The Fallen Friend
We remember a fallen friend today, our beloved family pet Bernie. She lived to the ripe, old age of 13; a pretty good life span for any dog.
Bernie had already had a close encounter with death as a puppy. She barely survived being hit by a car. Her hindquarters were turned to jell-o, and she lay on her side for several weeks. I nursed her slowly back to health. Eventually she would run again, but always with a barely perceptible hitch in her stride, which grew more pronounced with age.
She would throw herself into battle with any stray dog rash enough to enter our yard, her turf. She had far more courage than brains. She would chase a dog twice her size out of our yard, and to my horror, foolishly across a busy highway.
For all her bravery, she was terrified of thunder and would seek any means whatsoever to be near people during a thunderstorm. Eventually, with her hearing mostly gone, she would see rain and assume the worst. We would find her cowering inside the greenhouse lobby even when there was no thunder to be heard.
Eventually she would become more spectator of life than participant. The strays would wander into the yard unchallenged, but she would still meet people with a wag of the tail and lick of the hand. And each day she would make her way to the greenhouse just to be around people.
Fate had foreshadowed the means of Bernie’s demise in that first accident. As she got slower, the cars got faster. With each year, her hearing would worsen, and the cars would slip up on her until eventually they might pass her unawares. As happens all too often, the worlds of canine and machine finally collided, with the canine realm faring decidedly poorly.
Everyone speaks of cats’ having nine lives. No one mentions dogs. Our intrepid little Bernie had two.
She was laid to rest November 29th, 2009 in Dewy Rose, Georgia.