We lost a dog.
Sometimes cancer is a horrible malingering presence, slicing off the pieces of a loved one until there's nothing left but a shivering nub, alive in spite of itself. Other times, it rips through someone so quickly that you still haven't processed its arrival by the time it's already gone, having torn out something irreplaceable along the way.
So it was with Storm, who went from dozing contently in shafts of sunlight to passing away on the operating table in less than a fortnight. She could have kept fighting, sitting immobile for months on end as the vets fought to save the front half of her body, but we decided she deserved better than that. A dog who uses her front paws to signal her love and need to be loved should not have to learn to live without them, especially since the exchange of limbs for a few more months of life was a gamble no sensible haunter of Vegas casinos would have taken.
What does one say about The First Dog? Some experiences cannot be repeated, not really. We like to pretend they can - that's why we have alcohol - but twelve and a half years after she first bounded into our lives, all nervous barks and melodramatic sighs, there is now just Storm, and every other dog.
Some people thought Storm an unintelligent dog. To be sure, she frequently gave that impression. Once upon a time she would stare in incomprehension as her adopted brother Josh (another Old English Sheepdog, who preceded her in crossing over to the Land of Infinite Milkbones) would show her how to open doors. She never did work it out. Just recently she adopted the habit of deliberately trapping her head behind my father's chair, forcing him to move it so she could pass, despite quicker and father-free alternative routes available.
I never thought she was stupid, though. She was just exceptionally good at tactical thinking. Why walk quietly into the front room when you could force others to move aside, demonstrating your superiority? It takes a supremely superior canine mind to develop a bark that clearly expresses "I don't want this toast unless you put some scrambled egg on it, humans." Put simply, Storm was as smart as she needed to be to have everyone else do things for her. Like Paris Hilton only, you know, of some worth.
We gave Storm, I hope, a very happy decade and a quarter. In return, she gave us what a dog gives. If you've experienced it, no description is necessary. If you haven't, no description will suffice.
Sleep well, Storm. We loved you a great deal.
|Storm "Stormy Dog" Crossman 1999 -2012|