Monday, September 15, 2014

This Blog Should Be Called the Chronicles of Dead Black Dogs

Since that's all I seem to be writing about here.

We killed her.  I know that seems a little drastic but when you break it down it's true.  She had an addiction and we didn't break her of it.  She was an adrenalin junky.  You were Miss Bee.  You were.  She, from the moment she arrived here at the Homestead, chased things with wheels or legs that moved.  My earliest memories of her are of her chasing my garden cart as I pulled it around the property.  But here is the list of other things:

anyone on a bike
the 4 wheeler
the ski boat
children sledding
any bird, including our chickens
any chipmunk (their taunting chirps made her go berserk)
definitely the cat
Medora's goats
pollywogs in the pond
any ball, puck, or moving object thrown or kicked by a kid

I'm sure there are other things I've forgotten but her need to get whatever was moving is what ultimately led to her demise.  If we had been any good- we would have trained her.  We talked about a shock collar.  For years.  Would that have helped?  Tough saying, not knowing.  My guilt is overwhelming.  She was just starting out.  This was her beginning.

I've lost a follower.  I'm down one from 10.  I don't write on this here platform anymore.  Life with preteens is enough.  So, I'm sad to jot down only sad news but I want Bee's life chronicled somewhere.  I want to remember her just as I do today.  Sometimes time doesn't lend itself to remembering.  And I don't want to forget.

Liebe died on Mother's Day in 2011.  Bee was born June 9, a few months after.  We filled the hole with Bee.  She arrived with her rambunctious spirit, which was not loved by Sydney, our old hag.  Therein lied some guilt too.  It's rampant in these parts.  Early on Bee ate dead frogs on the road and perfected her art of chasing the cat.  It got to the point near the end of her life that she associated bringing down the recycling to the basement with the cat.  She would bark as soon as we picked up the recycling bucket to head towards the basement and like Pavlov's dog she drooled with the excitement of the prospect of a chase.  I won't be able to walk towards the basement door without remembering how she would blow by anyone to shoot down the stairs first- just in case the cat was within biting distance.  A few days before she died she almost had him.  He stayed in the brown shed until yesterday.

Bee was a free spirit in the woods.  She took her own path, often on the scent of a deer or two.  She would always come back, frothing at the mouth after a good long sprint.  This was okay in the woods, but I knew some day that it wouldn't be okay on our road- even though we live in the middle of nowhere.  We let her do it anyway.  Well, because we like to make our children happy.  I always kept her on a leash on the busier road at the bottom of the hill.  Paul Bunyan would sometimes risk it down there with her off-leash.  We had trained her to come to us when she heard a car.  We would make her sit until the car was out of sight and then we would release her.  Sometimes she would chase anyway.  But most of the time, she stayed with us.  And this worked for three and a half years.

Until Bee didn't have time to come back to me before the second car came down the road.

She slept at my feet and barked at 3 in the afternoon for dinner.  She barked at the shadows cast by the full moon.  She barked when she needed attention, which is why I got her a friend.  Bozie will have to be a different post.  But they played hard, together, for a full month.  They had their first fight on Friday.

Bee was a sweet sweet dog.  She had kisses for you whenever you wanted one.  She and Paul Bunyan would hug often.  All he needed to do was to get down on one knee.  She loved to lick his salty head.  He would give her a rub down in return.  We constantly wonder why we keep setting ourselves up for this heartache.  And I have to remind myself that the heartache is trumped by all the love and affection that we have received from all of our black labs.  Bee slept at my feet.  In the morning she crept up for kisses.  And there is nothing that can replace the feeling of contentment that you can receive from having someone come to greet you, happily, at the door.  Especially if your preteens don't care if you've come or gone.

I think it helps people deal with a loss when they tell themselves that their loved one died doing what he/she loved to do.  I'm quite certain the Crocodile Hunter's family said that when he died.  Or there was a guy who died using one of those wingsuits.  Or the local boy last month who drove his motorcycle too fast down a dirt road.  All these adrenaline junkies who knew the risks but did it anyway.  I could say that for Bee.  She was doing what she LOVED to do.  But she didn't know the inherent risks in doing what she was doing.  That's what's killing me.  We were the ones responsible for this.  I should have stayed in the woods.  I should have kept her on the leash.  We should have gotten that shock collar.  We should have trained her that first day she chased my garden cart.  should should should should should should.

Well, this I know.  Her legs and spirit traveled more in this time and place than most dogs do in a lifetime.  We shared a love and a short life and it was a gift.  She was a gift.  She is a gift.