Avalanche | The Bark

I wonder, whether I will die due to dehydration or hypothermia? Then a thought occurred to me: I was buried in an avalanche, high in the Alps. So, it won’t be dehydrated. I only need to stick the tongue to access an unlimited amount of snow hydration. It will be cool that will bring me. Not a pleasant way to go, I thought. But just then, I heard. The sound of giant paws digging frantically through the snow. I am saved! Saint Bernard is trusted, Wenny, to save me.

After several more frantic times of digging, my blanket was crouched under out. I sat on the cold kitchen floor playing her favorite game: Alpine Rescue. For centuries, monks at St Bernard Pass, a treacherous route through Italy and the Swiss Alps, 8,000 feet above sea level, relied on Saint Bernards to rescue thousands of hapless travelers. And now, only a few feet above kitchen floor level, my good Saint saves me during the daily match. Once the “snow” blanket was removed, he threw himself – all one hundred and forty pounds – on my lap and began to lick my face. Then I thought he should be made of 130 pounds of muscle and determination and ten pounds of tongue. How I adore him!

It was a little after the family’s dog adventure began. A year earlier, when my daughter was about six years old, I wanted to get her first dog. I was thinking about a Beagle, as it was my childhood dog, and what a wonderful dog he was! (Although he betrayed me by refusing to feed my mother the hard-as-nails twice-boiled Brussels Sprout when I secretly slipped them to him under the kitchen table while eating.) So, I began to think of letting Beagle for my only child. . But my wife is convinced that a bigger dog would be better, that our daughter can be more physically active. I searched around and found candidates at local shelters.

His name is Andy. He was half golden Labrador, half Greyhound. He strayed his way when he was found and taken to a shelter two weeks earlier. The shelter staff gave him the name Andy, which seemed an odd dog name to me, at first, but as soon as my wife, daughter, and I met with him at the shelter, we thought that Andy was the only possible name. . His age is unclear, but the shelter veterinarian thought he was six to eight years old. He was tan, with a long nose, a slender face shaped like a greyhound, and with the sweet floppy ears of a Labrador. He was both handsome and goofy looking at the same time. His brown eyes were big and soulful. And, even though he doesn’t have many teeth left, he seems somehow as light, kind, and discreet as Sheriff Andy Taylor on “The Andy Griffith Show”. So, we brought it home one Saturday morning. Considering that we live in an old farmer’s house in a quiet suburb, now with old Andy wise, I practically expect Opie, Barney, and Aunt Bee to come strolling up to the front door with apple pies at any minute when we hang around the house. weekend.

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My daughter’s bedroom was very small so he got a day bed with a pull-out trundle on wheels underneath. That weekend, every night, I would pull out the trundle, which has its own guest mattress, and my daughter would sleep in bed during the day while Andy slept next to her on the trundle bed. So sweet. It was a peaceful weekend and our little family is now adding. We all thought Andy was the best. Then, the first thing Monday morning, the little fuck ran away.

I was preparing to drive my daughter to school and take Andy to work with me. My hands were full of bowls, blankets, and toys, and when I evaporated to open the door, he was out in a flash. That’s when Greyhound kicks. He shoots to the road such an arrow, straight and fast. I told my daughter to wait at the door and then dashed out after Andy. I still got his bowl and blanket in my arm. After a few minutes, and he was farther away from me now, he began to run to the neighbor’s back yard, because I began to realize that I would never catch him. Panic flooded my mind. What would I tell my daughter? How can I tell her I just lost her first dog?

At this point, Andy runs in and out of many homes away. In exasperation and fatigue, I dropped to my knees and began to call for him as I furiously waved his blanket overhead. He saw the blanket and immediately ran to me. Apparently, blanket waiving was his signal that the game was now catching me. I threw his stuff and picked him up. All sixty-five pounds lanky long-legged. I brought him home, both wide and rippling mad.

In the next year, Andy settled in nicely. There were many walks to school with three people: Andy, my daughter, and me. But as the years dragged on, his eyes looked more spirited, somehow he lost more teeth, and I wondered why he needed two dentures and a dog companion during school / workday. Since dentures are not an option, I am going to assign a companion. It turns out that my daughter’s school crossing guards often bring their son Saint Bernard with him in the morning. She told me about the farm where her Saint comes from, and in time I planned to get a Saint Bernard puppy.

