Monday, March 20, 2006

Klondike's Way

Klondike never was the most obedient dog. During our initial attempts at dog training...he was the class clown. He didn't understand why the other dogs would gather around the big tin water trough to drink when it was much more expedient to simply crawl into it and sprawl out in the cool water. He was a party was of no concern to him if no else realized a party was underway.

Yesterday Amy and I walked the same route we walked when we "found" Klondike - I half jokingly accuse Amy of "stealing" him, but that's a story for another day - and truthfully it was odd to find ourselves on that same street considering how much the neighborhood has changed in 11 years...and considering how often Amy and I actually walk together.

Of course it brought back memories of that then tiny ten-week old dog with a ratty collar that had a broken piece of phone wire tied to it.

At first we didn't name Klondike. There were a number of reasons, but foremost among them was that I didn't want to keep him. I could tell this cute little dog was going to grow into a monster who would eat us out of house and home. Klondike however neglected all of my objections easily overlooking my efforts to disown him - I littered the neighborhood with "FOUND DOG" signs, took out an ad in the newspaper and even got on the radio begging for someone to adopt him.

Klondike meanwhile picked his spot and stayed put.

He never was the most obedient dog.

So 11 years went by...Klondike cut a path into our hearts and numerous paths through what was once a beautifully landscaped back yard. He even accepted our two, completely insane, West Highland White Terrorists without the least bit of jealousy.
We naturally assumed that since he was 10 times their size that he'd be the "alpha" dog of the pack. Wrong again...he became the most subservient of the trio...readily giving up his food, water, toys...whatever to Avery our smallest dog...our only female dog.

Klondike never was very obedient.

Anyway, during our walk Amy and I mutually agreed that today we would take Klondike to the vet and have him put down because it was obvious he was increasingly uncomfortable, wasn't eating and seemed to be disoriented a great deal of the time. We braced ourselves emotionally for the trip to the vet and tried to make Klondike as comfortable as possible in the interim. As the night wore on his condition deteriorated very rapidly reinforcing our determination to rush him to the vet as soon as possible and put him out of his misery.

I left for work at 12:30...Amy was in tears...Klondike was in a virtual coma. I vowed to get my work done rapidly and get home to help Amy take Klondike to the vet.

However sometime between 2 and 4 this morning Klondike decided on a more expedient route...he died on our living room floor.

He never was the most obedient dog.

But we loved him with all our hearts.

And we always will...