Roscoe and Archie

I grew up with dogs, they were a family fixture.  When my wife and I bought our first home, I wasn’t sure I wanted to take on a dog of my own.  The barking, the walking, the not being able to be away from the home for long periods… you know, all the inconveniences of owning a dog.  Eventually my wife talked me into considering it and as soon as I laid my eyes on who would eventually be named Roscoe, my heart melted and I knew he was my dog.  Soon after we took Roscoe home, he needed a friend too.  We then adopted Rosie, a Pug/Beagle mix.

Roscoe

Roscoe was great.  He was one of those dogs who it seemed as though he wanted to be my best friend, and he was.  Where ever I was, he was with me, we were partners in crime.  I think one of the best things about him was that even though he was too large to be a lap dog, he didn’t know that, and I liked it.  There was something really comforting about having him sitting with me on the couch or laying with me in bed.  Always quiet, he would just hang out.  After some time, he had two names.  He was also known as ‘Buddy’, a description which soon became a moniker.  Roscoe was one of life’s great dogs.  He was a happy dog.  My wife described his demeanor as being grateful for being adopted (we a got him from a rescue shelter).  And I think that was an apt characterization, he did seem grateful.

Early January he became ill.  He had little interest in eating, wasn’t drinking much, and wasn’t himself.  At first I though he just might not be feeling well and it would pass.  But it didn’t pass.  After some tests, the vet broke the news that his kidneys were failing.  We did all we could for the few weeks we had left, but it did little to help him.  I made a nice spot for him in the yard of our new home, and when it was time, it was time.  I had Roscoe for more than nine years.  We lost him on January 20th of this year, not even a month.  In the few days leading up to what I knew would be his final ride in the car, I was inconsolable — even as I write this I can’t help but to tear up.

I was adamant that I didn’t want another dog, but I also knew that wasn’t a feeling which would last.  My wife, daughters and I weren’t the only ones feeling the loss of Roscoe, Rosie was noticeably not herself.  She was obviously feeling the loss of her life long companion.

Who could foresee the impact of losing a dog?  Not me.  I mean, I knew I’d be upset, and even sad.  But I had no idea that I’d grieve, not like this.  My wife, wanting to lift my spirits, suggested we get another dog.  I wanted no part of it, it was too soon.  She was diligent in her defiance and sent me photos of dogs from websites where they were ready for adoption.  With each cute little puppy face she sent, I replied “no, not yet”.  That is, until one photo.  I saw him and knew this was my dog.

I went to pick up the 11 week-old pup who was with a foster family while awaiting adoption about 30 miles away.  The ride home felt a bit weird for me.  Was I supposed to be getting a new dog yet?  Was it too soon?  I couldn’t tell.  During the ride I found myself talking to him, like a conversation.  I don’t usually talk to animals, not like a discussion anyway.  I told him “I wasn’t sure why I was doing this so soon, but if you’re on board, then so am I.”  Not like he could understand me, but I told him all about Roscoe.  “He was my buddy, I need you to be my buddy now, but you’ve got some big paws to fill.”

We named him Archie, he looks like an Archie to me.

This is how I sleep, weird

Never apart

Rosie

Sleeping all day after keeping us up til 4 a.m.

My oldest can’t leave him alone

Archie

My Buddy

Comments

  1. Beautiful dog John kinda reminds me of my Lucy a little

  2. The brevity of a dog’s life is one huge disadvantage to being a dog owner. You are setting yourself up for heartbreak. But it’s worth it.

    Rocky was that one great dog for me. He was a Dalmatian and beagle mix. He had the shape and voice of a beagle, but his fur was that of a Dalmatian. He was the smartest dog I ever saw. He could open a door, unlatch a gate, and show an odd ability to reason. I had him about 16 years. He died when I was 18, so I had him throughout my childhood. He lived a good long life – by dog standards.

  3. We had a Huskie we named Sheba. Black and white, when she was a pup, her markings on her face made her look mean. Many feared her because of her look. but she was really very friendly. The look changed as she got older, or perhaps we just saw through it. My wife and daughter, who came along after Sheba had already been with us for a few years, were quite fond of Sheba. I have always loved animals, but have never had an attachment with them that equals any I’ve ever had with a person. Nonetheless, it was a real drag when she got old and arthritic. There was a medical procedure she required, I don’t remember what it was for, but she was released to us far too early. She was obviously still whacked out from the anesthetic, and she couldn’t walk easily. When she got into the house and up into the kitchen, she slipped on the tile and her four legs went out sideways. She screamed and couldn’t get up. She screamed more as I tried to right her, and tried to bite me because of the pain she obviously felt. I let her and picked her up anyway and once she had her legs under her, she was fine and able to lie down. From that point on, she had a hard time getting up the stairs, lying down, and anything that required mobility. At one point, she got out of our fenced yard and I found her a few properties away “running” back and forth with the dog confined inside another fence. Her joy at being with another dog trumped her discomfort, and she seemed lifted even as I led her back to the house. But the agony she endured was obviously too much and the decision was eventually made to put her down. The women-folk were traumatized. My sadness was for them. For me, it was no more than a bummer. Like I said, I love animals. But to me they are never more than merely animals. I gotten heat for this, as if I’m crapping on humanity. I dig how people get attached to their pets. I was attached as well, but she was a pet, not a daughter or wife.

    I always used to joke that Sheba was our last meal, should times get tough. Went she went, we got another pet. This time, a cat the women call Salem, and I call Bob. He is no better than a snack, but for now, he’s no trouble. Not as much fun as Sheba, but I don’t have to walk him. In fact, the thought of leaving the house totally freaks him out. He also hides when company comes, so some people have never laid eyes on him and believe he is a fiction. But this is OK, since, unlike Sheba, he is never underfoot.

  4. Roscoe would be happy you saved another dog. Dogs are like that.

    Pets grab hold of your heart and rip it out when they die, but I still have cats. Sera, my oldest kitty is 20 1/2 and I have no idea why she’s still alive, but she still is perky, can jump, eat and poop, so we’ll keep spoiling her. I hope one day she just drifts off to sleep.

    • Sally

      I think you’re right about dogs. They are like that. And with a 20 year-old cat, she and you are very blessed to be so youthful. I hope for both of your sakes she goes peacefully in her sleep… without the suffering of pain and ailments.

      A little confession, the night before taking him to the vet to put him down (we planned to take him that Sunday) I prayed most of the night that he would just pass in his sleep and I wouldn’t have to do it. I was conflicted. My heart told me I was doing it to him, but my head knew it was best that he not live in pain and discomfort. Any treatments would just prolong his suffering and in the end I’d be left with memories of a suffering broken dog instead of the loyal buddy I had for a decade.

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