Just a Dog

It’s September and, one year ago today, I was hanging out in Logie-land with its namesake, my good buddy Logan. Little did I know that in just a few weeks we’d be saying goodbye … forever. Although the day he died was terrible, the permanence of his leaving took time to settle in, and that’s where I’m at now, I think all of us are, that stage where the pain is eased but the permanence is felt with each passing month. I’m not sure what we’ll do on the anniversary of his death on the 28th of September, but I know we’ll do it together, me, T and Nollind, Logan’s family.

September 3, 2018 – a little couch time with T

T told me a sad story from many years ago when she lost a young dog to a huge piece of ice that slid off the roof of the house and landed on him. Terrible, right? It’s been thirty-five years and she still tears up when she talks about Bo. But what makes this story even more tragic, and something T has never forgotten, is the response of one of her “friends” who asked that same evening over drinks, “What’s the big deal? It’s just a dog.”

September 7, 2018 – nap time with a favourite toy

And therein lies the insult to injury that dog people often experience when they lose one of us canine family members. Even if it’s not stated outright, the message is there in the silence … It’s just a dog.

September 17, 2018 – autumn sun

When Logan died, the sympathy cards, condolence messages, and fuzzy blankets covered in paw prints were a great comfort to T (she still hasn’t put the cards away). They brought the message, “He wasn’t just a dog, he was a much-loved member of your family for fourteen years.”

September 25, 2018 – still up for a short walk.

A poem by Richard A. Biby…

From time to time, people tell me, “lighten up, it’s just a dog,” or “that’s a lot of money for just a dog.” They don’t understand the distance traveled, the time spent, or the costs involved for “just a dog.”

Some of my proudest moments have come about with “just a dog.” Many hours have passed and my only company was “just a dog,” but I did not once feel slighted.

Some of my saddest moments have been brought about by “just a dog,” and in those days of darkness, the gentle touch of “just a dog” gave me comfort and reason to overcome the day.

If you, too, think it’s “just a dog,” then you will probably understand phrases like “just a friend,” “just a sunrise,” or “just a promise.”

“Just a dog” brings into my life the very essence of friendship, trust, and pure and unbridled joy.

“Just a dog” brings out the compassion and patience that makes me a better person.

Because of “just a dog,” I will rise early, take long walks and look longingly to the future. So for me, and folks like me, it’s not “just a dog” but an embodiment of all the hopes and dreams of the future, the fond memories of the past, and the pure joy of the moment.

I hope that someday they can understand that it’s not “just a dog,” but the thing that gives me humanity and keeps me from being “just a woman.” So the next time you hear the phrase “just a dog,” just smile–because they “just don’t understand.”

September 28, 2018 – early morning

Thanks, Mr. Biby and thanks everyone else who understands that there’s no such thing as “just a dog”. I know I’d sure hate to be such a thing.

September 28, 2018
September 28, 2018
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Flashback Fur-iday – A Dog and His Boy

It’s a special day in our house today, so I thought I’d do something a little special for the blog. It’s Nollind’s birthday. Can you believe he’s almost 400 years old in dog years? I know. Me neither. He looks pretty good though, don’t you think? For an old guy, I mean.

Me and the birthday boy.

Anyway, in celebration of Nollind’s 371st dog-year birthday, and because it’s a First Fur-iday when it’s time to bring Logan back to the blog, I decided to share some stories, about Nollind and Logan. These are third paw but I will do my best.

Sure looks like a dog person …

For starters, Nollind wasn’t really a dog person when he met T. His family had a cat when he was growing up but never a dog. T told me he used to run for the soap and water every time he’d pet one of us back in the old days. A little hurtful, but kinda funny.

Never one to take on a new thing half way.

When T and Nollind moved to the acreage and T wanted a dog, Aspen came into their lives. She was like the trail blazer for those of us to follow, breaking Nollind in to the idea of living with dogs. Hard to believe but, at first, he wasn’t crazy about the idea of dogs in the house. T sorted that pretty quickly but then it was, okay, dogs in the porch, but no farther. Then it was dogs on the lino but not on the hardwood, which is about one third of our house. Dog-kind was making inroads.

Funny thing was, Aspen preferred to be outdoors!

It wasn’t long before Aspen was sleeping at the foot of T and Nollind’s bed at night (which was on the hardwood) but that was where he drew the line. Definitely no dogs on the furniture!

Then … Logan came along.

