For AJ, the Greatest Dog in the World

Posted on | September 28, 2012 | 1 Comment

This morning,  J and I had to walk the length of my yard to find my dog.  My sweet, almost fifteen year old baby boy, who couldn’t hear me calling him because he’s lost his hearing completely.  And the thought of him fading from me, little by little, piece by piece, is tearing me apart.  Because he was and is my very first boy, my sweetest baby with soulful brown eyes and sweet perked ears that cocked from side to side when he used to hear me ask him questions.    When he finally saw us through the branches of the bush he was behind, he crept out slowly, a sweet old man smile on his aged face.  He tried to bound over to us the way he wanted but after two little hops, he slowed his pace, limping his way to my side and letting J wrap his arms around his neck and whisper “we were so worried about you” into the ears that can no longer hear.  My sweet fur baby is fading away from me, and I am heartbroken.

My junior year in college, I spent the summer taking French classes.  I’ve never been good at learning new languages so I thought the smaller class size and longer hours would help me do better than a middling D+ in a language I wanted desperately to speak.  One day, after a particularly long and strenuous class, a classmate and I decided to hit up the local animal shelter for some fur therapy.  We walked the long, concrete walk way with a student’s amble… no purpose, no time frame, just a guy and a girl wandering through the desperate eyes of caged souls.

We must have stopped and played with a dozen before he convinced me to enter the cat room, which is really a testament to how good looking he must have been. I’m viciously allergic to cats and being around them for more than 15 minutes makes me start to sound like Wheezy from Toy Story 2.  But in I went, brushing by the stacked cages with sweet faced kittens purring out at me.  And then there at the bottom of a three high stack, a little face looked up at me.  His face was quivering the way only a baby’s can, and his little nose was flush against the cage bars.  When I knelt to see him, he stepped back for a moment, then pressed forward with desperation… and suddenly I had to have him.

When the attendant opened the door, he stepped gingerly into my lap and immediately fell asleep, comfortable and calm in a room full of noises.

He was the only puppy in the cat room, too small to join the other dogs, too scared and skittish to be in a larger space.  I named him AJ  for Andrew Jackson (please, just don’t ask) and I took him home three days later, to the two-story townhouse I’d recently rented with a friend… a townhouse we’d  rented with the express understanding that no dogs were allowed.

His skittishness didn’t end with entering his new home, and AJ usually had to be drug from under my bed just to go outside.  After a few days, my bedroom started to smell like a mixture of three day old piss and drywall.  Because when he wasn’t under the bed, AJ had a deep rooted desire to know what was going on beneath the painted walls…  he needed to eat through to the basest construct of the house.

As a puppy, he ate everything: paper, photographs, drywall, the carpet off the stairs, and shoes… lots and lots of shoes.  He ate underwear and bras and remote controls.  He ate toys that were his, old toys of mine, and anything else that was left within leaping distance of a small, frightened, and apparently fetish-prone and hungry little puppy.

(to be continued…)



One Response to “For AJ, the Greatest Dog in the World”

  1. ryenerman
    September 28th, 2012 @ 12:32 pm

    Oh I hate it when beloved pets get old. It’s always so hard. I’ve had, loved, and lost many in my life and it never gets easier when they start to go away.

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