Thursday, November 20, 2014

"If you want me again look for me under your boot soles."

Walt Whitman's line from Leaves of Grass tells us what awaits all living things.  Ivan the Terrier - the Borepatch family dog for over 14 years - has taken a sudden decline.  We're talking over how long we can keep him in relative comfort.  There's a cruel responsibility that comes with owning a pet.


Here is a post from a couple years ago, before he started his decline.


During that summer which may never have been at all

I took Ivan the Terrier for a walk to the old Mill dam this morning.

Photo copyright Borepatch.  Click to enbiggify.

Afternoon would be too hot.  Most of June was delightfully not-at-all-like-June-in-Georgia, but now we're back to, well, about what you'd expect.  He's not a young dog, and a black dog in the hot Georgia sun is just not right.

This park, at the Roswell Mill didn't exist when we lived here the first time.  The town dropped some serious money into the trails, making this one of the nicest places to walk in the area.  The trails go up and down Vickery Creek, down almost all the way to the Chattahooche where there are more great trails along the river.

Photo copyright Borepatch

I've always liked to walk, and a dog is a good reason to get out.  In Maine Jack and I saw otters; there were beavers in a pond in Massachusetts.  We had a heron hang out in our back yard here in our first house, a decade ago (as we like to joke, at our "house in Georgia").  I'd terraced the backyard hill with dry stacked stone, and put in a waterfall and a pond.  The heron was helping himself to our fish.

#1 Son would get mad at this, and let Ivan the Terrier out to chase the heron off.  Ivan didn't chase this one - he's twelve years old now, and the bird was on the other side of the river.  Besides, he wasn't after our fish.

A quiet morning walk doesn't just carry you across the local landscape, it takes you across the landscape of memory, to places long past which we can only visit in our dreams.  Jack has been gone these twenty years now, but I still hear his deep throated bark, outraged at the swimming otter's insolence.  #1 Son hasn't been eight years old for ever and ever, but I still hear his child's voice rising with outrage that the bird is back at the pond.  I hear the frustration in the voice of young #2 Son, asking where the beaver is, knowing he is about to be delighted when he finally catches a glimpse of it.

Ivan the Terrier loves these walks.  The chance to sniff around, to catch new smells and sights from a place that's not his yard keeps him mentally sharp.  The walk through old but cherished memories is good for me, too.  Even if the path is crowded with Jack and some small children.

Photo copyright Borepatch
The past is never dead. It's not even past.
- William Faulkner


James A. Zachary Jr. said...

Prayers for all of you.

drjim said...

Having a terminally ill pet is a heavy burden.

You'll know what to do when it's time....

libertyman said...

Four-Feet by Rudyard Kipling

I have done mostly what most men do,
And pushed it out of my mind;
But I can't forget, if I wanted to,
Four-Feet trotting behind.

Day after day, the whole day through --
Wherever my road inclined --
Four-feet said, "I am coming with you!"
And trotted along behind.

Now I must go by some other round, --
Which I shall never find --
Somewhere that does not carry the sound
Of Four-Feet trotting behind.

Best thoughts sent your way.

kx59 said...

Watching a pet decline or die, or having to put them down is a sad thing.