In the early days … right beside Nollind’s desk.

Ironically, when Logan first arrived, he’d probably not been in a house before and was afraid to come past the porch. But that was just for the first few days. Once he was in and comfortable, he started scouting around for the best place to sleep. Turned out it was the couch.

Couch time.

Nollind weakly attempted one last stand … “Okay, the couch but definitely not the bed!” I’ll let the photo tell you how that turned out.

I’m not supposed to what?

It isn’t that Nollind is a push-over, far from it. He just discovered that he is a dog person after all, and more particularly a Logan person. That black and white dog had him wrapped around his little toe (example in video that follows). And, in turn, Nollind was Logan’s person. Logan had a long list of people he liked, but Nollind was at the top of the page.

Logan’s appetite wasn’t the best in his old age. This was Nollind’s solution.

We’ve all missed him these past seven months but I think Nollind feels Logan’s absence in a different way than the rest of us. Logan was like his Yoda of the dog world, his teacher of dog ways, and his first puppy love.

So, Nollind, since I have already given you the greatest gifts a dog can give, my unconditional love and an entertaining personality, I’ll just say … Happy 371st Birthday!!

And, from Logan, for your birthday this year, the only thing he has left to give … sweet memories.

Corn maze in central Alberta.
On the Trail in Kananaskis Country.
Sharing snacks along the Colorado River.
Break on the trail near Lake Mojave, Nevada.
White Sand Dunes, New Mexico.
Campfire time at Quartzsite, Arizona.
Imperial Dunes, California.
Huntington Beach, California.
Autumn walk in Boise, Idaho.

Flashback Fur-iday – How Logan Saw the World

Yesterday made five months since Logan died.  In some ways, life without him has become normal but there’s still this empty place in our lives, the place he used to occupy.

That he left at the end of September was good planning on his part, if he had any kind of plan. Winter would have been a struggle, especially this past month of colder than normal temperatures. I imagine him somewhere warm and sunny with soft, green grass, plenty of shady spots, and loose soil easy for digging dens.

Sunny days.

One of the things I miss most about my old pal is his way of seeing the world around us, not always accurate but regularly entertaining.

Our first experience with an ocean beach was on the coast of California north of San Diego. Wide open space to run, plenty of other dogs, and …

Cold, noisy, salty water that chases you — not my idea of a good time. To me, the beach didn’t seem so different from the desert, except that there were more people and it was a lot noisier. These big waves were crashing in on the shore and the water would race right up at me! Very unsettling. 

Jan 2012 – Beach Boys

Staying well away from the waves.

We were still on the coast for New Year’s Eve that trip and the peeps took us for a walk on the beach, early to avoid the fireworks … or so they thought …

The sky lit up and started to explode in all directions with the loudest popping and banging I’ve ever heard! I tried to head for the houses that were all along the beach, thinking someone would take pity on a poor, frightened dog, but Teresa and Nollind kept pulling me back to them, out there in the open, exposed to the terror! It felt like the longest walk of my life and I was never happier to see our trailer. I don’t see how terrifying dogs is a good way to celebrate anything — I may never understand the human species.

Jan 2012 –  Beach Boys

Early morning walk when the beach was safe from explosions.

I love to lie in the sun (Nollind sometimes calls me Sunny D), soak it up through my red and white coat. But hot, sunny days were a different deal for my buddy Logan …

Have you ever tried wearing a black fur coat on a hot, sunny day? Yeah, well, I don’t recommend it. When I was young it seemed like a smart idea to be well-dressed for any occasion, but that was before we started spending winters in the south.

Feb 2015 – Horses, Hiking, and Hazardous Places

In the shade of a mesquite tree near Wickenburg in 2018.

Logan was pretty much impervious to snow for the first five years I knew him, but when he got older …

I’ve been stuck in the snow more than once so I mostly tend to stay on the road and driveway. I actually got stuck head first in the yard when I tried to get to one of my caragana dens. Teresa had to put her boots on and come pull me out. I used to love the snow, but that was before it became my enemy.

March 2018 – Made It

On top of the snow … for the moment.

But melted snow, now that was a different story…

There’s just something about getting my feet wet and drinking from a fresh body of water that is soothing to my canine soul.

March 2018 – Da Boys at Da Beach

Spring run-off.

I could go on and on with Logan’s view of the world but I’ll save some for another day. Next week I’ll tell you all about my recent adventures in that frozen white stuff!