A First Dog Comes And Goes

By: Laurie-Beth Robbins

Now just pour yourself a lush goblet of wine, and fear not. This isn't some macabre and depressing column that will make you cry an unrationed cataclysm of tears into your soup and forever hate the world that's all around you. Au contraire. It is, however, an authentic story about that mighty mother of a tsunami that's called "the cycle of live." (And for a dog nonetheless). Are you in? My Bordeaux just hit my stemware, and so let's dance!

My very first dog died on May 25 of this season. His name was Caviar, and he was four. And OK, I'll just get to the sirloin of it all right now, and simply fess up to the fact that I did so very much LOVE that furry young man, and more than people. Guilty as charged.

What is it about the death of one's first dog that changes us forever? In one word, believe it or not, it is about lobster. Now hold onto that wine glass and put your panicked phone receiver DOWN. Because as much as you may feel the need to reserve an immediate space for me in some "loony bin," I am certain that the wine list there wouldn't be up to par with my passionate vino standards. Besides, I quite authentically have a certain canine concept to share instead.

Life, as many say, is for the living. And in dog land that maxim barks loudly and is abundantly clear! In no other genre is there a more present focus and joie de vivre that we mortals could take a page and a half (at minimum) from and learn well.

So after procuring scores of boutique pet products for my sweet pup (from dog collars made in the USA, luxury dog beds, designer leather leashes and a bevy of other unique accessories) there was an accumulated collection of "things" around my home, that stared me in the face once my benevolent sweet pooch had passed, and which served as a powerful reminder about "a quality of life" that was so readily embraced and exhibited by my very pampered pet.

It hardly seems just, that while individuals might spring for some swanky designer dog apparel (or a myriad of similar products), we're gifted a caliber of loyalty, team comaraderie and a creature who will emerge just to please in return for our care.

And while the love we do shower toward a puppy is quite dissimilar in ways to that directed toward a human child, (a dog is never going to learn how to brush his own teeth or take himself to the doctor, versus the independence and/or "tough love" that we often instill in our offspring as to help them grow wings); there is no doubt about the fact that our dogs, indeed, become our family.

So with the "lobster" or lavishness of life brought to the table or forefront of our minds, we can appreciate, much like a canine does, that each taste, touch and trip in the car even, is an absolute delicacy! Each and every moment that we wake up again and get to "wiggle and wag" so to speak, is a new adventure, opportunity and, of course, a blessing.

It is impossible not to gain a new perspective about a "quality of life," when gazing at heaps of handcrafted dog collars, and thus gallivanting down memory lane with the notions that no matter how much pampering or purchasing of ANYTHING dog related out there we have done, we in actuality did NOTHING as unabashedly magnanimous and kind, as our dogs did for us daily while they were here. One gesture does not translate nor compare aptly to the other.

Indeed, therefore, it is like walking on broken glass when we lose our said pet. There is a surreal void or unfathomable sensation of the most genuinely "giving" force of our lives then being gone. Imagery of a dying puppy suffering in his or her last days (if such was the case) can plague one quite horribly. And yet, it is by turning to the upscale dog collar, or the bountiful meals on your noontime vast plate even, or to any symbol whatsoever of damn fine living, that we must attempt to see that which just left our lives a little bit differently.

After all, to our sweet doggies, a little head scratch was like a lobster! To our precious pups, a run on the beach was a reward! To those magnificent creatures, the very "NOW" was absolutely everything! And it behooves us therefore to grasp that favorite rope dog leash (or whatever it may be), as we collect and clean up a past dog's lush ensemble of goods; and to in turn gain the insight of what our puppy in fact invested in our lives. For such, how very lucky we are!

And while John Donne's famous "holy sonnet" from the 1600's reminds us all too well that "Death be not proud, though some have called thee mighty and dreadful," the English poet shows us seamlessly in that same piece, that while death may think it's special and/or powerful, or while that theme is at first so all consuming, it takes both "kings and desperate men," and this is beholden to the power of all creatures. (Making death not worthy of devoted focus and high acclaim). And when it comes to a dog leaving this lifetime as well, it was the real living that he or she so innately cherished most. And so in that regard, I do believe that Donne was right.

About the author:
Laurie-Beth Robbins is a writer, a passionate "Foodie-Wineaux" chick, and a dogaholic. She contributes writing to Snazzy Jazzy Pet from time to time and lives on the New Hampshire Seacoast with her husband and three dogs: Tabouli, Voss and Steak Tartare.

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