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The Fabric of Life - Inside Out Empty

“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.” —Will Rogers

008I am about to get ahead of all this dog hair. The fine silky black hair that engrained itself in the carpet, settled in out of the way crevices and wafted through the air to land in whatever I was cooking was a royal pain.  Every day sees less evidence of a good dog gone. The dog bowls have been washed and stored away. Her leftover dry food and dog treats went to the Ranch dogs.

It was a month on Wednesday.

It is a flat out sin dogs do not live as long as we do and it has taken me the best part of this past month to realize how much I depended on Tuco the Dog.  Seems like everywhere I look there is a reminder of the void that was once so brim full.  The solitude of my life exacerbates the loneliness;  multiplies it ten upon tenfold.   Sometimes it is crushing and seems unbearable with no companion – canine or human – to offer solace.  It crosses my mind  more than once a day hermitude may not be all it is cracked up to be.

It just plain hurts.  But as we all know, there is no snivelin’ in the Oil Patch.  So get your shit together Bucky;  there is still life to be lived.

Looking back, it was an odd thing the last night she was with me.  I was sitting at the dinette as is the norm and Tuco was laying at my feet as was her norm.  Every time the driveway alarm would go off, I would carefully extricate myself and step over her to go take care of that vehicle.  It was a ballet well-practiced over years of evenings spent together.  She stood up at some point and put her head on my lap and when I bade her lie down, she was having none of that.   I finally gave in to her persistence and baleful stare and lifted her up on to the couch and sat down beside her.   She moved her head to my lap and I stroked her ears and head,  I preened and picked at her coat and talked to her in the language we shared and understood for the next two hours as Dancing With the Stars played out on the flat screen.   No traffic interrupted us and as the time passed,  her breathing became less labored and she was totally relaxed and at peace.     She would collapse a few hours later.  Stupid me was absolutely clueless.  Honest to God, I think she knew her time was short.  She was saying good bye to her human and preparing for a journey she could not understand but sensed was near.

 

The patchwork quilt in the background was the burial shroud.

The patchwork quilt in the background was to be the burial shroud.

The Power of the Dog

There is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
And when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brother and Sisters, I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.

Buy a pup and your money will buy
Love unflinching that cannot lie —
Perfect passion and worship fed
By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head.
Nevertheless it is hardly fair
To risk your heart for a dog to tear.

When the fourteen years which Nature permits
Are closing in asthma, or tumour, or fits,040
And the vet’s unspoken prescription runs
To lethal chambers or loaded guns,
Then you will find — it’s your own affair —
But . . . you’ve given your heart to a dog to tear.

When the body that lived at your single will,
With its whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!);
When the spirit that answered your every mood
Is gone — wherever it goes — for good,
You will discover how much you care,
And will give your heart to a dog to tear.

 

We’ve sorrow enough in a natural way,001-sleep
When it come to burying Christian clay.
Our loves are not given, but only lent,
At compound interest of cent per cent.
Though it is not always the case, I believe,
That the longer we’ve kept ’em, the more do we grieve:
For, when debts are payable, right or wrong,
A short-time loan is as bad as a long —
So why in Heaven (before we are there)
Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?  – Rudyard Kipling

 

The Badlands of Terlingua. Spring 2013

The Badlands of Terlingua. Spring 2013

When My Bro lost one of his beloved Dobermans, he told me he did not even think about getting another dog for 6 months, it was impossible to even consider.  When it was time, he got another Doberman.   My life in the Puckerbrush is centric on doing without some particulars that are taken for granted in every day life.  I do without simply because there is little other choice.   It is what it is, right?  But I will be tellin’  you right now  I do not believe I can do without when it comes to canine companionship.  My damn donkey is definitely in the ditch right now and it absolutely sucks.  I miss my runnin’ buddy horribly.   Some folks assert you are only allowed one great dog in your life.  If that be the case,  I have had mine.  Others say all dogs are good and none of them fall short.   I ascribe to the latter and I am moving forward on filling this gaping hole in my heart.  First off, I figured I would get another Gordon Setter but as the days passed,  I decided I just couldn’t face the reminder day in and day out.  Maybe my thinking is off but I really do not want a dog that reminds me of a great love that was taken from me all too soon.  I am just flat out not that damn tough and I cannot do it. Period.   So yeah,  I am looking for another big dog and the day cannot come too soon.

 

 

 

Tuco the Dogs window on the Big Ass Suburban, Not the opposite one; this one. It finally broke, run off the tracks from being rolled up and down a hunnert thousand times

Tuco the Dog’s window on the Big Ass Suburban, Not the opposite one; this one. It finally broke, run off the tracks from being rolled up and down a hunnert thousand times

Some of you regular readers may be wondering why the long delay in posts and I can answer that specifically and honestly.   I buried Tuco the Dog on that cold gray day a few days before Thanksgiving in the rough and rocky ground of South Texas.  I wrapped her in a patchwork quilt that my Mom had made for me decades earlier.  It was ratty and tatted from 30 years of use but Tuco didn’t care.   It was the blanket she laid on in the Big Ass Suburban when we were road trippin’,  it was the blanket she laid on in the NO Princess Palace,  it was the blanket she collapsed on with her final breath.

