Friday, July 17, 2009

A Dog's Life - Part Five

Mike got a job offer across the country - Western New York. The Roberts had grown especially fond of Dingo; the cat had become accustomed to him (she was even emulating his behavior now - rolling her eyes, coming when called, snorting while she eats). But taking Dingo out of his desert environment (especially five days in a truck) seemed like a cruel thing to do.

Enter the Eisenbergs. Gena and Mike had known Richard Eisenberg for as long as they had known each other. Richard was Mike's best man, and he and wife Patricia were frequent participants in Roberts schemes. They also had a five year old son - John Z. Every boy needs a dog - right?

Mike talked Richard into a "trial period" with Dingo. When the Roberts visited, Dingo refused to go out front for fear they would take him away. The Eisenbergs spoiled that dog to no end - long walks in the hills, gourmet food (delivery!!), baths and brushings, and of course, Dingo had his very own boy. It was a match made in heaven. (Well, the Eisenberg cat wasn't too thrilled, but he didn't have a vote, so learned to keep his distance.) Dingo became John Z's protector and friend. They had many adventures, but John will have to one day tell their story.

Even after the Roberts had gone and come back again, Dingo was an Eisenberg. He started to have trouble with his joints (especially his right hip) and the walks got shorter and shorter. He had some little "tumors" removed from his skin now and then. But he never lost his appetite! Eventually, Richard had to help him get up and down. And finally, Dingo didn't get up again. He lived with the Eisenbergs for 7 years.

I think he was 19 or 20 years old when he finally went to the hunting ground in the sky last month - happily chasing rabbits once again. Dingo was the best. He is missed.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

A Dog's Life - Part 4

Dingo milked it for all he was worth - hopping around on three legs with those big sad eyes. Every door had at least a couple of steps down to the yard, so every trip outside was an adventure. The curious cat tried to get close for some detailed inspection, but Dingo brought out a back-of-the-throat growl that had not been heard before. It gave him at least an 18 inch perimeter (when he was awake).

Weeks later, Mike dropped Dingo off at the vet hoping for an all-systems-go; otherwise, it would be surgery. When Mike came back to pick Dingo up and hear the prognosis, he was invited back to the exam room. There he was confronted by a committee of doctors, aides, and nurses demanding an explanation.

"What can you tell us about the bullet in Dingo's shoulder?"

Mike was speechless (a rare occurrence). "Bullet?" he eventually managed.

Someone had noticed Dingo limping on one of his front legs, so they decided to do an x-ray. Floating inside the shoulder joint was a bullet. Mike's apparent surprise (plus the fact that no entry wound or scar was found) kept them from calling PETA. Mike was of course not familiar with Dingo's history, so had no explanation. They showed him where the bullet was located and how to massage it out of the shoulder joint. No need for surgery (for the hip or the bullet).

Later, Mike asked Papa Junior about the bullet, who asked Papa about the bullet, who said, "Well, there was this one time he took off for several days - maybe a week - and I thought he was gone for good. But he dragged himself in looking like he'd had a run in with some kind of ornery critters. Guess they were the human kind. He bounced back, though." Obviously.

Dingo healed up fine, and continued to work his seasonal job at the theater in Virginia City. He even got a write-up in the program. But after three years (and several moves with the Roberts), the theater closed down. Dingo's future was uncertain.