Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Our Last 20 Days Will Live Forever

Monday was significant for two reasons. It marked a year since I began a great new phase of my life following nearly four challenging and rewarding decades as a destination or community marketing executive.first canon 002

Monday also marked the first anniversary of what turned out to be the final 20 days in the life of my first English Bulldog Toady.

She lived a long time, especially by Bulldog standards. She suffered from Alzheimer’s and creaky joints and her eyesight was nearly gone but she seemed elated to have me home all day during what turned out to be our final 20 days together.

Toady hated to walk so it is with irony that the image I posted with this blog taken during Monday’s walk reminded me so much of her. It is a photo of Rockwood Park, just down the hill from where I live in Durham and where I walk each morning with my my three-year old English Bulldog Mugsy.

Right up until that morning when she passed away suddenly during a routine visit to the Vet, Toady was more enthusiastic than usual, doing her rocking side-to-side “happy dance” each day when Mugs and I returned from a walk.

Toady’s life overlapped Mugsy’s by two years so in some way I guess I must have anticipated the transition. He very much was her “pup,” although not by birth, but the difference between Mugs and Toad is like night and day. He loves to walk. He lives in the moment and to ride with me to do errands in the Jeep. I’m contemplating a sidecar so he can go with me on the Harley Cross Bones.00009_p_aaeuyfyqe0565

The default expression on his huge, flat face is dead-pan. He’s extremely affectionate and loveable, a big “galumph” as my friends and neighbors call him.

While the saying goes, “English Bulldogs aren’t slow, they just think things through very carefully,” Mugs isn’t reflective. But he seemed permanently frozen to the floor below the Vet’s table after Toad died; and once I had held her tight and kissed her goodbye and they had taken a cast for me of her huge paw print, I had to carry him away, all 50 lbs.Toady and Mugsy 3

Within a week he seemed to get over Toad but not a day has passed this year without her crossing my mind. She had huge eyes and usually a big smile. She’d sway from side to side to country music. She had a great, teasing, sense of humor.

Her many moods were always duly noted and she instinctively knew when to use her “quiet voice.” Mugs doesn’t.

She has a forever place in my life filled with lots of happy memories, but I had it easy. During a 10 month span in his sixth year, my grandson, who loves all-things-dog, lost Toady, his mom’s dog Shelby and his aunt’s dog Frazier, all to old age. But kids are resilient, especially after he and his brother got to know Mugsy up-close-and-personal when we visited them during our 6,000 mile cross country road trip last Fall.

Here’s to Toady, one year later. R.I.P. sweet girl.

1 comment:

B. said...

Oh, Reyn, I'm so sorry about Toady. It's a difficult thing.