I loved "Marley and Me" until, at the Things' school book fair this past autumn, I saw the author had created a 40-page children's picture book based on it ... and was selling it for $16.99 a pop.
Shortly thereafter, whilst browsing the local book dealers' wares, I stumbled upon Anna Quindlen's "Good Dog. Stay." It's a "tribute" to her deceased black Lab filled with all the dog-as-methaphor-for-living-life-to-the-fullest-babble you can get from a Dr. Phil special.
And I like Anna's work. But 96 pages long -- half of them photos of dogs she didn't own, the other half in VERY BIG, DOUBLE-SPACED TYPE. -- at $14.95??!
I seriously thought of penning a parody of AQ's book called "Dead Dog. Pay." But I think more highly of dogs, even those little yippie-yappie celebrity fashion accessory ones.
And, I think more highly of you and your hard earned money.
On to my expired canine companion ...
Kiner (rhymes with "finer," "diner" and "occasional pain in my behiner") was born on the wrong side of Fort Worth. If the breeder had, say, tripped over one of the rusty appliances on her front lawn and failed to flag us down, we would have driven on.
Kiner was my first dog, a 30th birthday present from My Love. He came with mange and a rashy crotch that required periodic shampooing and ointment for his first six years of life. Yes, he was every boy's dream.
Best prep for fatherhood ever.
Still, Kiner always loved going to the vet. He once pulled me across six lanes of traffic just so the docs and technicians would give him a biscuit and a good scratch in his sweet spot (you know, the one that makes a hind leg go crazy). I eventually had to carry his 75 pounds of fur and tongue out of the place because they wanted to close up and spend the High Holy Days with their families.
When his tail got a-whippin' with delight, it carried more force than a L.A. policeman's billy club. He regularly knocked over drinks, toys and small children who quickly developed the "Kiner flinch" to protect their little genitals and faces.
He never wanted to be outside unless you went with him. At least, until he developed lymphoma at age 7. That winter, he'd go outside and lay in the snow around the Things' swing set. The cold numbed the pain.
Kiner had three remissions over seven months. He made it to Christmas. He made it to New Year's. He made it to his 8th birthday. But, in late March 2006, he stopped doing what he loved most -- eating. Even my special homemade high-fat, low-carb, anti-cancer meals (mmm, liver and fat back) didn't appeal to him any more. He'd just lay on my office couch all day, looking sad and exhausted.
We both knew it was time.
The day we put him down was the worst of my life. I had lost three grandparents and my two best friends already in my life, put I didn't have to give the order for their deaths and watch it happen. (I wasn't even that sad the day Thing 1 was diagnosed with juvenile dermatomyositis because I didn't understand the disease enough at the time to know how bad it could be. I was just relieved we finally knew what was wrong with her after two months of stumbling in the dark.)
When Kiner's final Friday morning ended, the medicine entered his veins and forced his weak brown eyes closed. I hugged him and cried and told him he was a good dog.
"No," our vet said, "he was a great dog."
That was two years ago.
But My Love has always been a little creeped out by his gray, dehydrated presence. It's not like his spirit comes whooshing out to snatch the tortilla chips right before she put them in her mouth like the live version used to do, though.
So stay tuned for the next installment in which I actually leave the house to bring Kiner, or part of him, back to his homeland of, gulp, ... Texas.
My Uncool Past
- ► 2012 (61)
- ► 2011 (57)
- ► 2010 (100)
- ► 2009 (87)
- The Company You Keep
- The Aftermath (but Before Science)
- Wake the Kids and Call the Neighbors! House Party ...
- "Just Don't Bring Too Many Dudes."
- BlogHer '08 and the Damage Done
- Travels with My Condensed Canine
- What To Do With a Dead Dog: Meet the Passed On
- What Would Doug Heffernan Do?
- The Padded Cell of Uncoolness
- Are These Awards or STDs?
- In Which We Noodle on God
- Spy in the Dirty House of Uncool
- Clean Up in the Uncool Aisle
- Telecommuting Works … Unless You Backed McGovern i...
- ▼ July (15)