For a change, I won’t write about crime or anything relating to crime novels. I’m going to write about my oldest dog, Hank Williams. He’s eleven, and with advancing age, his arthritis, along with tendon injures, has slowed him down.
I recently had a scare when Hank became lethargic, lost interest in food, and refused to play with his younger sister, Jenny Belle. After a few days of rest, he recovered from what was a painful orthopedic injury, but the incident left me with the gnawing feeling that in the not-too-distant future, our days together will be over.
Having been through so many dogs’ lives over the years, I know many people view having and loving a dog is—among other things—a tragedy waiting to happen. While that’s a bit nihilistic, it’s understandable since Nature’s biggest mistake is making the lives of dogs too short.
I can barely put into the words the feelings I have for Hank. If I try to describe his loyalty, his unwavering affection and devotion, along with the innocence and beauty of his face—of all of him—I could go on forever, yet not cover half of what’s so wonderful about my son. Yes, I look upon him as a son. And if I could manage to convey my feelings, the sense of love and belonging he instills in me, if I could express it—however inadequately—it would bring me to tears.
I could attempt to describe Hank’s soulfulness, his indefinable ability to perceive my moods and be a loving companion, but I know the depth of his attributes makes any such attempt feeble—totally inadequate. Some things are ineffable, simply defy description.
Maybe the best way to capture the spirit and soul of a dog is to relate part of the Pueblo legend of the earth’s creation.
In the beginning, when the Great Spirit created the earth and sky, man and all the animals stood on a great plain. Suddenly, a chasm formed in the earth. Man was left standing alone while the animals remained on the other side.
“Man called across the chasm, “Who among you will join me?”
“Of all the animals, only the dog leapt across the chasm and stood at man’s side.
Author, “Mad Dog House”