The Ranch Owners were good to me when Tuco died  They allowed me a pretty, peaceful spot to bury her and sent a backhoe over to dig a hole deep enough that the ‘Yotes could never get at her.  When it come time for me to lay her down in the grave, they respectfully backed off  a ways and gave me those few moments to say my last and private goodbye.  It was a fitting end for a good dog.  Tuco the Dog was all alive in this South Texas country.  She loved her freedom and getting to live as a real dog should.  I fretted the fact that this gate will close at some point and I will have to leave  here and she will remain forever in an unremarked grave; anchored to this land for the ages.  It was worrisome to me that I would leave a very large part of my life behind when that day came with me being the only one to do the rememberin’.  I decided to get a granite grave marker to mark her final resting place into eternity.  That simple gesture gave me the peace of mind to write this final chapter in the life of Tuco the Dog.

The grave marker came today and the words that have been pent up inside me for weeks finally flowed out.   I miss you silly dog, damn I do!   I will always love you unashamedly;  without reserve, with all my heart.


But there is one best place to bury a dog.
One place that is best of all.

If you bury him in this spot, the secret of which you must already have, he will come to you when you call –come to you over the grim, dim frontiers of death, and down the well-remembered path, and to your side again.

And though you call a dozen living dogs to heel they shall not growl at him, nor resent his coming, for he is yours and he belongs there.

People may scoff at you, who see no lightest blade of grass bent by his footfall, who hear no whimper pitched too fine for mere audition, people who may never really have had a dog.

Smile at them then, for you shall know something that is hidden from them, and which is well worth the knowing.

The one best place to bury a good dog is in the heart of its’ master.  – Ben Hur Lampman

 

R.I.P. Tuco

R.I.P. Tuco

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20 comments to The Fabric of Life – Inside Out Empty

  • Joel

    Sweet.

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  • Joel

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  • Larry Worsham

    Andy, I only know ya through this blog. I shed a tear while reading this and remember the dogs that I shared my life with. My first was a Malamute Shepherd cross “Patches” who lived with us 14 years, Pepper a bird dog cross mutt who was my daughters who lived with us about 13 years, Molly our little Aussie who lived 15 years. My current best friend is Shiner, a black mouth cur rescue who is now five. Each dog had a different personality somewhat unique to their breed. Each one came into our lives unexpectedly and gave what all dogs give. Love with no qualification. I am a better person because of each of them. Have a blessed New Year and you will know it when you next best friend selects you. Larry

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  • Monte

    Damnit, I got something in my eye ….

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  • Joel

    This doesn’t deal with dogs or wimmin, but you might enjoy it anyway:

    http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/10/19/pond-scum

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  • Thank you for sharing this precious memory.

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  • Dawn Rodgers

    Spot on! Many thanks for putting to words what many of us who have been loved by a dog (s) and loved them back have felt. May peace and Tuco’s love settle gentle on your soul , and a new companion find their way to you when the time is right.

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  • It has been my experience that dogs are a direct reflection of their owner’s love and care. I am sure any dog you have in the future will be equally loved and cared for. As a pet owner, I can feel your pain, silly animals become such a big part of your life to the point that I don’t trust people that aren’t animal lovers. I think they are missing out.

    Your tribute to your pal is wonderful.

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  • Nancy Klune

    Beautiful Andy. Just beautiful.

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  • Vince

    GawlDangit Andy, I’m outta Kleenex!!

    I know what you’re feeling. Been there.

    There’s gonna be a very happy puppy in the near future.

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    • Andy

      You are exactly right Vince. I picked up a 12 week old pup on Saturday. Stay tuned for details!

      Life is good!

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  • Vince

    Good for ya buddy!!!

    Now, show us some pictures of your new friend and while you’re up CLEAN UP THAT PUPPY PEE! BWAAHAHAHA!!

    Have a great puppy day!!!

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  • Paul

    Great to have you back good luck with the pup.

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  • Byron

    Thank you Andy. I appreciate your sharing and really happy that you are doing better.

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  • Martin

    Time got away from me. Life got in my way I guess. So when I opened up the link to your blog today I was shocked to read that Tuco was gone and that it’s almost two years since I visited.

    I suffer your loss with you as everyone who has loved a dog will do and I wish you all of the best. You may have already gotten another dog, I don’t know, the blog opened to where you said you were missing Tuco, hell I thought you left him somewhere for a while.

    In any case I’ll try to be a more loyal reader and not stay gone so long.

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    • Andy

      Hi Martin
      I went up to Natalia the day after Christmas 2015 and picked up a female German Shepherd puppy.

      Vela Von is a hound of the Puckerbrush born and raised and seems to be thriving here in the oil patch. She knows nothing else.

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