I’ve joked many times about my helpers. One of my helpers, Mark, a 13 year old German Shepard/Husky/Wolf cross died on New Years Day.
Mark was my Dad’s dog. He’d asked his younger brother who had a farm in Sundridge Ontario if he knew where he could get a puppy, and Uncle Lindo delivered this golden colored, curly tailed, pointy eared goof, with enormous paws. Dad didn’t think Mark would get very big. Fifty some odd pounds later Dad conceeded that Mark was a bit bigger than he’d expected. Didn’t matter. The two were made for each other.
When the cancer came back, and we knew Dad didn’t have long to live, I promised him that Mark would be well taken care of. And when Dad passed away, Mark was one of the guests of honor at the funeral, something that all of Dad’s friends appreciated.
Over the years since Dad died, Mark has lived a somewhat spoiled life. All of us (my wife, kids, and myself) thought of Mark as our final link to Dad, and well, he was treated like a king.
Mark was the gentlest dog I’d ever seen. Yes, we put the hat on Princess, and the antlers on Mark, but the two of them were curled up together on the couch already. Mark and Princess often napped together.
Mark also acted as a babysitter whenever we had kittens in the house. The kittens absolutely loved having a big warm furry playground, and Mark didn’t mind being used as a playground.
And of course he was a cuddly little beast. A bit big for a lap dog though.
As he got older, he spent less time playing. In fact he seemed depressed, no matter how much attention he got. At some point we got the idea that he needed companionship, and that’s where Sam, the Beagle came into our lives. Sam was just what Mark needed, willing to play when Mark wanted to play, and willing to curl up for a nap when Mark wanted to nap.
And in the last couple of months it seemed that all Mark was doing was napping.
Mark died on the morning of New Years Day. He’d always had problems with fireworks and thunderstorms. New Years Eve someone decided to let off fireworks after midnight, and I suddenly had a terrified old puppy on my hands. It took forever to get him calmed down, and then he collapsed. We all sat up with him until he stopped breathing at 6:00 AM.
Poor Sammy didn’t know what to do. He’d spent almost all of his life following Mark everywhere, but now Mark wasn’t moving. He sniffed Mark’s body, and I guess he got it, because he wandered away with his head down.
Everybody here misses poor old Mark. He was a wonderful dog.
Oh, and Sammy. We had a pretty depressed Beagle on our hands. So we called up some people who do Beagle rescue work, and got Rose. Sammy wasn’t quite certain about Rose at first, but after three days the two of them seem to be getting along fine. They have enough interests in common – cadging food from the humans, and being taken for walks.
Friday January 14, 2011