Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Dogs Shouldn't Have To Stop

Ezarhodden (Hoddie) Hamilton 1995 - 2009

I started writing this with Hoddie in my lap, doped up and still pretty uncomfortable. We've worked on his bladder tumor for two months, and seen success with that, and dammit if a neurological problem and other tumors didn't creep in a side door to take him out. We let him go Tuesday, before he got any more miserable. Kermit and Sophie started showing up to sit with him a couple days ago. I'm not entirely sure he's ever been 100% happy since Kermit died.

Kermit and Hoddie soaking up some rays - Holden Beach, 1997

In February 1995, I brought home a four week old puppy the size of the palm of my hand, that had been left out to freeze with his sister. My folks kept the sister, and Ezarhodden went home with me. From about 2.4 seconds after I opened the door and Kermit saw him, he was Kermit's. Kermit would wash him and groom him as in the above pic, even years later when they had both gone gray, and even as Kermit's body failed him. They were inseparable, and Kermit learned to get over the beatings and abuse of his puppyhood and stop being afraid of people by watching Hoddie happily go up to anyone.

Snow on Wilkes St (that's Winnie standing by the truck) 2001

All his puppy pics got destroyed when Hurricane Fran trashed the Wilkes St trailer; these are some of the earliest I have.

Hodds wasn't afraid of anything (that's a Min-pin/Feist for ya). I had to yank him off a 2 foot rattlesnake he pointed and challenged in the woods behind the house I lived in in Hampstead, and when I took them over to run on the beach strand, good luck keeping him out of the water.

Afternoon run in the woods - January 2003

Hoddie was one of a team of four dogs that all came my way when I lived at the coast, a group that combined some of the best, most dynamic personalities I've ever met. Together for a decade, they were more than a pack; the whole was greater than the sum of its parts, and those parts were pretty damned awesome. I am privileged to have had them as family. Winnie is the "baby" and the last dog standing of the group, and she'd better not go anywhere for a long time yet.

Hodds was a good-tempered, canny little bugger; he told Muggsy when he could and couldn't sit on the couch, and used to trick the other house critters away from the heaters in the old trailer by going and rattling their food bowls, and running back to get in the coveted spot when they went to investigate. Later on he pulled the same stunt to get Muggsy out of his beloved rattan rocking chair.


I know, one of the things about having furry family is they never get to stay long enough. You generally outlive all your kids. And even when they tell me they're tired and ready to go, I hate walking them to the gate and giving them back. Depending on how the disassociation of spirit goes, I usually feel like one of us is stopped there in a bubble of time, and the other is moving away, at least until they decide to pop back in to visit. It almost seems a bit like he and Josephine traded off or something.

Kermit came to get him, so that helps - it's good that they're off running around together again. But it's going to be a long time till I quit expecting to hear little clicky toenails trotting through the house, and to have a small brindled head nose his way under the covers to join the Sleeping Pile. Don't stay away long, Tap Dancer. We all miss you.

The Original Couch Trippers

Josephine and her Doglets - Winnie, Kermit, Hoddie, and Sophie

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