Wenny was only twelve weeks and twelve pounds when he came to earth. She likes me to carry her on my shoulders around the house. Six months from then, he still wants accession by eighty -five pounds. Every time we played Alpine Rescue after he dug me out of the “snow,” he would pass me, pause, and start backing up to me to place the rather large bottom on one of my shoulders. I oblige him as long as I can until the girth and weight becomes too much. I think it helped my chiropractor to send his boy to college. But by the time Wenny reaches a hundred pounds (soon to be a hundred and forty), shoulder rides are out of the question. My wife and daughter believe that Wenny still sees herself as a good puppy when we were first brought to earth.

Her favorite treat was blueberries. But they must be small, and she will eat only one. But when he was about nine or ten months old, his lips apparently drooped overnight. He got jowls. Many of them. I took a little blue berry, put it into the folds of his mouth, then he then rolled and rolled and rolled. About five minutes later, plop! Berry out of his mouth to the floor. I would stick back, and he would start again. Eventually, she will swallow Berry. You can leave a pint of fresh blueberries on the kitchen counter and don’t worry that she’d eat it all because it would take her about a decade.

Andy and Wenny get on just dandy. But within a few years, poor old Andy died. Soon after, Maggie, a Basset Hound puppy, came into our lives. She was all ears. It was so long that when she had a pup, her ears would drag along the floor as she tore through the house. She often tripped on them. She and Wenny adored each other. He was crazy and sweet and soft like a velveteen rabbit. She lived with us for several years after Wenny died.

This is not the type of dog story, though. You know kind of: about my old dog, Blue, who when he died, I didn’t know what to do, etc., etc. No, this is a love letter to a dog. But of course, eventually, all of our furry friends graduated. When Wenny died, a year after bone cancer, my wife said that this was the first time he had seen me cry in our decade together. He is right. I have long learned how to divide. However, the hatch to the compartment where my tears had been bottled and stored did not open the day that Wenny’s died.

A few years from then, Maggie, Bassett died, a year after her first stroke. I found myself sitting next to her on the floor of the vet exam room. Just me and my old hound dog. After the act was done, sitting next to her still, body warm, I cried. a lot.

The door to the compartment was now wide open. I cried for years of his struggle, and because I knew how much I would miss him tomorrow and many mornings. I cried because I couldn’t save her, because I couldn’t save Wenny. I think I cried because I couldn’t save anyone. Not my father, who died of cancer a year before my daughter was born. Not my marriage is broken. Not my nana, who died when I was just a cracked kid with a pocket full of poetry and a head full of fantasies.

Nana died in front of me, in the doctor’s office who, just a few years before, I ran to the bathroom to take a woman napkin to save him from the scary shame because his chocolate ice cream dripped on. Her lovely blue and white polka dot dress. I don’t know what a feminine napkin is. I thought this was just a really, really well-built napkin, and I would be her savior in bringing one to her. But that napkin was wrong, and I didn’t save him from the dripping ice cream. And now, when he dies, flat on the cold waiting room floor, no one can save him from something more terrible than a messy dress. The doctor and nurse dragged him to his office and closed the door. I never saw him again. This was my first exposure to the shock of sudden death. I ran to find the nearest public phone to call the parents. But she has gone. I didn’t cry, it seems of surprise. I learned to compartmentalize.

Now, though, life later, next to Maggie the Bassett, I finally cry for Nana. There was an avalanche of tears that there was no Saint Bernard to dig me. I have yet to save Maggie, Wenny, my father, many aunts, uncles, friends, pets, marriage, and dreams. So, I cry now for them all and for myself. But then, after a while, I just stopped crying. I close the hatch and sealed it. I laughed a little, like Paul Newman at the end of “Cool Hand Luke,” when he was surrounded by guards after his prison break, and he realized there was nothing out. Looking at the sky, he said, “Well, Lord, if you’re up, thought that’s the way you play, huh? I feel so. So, I told Maggie the time I left.

When I got a dog, I knew there would be an end time, a time of heartache. Shortly after my good Labrador friend died, I asked if he wanted anything else. “Not again!” he stated. Never again will he open himself to such heartache, however, he explains. I know it hurts, I said. But the way I see it, we are not born into this quiet world to play it safe. We are here to strive, to aspire, to achieve, and most importantly, love. Life is a journey, not a destination, as the saying goes. Sometimes, we break along the way.


Shortly after Maggie died, I adopted Coonhound, a two -year -old girl named Riley. She is the new canine love of my life. That’s when the pandemic peaks. I live alone. He is a rescue from Tennessee. Riley to the rescue. I thought I started to save him. But actually, he saved me. What a rush!

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