not wanted or liked by the two new people in his life.
We rescued him from the shelter the first day he had arrived. He was standing under a very tall, all white purebred dog- which looked the size of a small pony. I'd never walked a dog before and the shelter manager gave me his leash and told me to walk him to see if we were okay together. I shouldn't have had any fears or doubts, we took off together, he was a little reticent and when I read the tag on his collar and called him by the name, he just loved that, me, a total stranger- knew his name! This was the beginning of many little surprises, adventures, and secrets the two of us would share in the years ahead.
Since he had never been in a car before, except for the drive to the shelter and I think that was in the back of a truck, there were some trying times we had getting him used to a moving vehicle and not being sick in it- I think you know what I mean. Eventually he couldn't contain his excitement when he knew he was going for a drive, he loved his car rides and sometimes just settled in for a nice nap.
He was afraid of a few things, owing I believe, to his not going out or meeting people and other unfamiliar places and objects; I tried to get him to meet a horse, but that frightened him, so I let it go. He tried to upturn a large turtle we met on one of our walks. He kept going close up and backing away repeatedly and I thought the turtle was going to snap and bite his nose, it was funny and charming to see his curiousity in action.
He loved meeting new dogs, it was a loud yet comical situation where we had met a dog on
our walk and this dog followed us home. He kept coming up to our door howling and wailing so loudly for him to come out and play and ours wanted to go out to play so badly, but it was time to go to sleep and eventually the dog went home. Everybody who met our black and white beauty liked him and wanted to pet his gorgeous coat.
We adopted him at almost 2 1/2 years old and he had never been off his leash for walking. At the time we adopted him, we were living in a townhouse without a fenced yard. Six years later we moved to a single family home with a big fenced in backyard.
To introduce him to his new home, I walked my black furangel on his leash to the backyard. He was just in awe. I disconnected his leash and he just stood by my side, a little bit scared of the unknown yard with its overgrown grass. I encouraged him to go and explore, but he wouldn't leave my side. So, together the two of us started walking and he was confused, and only walked on his own by looking back at me after every few steps he took, to reassure himself that I wasn't abandoning him. He wasn't certain that he liked his new domain and made the first exploration a brief one. It took a little more time, but he soon adapted and made the whole of the backyard his own outside sanctuary.
Inside the house, he made himself very comfortable, on the couch he loved to put his nose
behind my back and sleep, or he'd go to his bed and nap and then all of a sudden he'd wake up and run into whatever room I was in, to be reassured I was still there. He loved the hair dryer and would turn to switch sides to make sure he was warmed all over. He "spooned" in bed or put his head on my lap. He was a loud sleeper with snoring and woofing and running legs. Sometimes I'd just laugh at his noises, they were just so endearing.
He often wagged his tail so furiously, as if in complete circles with the backside looking like a circus juggling act, that I thought the tail would wind itself so tightly and fly off into space. He was that happy and threw all of himself into the moment.
From Day 1 of him coming to live with us, he'd pose for the camera. I have photos of him, so skinny and curious walking up to me investigating what I was holding, the camera. Once he realized it was not attached to my face, he'd comply with me telling him where to stand or lay. It was funny, he'd put up with me and my camera for a little while and then he'd want petting, cuddling, and a song. Yes, I would sing to him and sometimes hold up his front paws and try to get a little rhythm going. I only knew a few lines of 42nd St, but I'd sing it because of his tuxedo look. I'd sing a few other songs too, and he was entertained by my silliness.
After a taco meal I'd give him the paper plate with some taco for him and a little extra sauce on it. He would lick that paper plate until it was shredded and there were holes in it and he'd put his foot on the plate to hold it down, being careful not to step in any food. He loved popcorn and just for fun, I'd make a trail and watch him eat his way to wherever I was. He loved tuna, salmon, tomatoes and more foods I thought he'd never like, although
he didn't like pickles.
Outside he found spots with soft grass to rest on, made a running trail to tease the neighbor's dogs, accidentally put his paw prints in paint on the steps, and lolled under low hanging branches. He chased squirrels and pulled tendons (several times). He lazily ran after rabbits, never wanting to catch them, just wanted them to move on to another yard. He jogged towards birds and was desperate to make contact with chipmunks- for some unknown reason he never liked chipmunks.
He'd jump up and try to catch flies, and sometimes he did- he'd either eat them right away, before they were completely dead (can you imagine that buzzing in his mouth) or put them on the floor and examine them. Then he would eat them! No licking me after that!
I had lots of tears over him getting Lyme Disease, that's when I found out we had been paying for the vaccine for years, and the vet never gave it to him. He had surgery for growths/warts on his legs, he ripped a nail and ran all through the house dripping blood, he got stung by bees more than once, he almost became paralyzed from an arthritis prescription, he had to have eyedrops (which he hated), he had a heart problem, and he had cancer. Kidney disease took his life.
All of this sounds like he was in terrible condition, but he wasn't. He ran everyday, he ate everything given and some things he found outside which he shouldn't, he played, he snuggled, he was normal in all respects. He was a lover of life, curious, a little scoundrel at times and he had a lot of gusto!
The vet said my sweet scoundrel had 1-4 months left before the surgery for cancer, and the vet wouldn't promise that he would survive the surgery because of the heart problem, but he made it happily through for almost 3 years more. One day in April he was not eating or drinking and so the next day we took him to the vet. Tests showed kidney disease. He wouldn't eat the special food and we had to adapt his diet, but he seemed to recover well until the middle of September. This was the time of the Chinese companies poisoning both baby and pet food, and his wet canned food was on the poisoned list of recalled foods.
I've had a lot of losses in life and was mad at God for my little Hoover having cancer. But, then God gave us more time together and it was a healthy time until his last few weeks with us. The end was so unfair, he survived cancer only to get another disease, one that did not have to happen to him and many others.
I watched him sunning in the grass, chasing squirrels-trying to climb the tree to catch them, making his way through snowbanks, and enjoying his meals. One of his nicknames was, "Hoover" due to the way he ate his food and snacks- like a vacuum turned to High.
Every single day was a brand new start for him. Whatever had gone on before, problems, arguments, whatever it may have been which would mean that I would start a new morning with the memory of pain and discontent- he didn't share that attitude, he didn't hold a grudge, he was happy to begin again and wanted to get going on to a new adventure and I tried to do that, knowing I would be hurting soon enough.
After the lawn was mowed he'd usually roll in the grass and really smush the clippings in to his fur, so he had just the right odor, I mean fragrance. He was a Beagle and they love scents. He rolled in other things, too, disgusting things, things we did not want to touch.
When his voice got a little deeper after we had been away for 9 days, I realized how much he missed us and how time was taking its toll. He was mistreated at the kennel and wouldn't take any cuddling from me. He came in the house, leaped up into the corner of the couch and wouldn't look at me. He needed time to feel better and forgive me- it only took a few hours and he felt safe again. We called up and visited the kennel after this and gave them hell- the odd thing was that they were highly rated.
He had so many charming traits, quirks, likes and dislikes, sometimes exasperating, but never enough to be less than Number 1 Dog in my heart and home. I could go on, but if you love pets, you know what I am talking about. They love us and leave us to miss them incredibly and completely. His personality was so big it filled the house and without him the echoes weren't enough to soothe the wound and fill the hole.
If Saint David likes dogs, I hope he is watching over my much loved and missed one, in a field of daffodils and sweet smelling grass. Dewi Sant, Patron Saint of Wales, Home of My Mother and Ancestors...
Posted On 3/01/2011