I never considered myself a "dog person". Sure I liked the animals but dog people dress up their animals for Halloween, talk about their animals like they're a member of the family, don't mind dog hair in their car and on their clothes, are concerned when they leave the animal for too long, think their dogs get angry at them, and share a bond with their pets that I could never understand. I thought all dogs belonged outside. That was until I met these guys-
I married into dogs. Brent had these dogs for 7 years before he met me, and these guys were inside pets. In first few months I was ready to send them off to puppy boarding school. They didn't like me either. They constantly tipped over the trash, were needy and whiny, dog hair was absolutely everywhere- and one even pooped specifically on my side of the bed to send a message.
It changed when Brent went out of town for the night and I felt protected by these two. I realized that not only were they great watch dogs, they were the funniest dogs ever. Once they ate an entire cube of butter, leaving the wrapper perfectly on the counter- spread out like a blank piece of paper- they naturally got into some trouble when it was discovered. The next time they found butter on the counter- they ate the whole thing, including the incriminating wrapper.
Animals have personality, and these two were two characters. They were obedient, loving and fun. With time I evolved into a dog person.
During his bachelor years these dogs were Brent's support group, they were his family. During our first years of marriage they have filled the void that children fill. They went to bed when we'd say 'go to bed'. We thought about them the first thing in the morning and the last thing at night. They responded and reacted to us in a way I think most animals can if given the proper training. It's true, I even tried to dress the poor animals up for Halloween.
Yesterday was a great day for the dogs. They got to spend a lot time outside, played with the neighbor kids, went for a ride, and Brent and for some reason sat down and spent some time just with the dogs. Bartholomew would not leave Brent's side-playful and happy. He even got KFC gravy for desert.
Then the unfortunate happened, happy dog transformed to unrespondent. He went from running and jumping to unwanting to move. His pupils dilated, started taking short shallow breaths and the unthinkable, he didn't want to eat.
When you own a dog that thinks he's part goat, eating anything he can find, you get use to him being sick, but last night it was different. Brent's eyes filled with tears as he scooped up Bartholomew, put him in the car and drove him to the 24 hour animal hospital- but when we arrived it was too late. He had passed on the 215 freeway, in my husband's arms.
I think few women will understand the relationship between a man and his dog. It transformed this big tough guy into an 8 year old boy. The problem with most things you love is that they will at some point leave. This dog had nine lives. He should have been dead years ago- as a puppy he was rescued from a drug house with cigarette burns all over his body- when Brent purchased him the vet told him he wouldn't live. Since then he's eaten an obscene amount of chocolate (opened up a suitcase to get to it) plastic bags, and even a square foot of carpet that nearly did him in.
I'm grateful that we had Bartholomew. He changed how I, and my family look at animals. He wasn't the family dog, he was family.
Many might thing that writing a tribute to a dog is silly, but this is no tribute to a dog- it's a tribute to a friend. Bartholomew Cletus Booher, who's in puppy heaven where there's no shadows to scare him, and eating all the chocolate he wants.
Barthomew Cletus Booher- June 1999-May 2008