I came agonizingly close to losing my big ol’ dog Trinity twice in the last few weeks. At 12 or 13 years old, I know he doesn’t have many left, but I’m sure not ready to say goodbye to my best friend just yet. Neither is his Girl-Friday, …
I know you’ve heard it before, but allow me to reinforce it lest you ever forget. Always tell those closest to you how much you love them, because no one has a promise of tomorrow, and today might be your last chance. Hug them, kiss them, laugh with them. And never push them away when they insist on sniffing your crotch.
I came agonizingly close to losing my big ol’ dog Trinity twice in the last few weeks. At 12 or 13 years old, I know he doesn’t have many left, but I’m sure not ready to say goodbye to my best friend just yet. Neither is his Girl-Friday, common-law wife, Trina the Brittany Spaniel.
Trinity has been a little long in the tooth the last six months, although his teeth are still amazingly white. I’d kill for those teeth!
But he’s incurred the typically-bad hips for a large, elderly dog and takes increasingly longer getting up and down. No longer able to climb into my old truck he loves so, a friend built him a carpet-lined ramp, and it’s good to have him back where he belongs.
But I guess it’s the natural cycle of life; I’ll soon need a ramp myself to get into the truck. Other than lost mobility though, he’s been relatively healthy with good eyesight and keen hearing. I’d kill for that hearing. But on Sunday, Sept. 18, a day before my birthday, he seemed badly disoriented, standing in one spot and staring for long periods.
The middle of that night, when I had to be up early to finish a Meeteetse roofing job, I was awakened by three sharp barks. I rushed down to find him at the bottom of the stairs near the front door where he often sleeps, but standing in the corner just staring at the wall.
His breathing was heavy and at one point, he laboriously lay down, then immediately struggled back to his feet. Eventually he lay down again, but his breathing suddenly got so shallow I actually put my fingers to his nostrils to feel for breath. The fear seized me that Trinity was dying right before my eyes on my birthday. Moments later though, one of his life nemesis’, a pesky fly was buzzing his head when he snapped to life, attempting a midair snatch. He missed, but that irritability was a great sign.
He seemed slightly better that morning, but the entire, long day in Meeteetse, all I could think about was possibly arriving home to find him gone. I drove home in the dark, haunted by worst-case thoughts, so I was overjoyed when they both greeted me at the door as normal.
Long story almost short, my vet agreed with my guess of a possible stroke. But the results of his thyroid exam came back days later and Dr. Moore called with orders to double his meds dosage immediately. Trinity soon began his comeback.
Weeks later, I thought a dump run to unload shingle waste would be great therapy for my little family. That landfill has always been their favorite getaway spot; I think maybe the smells remind them of home. As I worked, they explored, but when I finished, only Trina returned. I called Trinity’s name over and over with neither sight nor sound of him.
At the weigh area, John put out a radio call to the employees to search. That was the evening of the cold, driving rain, and my truck slid sideways repeatedly on that mucky dirt road winding through the landfill I drove while screaming Trinity’s name every inch of the way. John searched himself for a while after closing, but finally had to lock the gate, promising to call when he opened the next morning. Little Trina looked at me from the passenger side with confusion, but I was past confused; I was devastated knowing Trinity would be out there in the cold, wet night to fend for himself.
All I could think about at home was what he must be going through, and how, in his weakened condition, he might not make it through the stormy night. At 7 p.m., Trina and I loaded up and headed back out there in my Camaro.
I stood at that locked gate shining my flashlight and calling unceasingly, but after 20 minutes, I knew it was probably hopeless. I contemplated giving up when I spotted two beams of light spaced about as far apart as a dog’s eyes might be. There was Trinity, slowly trudging up that muddy road towards me, disoriented but alive.
My prodigal son hound had been found, but instead of ordering my servants to prepare the fattened calf, I gave the big fella an extra portion of Pedigree beef chunks in gravy that night. I hugged him, kissed him, told him how much I loved him and I stroked his big hairy head until my arm tired. Man, I’d kill for that thick hair!