Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Dog Heaven

We had a funeral here Friday afternoon, for a beloved 13-year-old family member, Baylor the big dog. He was actually a member of K&A’s daughter W’s family, and represented even more than merely thirteen years as their best friend. He was older than W’s son T, so T has never known life without him. And he had been adopted by W and T’s father J, who are now divorced. And so, when Baylor, who had lived a good life and loved Jerome Creek like all dogs do, breathed his last on Friday in their home in Ballard, several things ended with him, and the logical thing to do was bring him here so his spirit could roam in this singular place.

The beautiful convergence of family dog funeral (including W, ten-year-old T and W’s S.O., R) and long-term family friend housesitter-plus-husband-plus-two friends-plus-five very live dogs, is something I hope to foster in my own home now and in the future. We all came together like old friends. I’ve known W all my life but I’ve never met R; she’s maybe met Ian, but never Laura and Sonja. I warned W about the five dogs so they were all prepared, and T seemed to enjoy throwing sticks into the pond for Spackle, who’s insatiable, and he also enjoyed riding out on Shadow with his mom on Toby, while Loper trotted along, pleased to be out in the world with people who like dogs and horses who tolerate them. Everyone spent the night and there was plenty of room for seven people and five dogs; we ate dinner together by plan, and the next morning converged at the table without planning at all, for a group breakfast. Those of us whose dogs are very much alive were sobered by reflecting on their inevitable deaths; those whose dog had just died were heart-warmed by the goofy aliveness of other dogs.

Ian watered the burial mound this morning, last thing before we left for the airport. I’ll keep it up as long as I’m here.

Rest in Joy, Baylor.

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