Junior Inquisitor

Junior Inquisitor

Saturday, August 22, 2015

I've lost my writing buddy


I haven’t done much writing recently. Sure, I’ve posted to Twitter, responded to emails, but actual writing? The kind of work where through pain and thought, words are extruded in bloody clumps? Written ideas which are polished and fitted properly to spark the imagination, so that you have, as Mark Twain described, lightening and not the lightening bug; for that I’ve been quiet.
Is it feeding time?
 
I’ve been reserved because I have lost my writing buddy. Calvin the Helper Dog died on the 9th of August, and I’ve just not been motivated to, figuratively, pick up the pen and sally forth into battle. I haven’t been able to write about his death as the lovely Dr. Farish was on vacation, and nothing ends fun on the beach faster than finding out your dog, your protector and house guardian, is dead. The choice was wreck her vacation, or keep mum on the issue. Either choice was going to get me in trouble. I kept silent, until now.

He was sick often the last few months.
 
At the Vet hospital I got a lot of dumb looks and suggestions for really expensive tests from very specialized clinics in the region. With a broad spectrum antibiotic, he got better for a bit, and then started to crash again, eventually they figured out it was Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Compounding their inability to do good medicine, the antibiotic prescribed was ½ of the therapeutic dose. Dogs can survive RMSF, but only if it is caught early and treated properly. We figured out the dose was wrong and fixed it, and for a while Calvin was doing better. The fever went away, he was back to himself. Things were good. Several weeks later, however, a few days after my wife left for her vacation, which I had to miss out on due to military duty, his appetite disappeared again. It got hard for him to walk, he lost proprioception, and then, he died. And I could not tell her.

Calvin lived for about 7 and a half years, not terribly long for a dog, even one as big (145 pounds) as he grew to be as an adult.
 
Really he did start off small
 
I used to joke that Calvin was the Incredible Hulk of Rhodesian Ridgebacks, he was at least a third larger than any other of his breed I have met. He was not fat, but just taller, wider, and more muscular than any other of his kind. The last time we took him to a dog park he stared barking with joy and the place emptied quickly. His chin was actually higher than our first dining-room table. Big is too small of a word to describe him. Perhaps massive would be better.


Sitting he was about 3 feet tall

Like everything in life he was not perfect, he had a stubborn streak, which meant learning things like “sit,” “stay,” “stop gnawing on the neighbor’s cat,” took a while to sink in. He would occasionally counter surf, and if you were unaware, food would vanish, but for the most part he’d beg and with those sad hound dog brown eyes and guilt you into providing treats.
 
I deserve this treat
When he was little he was allowed on our old couch, and never quite understood why he couldn’t get on the new one. He did eat a rug I’d brought back from Afghanistan, and when he had digestive issues…. I’ll let you figure out the rest.
 
I'd never eat a book though
Still, he was there, ready to play, or watch me type and curse my way through a book or article, or even a computer generated zombie attack. If there were crunchy leaves to run through and roll around in, he was a happy, happy doggie. 
I will protect your from the evil squirrels

 
I never had to worry about my wife or little girl not being safe or the house being broken into while he lived. If anyone ever cased my house or admired the smoking hot redhead out for a walk, any nefarious ideas vanished upon seeing Calvin. He never forgot who I was and was excited to see me when I returned even if I was gone for a year or so on one of my deployments.

He was a good dog, he was my dog, he was a part of our family, and I miss him very much.



6 comments:

E.L. Lindley said...

What a moving post Lincoln, I'm so sorry to hear of your family's sad loss of Calvin

Farish's Freehold said...

Thank you very much. The post was cathartic in a way.

Lynne Campbell said...

This is a beautiful tribute to Calvin my friend. He was certainly loved very much and this truly honours that love. Love to you and your wife, your friend Lynne (Dr. Lynne Campbell)

Dixie said...

So sorry. What a lovely tribute to Calvin.

Ingrid Foster said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, Lincoln. It's always so hard to lose a companion, especially a furry one. :-( Thank you for sharing Calvin. What a wonderful dog.

Farish's Freehold said...

Thank you all very much.