Wednesday, February 01, 2006
Farewell, Old Buddy
My dog Ben had to be put to sleep yesterday so I thought it about time I broke the “stop talking about your pets” rule and let you know a little about him.
Ben was my law school graduation present (notwithstanding the green marble bookends with my initials on them – egad!). I found a breeder in north Illinois that had a big old litter (and for those of you who feel like giving me shit for going to a breeder, you can kiss my ass – I’ve also been a foster mom for more rescued labs then I can count so bite me).
I sat down on the floor and all these puppies came flying out at me – crawling everywhere like someone had jacked up their mom’s milk with a crack cocktail. All except for one. This big fat one (twice the size of the others) comes moseying on out and yawning. He walks over to me – curls up next to my leg and falls asleep. He had an underbite. This dog was soooooo for me. He slept the whole car ride home while I had heavenly visions of our future times together. You know those times - the ones where I would be reading a book and he would quietly lie at my feet chewing a bone. The ones where I could walk with him through neighborhood and he would calmly greet all passers-by and they would comment about “what a good dog!” he was.
And then we got home. That car ride was the last time Ben was calm for about the next 5 years.
I had purchasd the holy terror of doggiedom. The Canine Anti-christ. The reason people will tell you that they're a "cat person". And I have the scars to prove it….and I mean that literally. In his first year of life alone, he plowed into me leaving a scar on my inner thigh (I tell the boys it was from rough sex but truly it was from the dog….but not rough sex with the dog, you sick bastards!) .
He also managed to pull my dad down a flight of stairs (Daddy still blames Ben but I blame the 30 year old flip flops my father was wearing combined with his good friend, Mr. Smirnoff).
I am the only dog owner I know that has the number to animal poison control memorized. I’ve had to call three times – and they charge you $30 a pop. Ben ate a canister of air gun oil, the packet of chemicals that come with fresh cut flowers and the little packet of silica gel that come with your new shoes and reads “DO NOT EAT”…..Ben didn’t read so well.
And that was just the poisonous stuff. He also ate 3 remote controls, 1 cordless phone, 1 daybed mattress, 1 couch, 2 windowsills and 4 bars of soap. Needless to say, he blossomed out to a good 107 pounds of dog. He was a BIG boy and I loved that about him.
Of course, he was a 107 pound dog that was afraid of all toys that had eyes but nevertheless, he was a tough looking guy at times. A stuffed monkey that I brought home scared the bejeezbus out of him.
Once I came out of the shower to discover that he had managed to open a new box of 1000 q-tips. He artfully scattered them throughout the entire apartment and still had about 50 of them sticking out from his gums when I caught him. He looked like he had eaten a colony of little tiny q-tip people.
If you didn’t continuously throw his tennis ball, he barked at you. If you were on the phone, he barked at you. If he saw a fly, he barked at you. If he felt your mind was on anything but entertaining him, he barked at you. And then sometimes, he just stood in the middle of the room barking at you.
One night he farted so loudly that he woke himself up. He spun around and started barking at whatever had snuck up behind him. I could never get him to understand that he had been startled by his own bodily emissions…Ben didn’t understand Biology too well.
No one even really liked my dog for the first 4 years of his life, except for me….and hell, for me at times, “liking him” was pushing it. But he did get older and did somewhat mellow.
He still had his moments though. He was at least 7 years old when in the middle of the night, I heard him downstairs drinking an entire bowl of water. I soon discovered that he had gotten an unopened jar of peanut bar off the kitchen counter…..a jar from Sam’s Club…..a jar of about 5 pounds of peanut butter. He had managed to open it and eat all that he could reach before his snout got caught on the rim…..and then he licked the sides clean.
Needless to say by the time I discovered him, he wasn’t feeling so well. Of course, about 15 minutes later, he threw up every bit of peanut butter along with that entire bowl full of water all over my bed…….and you might think you have an idea of how bad that smells but you would be wrong. The human mind can barely comprehend that smell. However, sitting here, I can still smell it.
He developed diabetes in his old age and became almost totally blind. When he started having seizures, I knew it was time and I don’t regret letting him go.
But he was my best friend. He was the first thing that was ever simply ALL mine. He loved me a lot. Which is only a portion of how much I loved him.