a boy and his dog

Yesterday, I was Corgi-rolled.  Yes, I realize this is not a thing, but I hope it soon will be.  I’ve long had an obsession with the Welsh Corgi, and they just keep appearing in emails and Facebook posts.

I don’t mind.  If I’m known for adoring Welsh Corgis, so be it.  There are worse fates.

No, I’ve never owned a Welsh Corgi.  If I did, I’d name it “Whirlybird.”

Welsh corgi, no.  Toy poodle, yes.  Benji–I know, clever name, right?  An apricot ball of yarn that my high school friends will remember for his bad breath and his affinity for nesting on your rear.  Or your lap.  Pretty much any divot your body creates while not in motion.

His yapping–his endless yapping.  Poor bugger was stricken with separation anxiety.  Broke your heart to leave him but no animal was more appreciative of your return home.

He slept in my bed every night.  They say you shouldn’t let your pet do that, but they say you shouldn’t do a lot of things.  I never slept so well knowing he was there.

When I left for college, I put him in charge of the house.  And a couple months later when my mom was diagnosed with cancer, I put him in charge of watching out for her.  He did his best; I didn’t blame him when she didn’t pull through.

Benji never understood that our dinner wasn’t for him–but he knew exactly what I lost that day.  He couldn’t give it back–her back–but certainly tried.

I was busy with college and my dad was busy with work, so Benji went to live with my grandma.  I saw him at holidays.  In that way, he sort of became more like a distant cousin than a brother; but still family.

My dad and grandma would say he was getting old.  The vet said Benji had dementia.

I shook my head and said, “Are you kidding me?  Why?  Does he not know what year it is?  Does he not know that Kathy Lee was replaced by Kelly Ripa?  What?”

He seemed fine to me.  Between loads of laundry, I took him for a walk.  I purposely walked him into the paths of objects.  No to be cruel, but to test him–they told me he couldn’t see anymore.

He dodged, he swerved.  Zigged.  Zagged.

I was pretty caught up in my own little world when my dad called to tell me Benji was being put to sleep.  He asked if I wanted to come home and see him again before he took him in.

I said I was busy.  I never wanted to see someone before they died–knowing they were going to die.

I was at my university, appealing to a special board for a grant–because my parents couldn’t work with my mom about to go into hospice–when she died.  I didn’t have a cell phone.  I pulled up to a driveway full of cop cars and ambulances and tears and had to piece it together.

I know that the loss alone is torment enough.  I don’t need to be haunted by the sobbing goodbyes.

Benji passed quietly.  To me, especially.  No rifle erupted, no gong sounded.  He was just gone.  That’s how these things went.

I’ve been thinking about him a lot lately.  Maybe it was because I found a picture of my mom and dad holding him.  You know how in movies–especially time travel ones–there’s always that picture?  That specific plot device picture that someone fades in and out of?  That’s a lot what it’s like.  The person doesn’t disappear, but they are just a memory.  Memories don’t recharge.  You just get further and further from them.  So in a way, the person in a picture becomes a stranger.  I wonder some days if I’m remembering my mom or if I’m just remembering what she looked like in pictures.

It’s getting that way with Benji now.  I dream about him often.  I’m constantly trying to work a pet into my stories.  I just….want a dog.

There’s no good way to wrap this up.  Good thing it’s just a blog.


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