It’s true, you know, that Starla - She Of The Several Names, which included Starla, Action Dog, Daddy’s Girl, and Starla, What The Hell Are You Doing Now? - once thought it would be a splendid idea if I were to slip off her leash in Oklahoma so that she could attack one of the buffalo which were penned in at one of the roadside restaurant/stores one can find along the highway.
While it may not have been the wisest decision she had ever made in her 16 year life, it wouldn’t have been all that great a day for the buffalo, either.
Action Dog, who, as near as we could figure was a cross between a Collie and an Alaskan Malamute, was the sort of dog who inspired fear in Nervous Nellies wherever she went. In truth, however, though there was a strong streak of protectiveness in her, she was also a big baby, loving nothing so much as hanging out with the cats; even the Infernal Rose, who had long despised her (as she does almost all living things) mellowed out enough to hang out with her the last few years, especially as her health declined.
But in the days when she was healthy, before age began to leave its mark?
Action Dog, whose main passion in life was her frisbee, could hurl herself across ice and snow without slipping, and bring it back to me, a mad joy in her eyes, waiting for me to throw it again, and again, and again . . .
In recent years, I threw it fewer times for her as her heart problems increased, and finally, near the end, I wold just toss her frisbee or tennis ball across the kitchen floor for her a few times until she grew too tired for that. But even that would make her happy.
After the recent death of Shalaundra, our beautiful Labrador and her long-time companion, her health declined dramatically. I talked to her about at least staying around until Christmas, but it was not to be.
It’s a bad day when you realize that the time has come, and you just can not allow a faithful friend to suffer another day, when you face up to the fact that, even though last week may have been a “good week,” that was it. There wouldn’t be any more.
There is a tree I have grown to despise with the same passion which Elizabeth Barrett Browning once held for her lost saints - the tree outside our vet’s office. Invariably, it is the tree which all of our dogs seem to head towards to relieve themselves before we head up the ramp and the gentle hand of their executioner.
I won’t tell you of Starla’s last moment’s; no doubt you have your own memories of such times, and they are much the same.
And though I promised myself I wouldn’t, I wept for my lost companion.
The next day I picked up her favorite frisbee and asked Tracy to join me in the back yard.
I once told a friend that if I thought Starla was still hanging around on this plane of existence I wouldn’t throw her frisbee “into the light” for her to follow, because I would still want her company, even if in such a diminished capacity.
“Go on, girl,” I said, letting the frisbee fly across the length of our back yard. “I’ll see you when I get there.”
Quote of the Day
“People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for.” ― Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird