R.I.P.

Tigger blowing his coat in Spring and waiting on the picnic table for his daily grooming. Some days I am convinced he is still out there, waiting for me.

What’s in a name?
            At the Farmer’s Market there are fourteen puppies in a cardboard box. One of the puppies, still blind, clambers whimpering over the side of the box and totters toward me. An elderly lady picks him up, thrusts him towards me and says:
            “Here: he’s your dog. He wants to be with you!”
            “No way, Lady!” I say and turn away.
            When I exit the market, I walk past the dog box. There are five dogs left but the one that wandered in my direction has gone. The salesman calls out to me: “Hey you!” He walks towards me. “That woman said you’d be back for your dog. Here: take him!” He unzips his coat, and there’s the dog, snuggled against his chest.
            “When was he born?” I ask.
            “January 16!” comes the reply.
            January 16 is my birthday. Today is March 8, the anniversary of my mother’s death. The dog is 53 days old, much too young to leave his mother.
            When I get home, my wife tells me to take the dog straight back to the market.
            “I can’t do that!” I say. “The man will be gone by now.”
            “But we don’t know anything about the dog!”
            “I’ll clean up after it.” I say. “I’ll feed it and train it.”
            “You’ll have to put it in a cage.” She tells me. “I’m not having it peeing and pooping all over the floor. You know why they’re called poopies.”
            Later that evening, I force the little puppy into the old dog’s crate, and I retire to bed. No sooner have I gone upstairs than there’s an unholy noise from the kitchen.
            “Help me!” I say to my wife.
            She laughs. “Not a chance! You know the rules!”
            Down in the kitchen the puppy is in distress. I take him out of his cage and he waddles and wags and promptly pees. I clean up after him and wonder what to do. The cage isn’t a solution. There’s no box in which to put him and any form of captivity, like a board across the door or a baby’s gate, sets him howling again. I gather my sleeping bag and a couple of cushions and I lie down on the kitchen floor. He immediately snuggles up to me, finds my finger, and sucks on it.
            I get up off the floor, make my way to the fridge, open the door, and pour a glass of milk; for the rest of the night, every time the dog gets restless, I stick my finger into the milk and the dog sucks my finger. I spend the next week doing this.
            While I’m lying on the floor, I study the dog.
            “What is your name?” I ask him constantly.
            Then, one night, as I watch him bounce across the room towards my milky finger, I know what to call him.
            “Tigger!”
            If I had waited another week, I might have called him Pooh!
            Tigger never leaves me. He is like an orphaned duck who follows the first human being who feeds it. Tigger follows me around the house with his nose behind my knee and if I stop suddenly, he bumps into me. My wife has started to call me Dada Duck. I now call her Mother Duck and our daughter has been renamed Baby Duck. Tigger has a second name: Dada Duck Dog.
            We have a little corner piece on our lot where the roads join and all the dogs stop, including mine. I went out there one day and put up a large sign with “Pooh Corner!” written on it. Beside it I placed an arrow which points “To the house!”
            All the children on the block love Tigger. When he came home, he weighed 6 pound and covered six tiles. Full grown, he weighs 110 pound and covers 108 tiles! He is gentle and well-behaved and everyone adores him. Some of the children want to buy a little saddle and ride on him, he is certainly big enough, but I won’t let them do that. The children on the block now call me Christopher Robin. At Christmas, they bring me pots of honey.
            As eleven years went by, Tigger grew old and slow. He developed cancer and had arthritis. On fine days he was fine, but on damp days he could hardly place one foot in front of the other. He had difficulty climbing the stairs and would sleep for hours rising only for his morning and evening walks and his food.
            Yesterday, el cinco de mayo, at 12 noon, Tigger passed away.
            Today, there is a little white cross at the corner of our lot. The children have laid a circle of flowers around the cross. On it somebody has painted: R.I.P. Tigger.

9 thoughts on “R.I.P.

    • All my posts have moments of truth in them. Yet not all are true. If it sounds true, it is. I am afraid that Covid puppies [poo-pees] are like Christmas poo-pees, forgotten in the New Year after they are unwrapped. That said, I also know that you and I, who have lived with animals all our lives, would love another animal, especially a dog, at this time. We are torn between ‘yes’ and ‘no’ but we are getting on and Tigger was one of a kind: just look at him. I’d have another Tigger tomorrow. Alas, he was and always will be, my last dog! Mind you, at 120-115-110 lb, he was a monster to look after. Now a Peke or a Habanese … that’s a different matter. But not for me. Hope all goes well in these difficult days. We were in the Red Zone, but got out on Tuesday last: Orange now. Best wishes. Roger.

      Liked by 1 person

      • If I could just take care of another one….. Not a day goes by that I don’t miss Max, but I know how difficult it is for me to get around now. Plus, there’s that pesky power chair that could hurt or kill a little one.
        I got the COVID vaccination on Thursday, and will get the follow up booster in three weeks. Nothing to the vax, it went in so fast I am wondering if they really used a needle at all. Some people said they felt it but I sure didn’t. Now to wait and see if it is effective. Wonder how many months or years it will take to find that out>

        Liked by 1 person

      • There, see: always thinking about the animals. Glad you have had your first vaccination. We don’t know when we’ll get ours up here. A total mystery. We are well isolated, reasonably well protected, and we don’t see anyone. So hopefully… troubles stay away from our door!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Just stay away from the irresponsible people who still think it’s only a hoax. We have so many of them down here. They should all be locked up together so the rest so the rest of us can have a chance,
        So far so good with the vaccination. Two weeks before the booster and still having to isolate myself because of the ones who are still refusing to wear a mask! I have rights also, and one of them is a safe living environment. I wanna go back to the farm. I know that’s selfish, but if there was a chance at all I would jump at it. Put up a tent or something. At least there would be a place to get out of the building without danger of catching anything except a cold!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I went to post a letter yesterday and forgot to put my mask on. It was in my pocket and was back on in seconds. I am beginning to feel comfortable in my mask. Ha to snow blow today and it didn’t go too badly. I did the steps and then back part of the house, facing south. Hiraeth: the Welsh word for wanting that which we had, lost, and will never have again. There is no word for it in English! And yes, there are das when I would like to back in the Wales of my childhood that I knew. Alas, I also know it has vanished forever, along with the people who inhabited it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • My Highway 81 is gone now also. The road still exists and is in the same place but nothing is the way I remember itl And most of the people I once knew have passed away by now, One of these days I’ll look in the paper and see mh own obit and on that day I’m not going to get out of bed all day. Don’t think I wold have to look far for an excuse on that day.

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