The loss of old dogs at our home continues with Wizard’s passing this morning.
The events of Wizard’s death are so fresh and raw that I’ve twice begun this blog with a detailed description of the events. Then I’ve deleted what I wrote. Twice.
I want to celebrate the marvelous dog Wizard was, rather than sharing the details of an old dog who woke us up struggling, paralyzed, and who died staring into my eyes, completely trusting my ability to make scary stuff go away.
When my first marriage was bearing down “on the rocks,” I immersed myself in dog activities. Dog rescue, dog training, dog obedience instructing, dog temperament testing at a local shelter, dog search and rescue, and dog shows took bigger chunks of my time.
The last few months of my first marriage included my first experience at euthanizing an old dog, sharing the experience with my then-husband, being so moved by the event that I wrote an essay about it, winning the opportunity to renew our vows and possibly a 4-day second honeymoon, having my husband refuse to partake, spending valentine’s day at the local shelter temperament testing adult dogs, and finding Wizard in the puppy room.
The moment I met Wizard I knew he was mine. I thought about nothing else for 2 days before I adopted him for good. I’ve occasionally referred to Wizard as “the straw that broke the camel’s back” but, in reality, my ex-husband’s girlfriend probably provided that straw. We just weren’t his thing.
Wizard always had a heightened sense of home security. Here’s one of my funny Wizard stories … he was a character.
The first day of my life post-marriage, I returned from a day at work and fixed myself a frozen dinner. I walked it from the kitchen to the dining table. Wizard started barking at the kitchen door, sounding like someone was right outside the door. I didn’t think anyone had managed to get to the door without my knowing it, but I went to check it out anyway. After a few seconds looking out the door and seeing nothing, I said “Wizard, I think you’re losing it, ’cause I don’t see anyone … Wizard? Wizard?” He was gone … I went to the dining room and there he was, front feet on my seat, eating my dinner.
The second day I returned home from work, fixed my dinner, and walked it to the dining room. Wizard again exploded at the kitchen door. Remembering my error the day before I pushed my dinner to the middle of the table and went to check what was bothering Wizard. “You’re losing it again, Wiz — I don’t see anything — Wizard? Wizard?” I returned to the dining room and there he was, back feet on my chair, front feet on the table, again consuming my dinner.
The third day I returned home from work, fixed my dinner, and walked it to the dining room. Wizard again exploded at the kitchen door. Remembering my previous errors I picked my plate up and carried it, over my head, to the kitchen. On the way to the kitchen door I passed Wizard who was quickly heading to the dining room. As we passed he glanced up at me, spotted the plate over my head, did a double-take, looked sheepish and gave me a big doggie grin. I had passed his test, though it took me a few days to get it household security right.
We referred to Wizard as our head of security. He responded to all strangers with open loathing, hate, and aggression. He responded to all family and friends with adoration and cloying affection, affection best given while on your lap, on your chest, in your face.
We’ve asked ourselves many times in the last few months, “what are we going to do for a watchdog when Wizard’s gone?” Not one of our dogs takes it seriously when there’s a breach, not like Wizard did. When strangers asked, “will that dog bite?” I’d say, “it depends — sometimes yes, sometimes no.” I figured anyone asking if my watchdog bites needs to know it’s a possibility.
Wizard is now with Tack, Banner, Bogie, and Birdie at the Rainbow Bridge. Our home is quieter and less secure.
Thankfully, Kory began assuming the back-up security position, emitting a strange howl when he sees strangers in the driveway. As with any transition to a new security system, I’m sure there will be glitches.