A trib­ute to a faith­ful com­pan­ion

The Amherst News - - OPINION - Shirley Hallee Shirley Hallee is a free­lance writer liv­ing in Amherst. Her col­umn ap­pears weekly in the Amherst News.

Re­cently, I knew it was time to make a very dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion. Up to that point it seemed that my old pup was not in pain. How­ever, I had been car­ry­ing him out to do his busi­ness for about a week; and it was now get­ting to the point where he would col­lapse dur­ing some of those out­door trips.

Even though I was quite sure I was do­ing the kind, lov­ing thing, it was still very dif­fi­cult.

Since that time I have spent a good amount of time re­mem­ber­ing the old boy, and at the same time com­fort­ing his com­pan­ion, a younger fe­male pup... and giv­ing the fe­line res­i­dent in my house some ex­tra at­ten­tion. The lit­tle girl pup, who goes by the name KiKi, loves raw car­rot slices. I sus­pect she was ei­ther con­cerned, or pos­si­bly griev­ing the loss of her com­pan­ion. She wasn’t very in­ter­ested in her food... so re­cently I placed a num­ber of car­rot slices in her dish and noted shortly af­ter they were gone.

I then walked over to the dog bed where the old boy had slept. I saw car­rot slices... all placed in a per­fect cir­cle on his bed. I bent down to start re­mov­ing the slices and KiKi came run­ning and nosed my hand away from his bed. It seemed like she was try­ing to call him back to his space. I have left the bed and the car­rot slices alone for the time be­ing.

Klaus ac­tu­ally came into my life as an old boy. I had adopted KiKi from the an­i­mal shel­ter five years ago as a young pup. Not long af­ter I was told that there was an­other small dog who was a bit on in years... and who needed a home.

In spite of be­ing cau­tioned that he was not al­ways friendly with other dogs, he im­me­di­ately ac­cepted KiKi. He also got along very well with my young kit­ten.

Over the next few years Klaus learned how to play. He and KiKi would put on a wrestling ex­hi­bi­tion ev­ery evening as I sat down to catch the evening news on TV. Then they would drag out the stuffed toys.

A favourite for Klaus was a small pink teddy bear. The bear would be tossed into the air, then caught be­fore it could land. In the mean­time, KiKi would pull out a stuffed green frog and mouth it un­til she found the squeaker. The squeak sound con­tin­ued un­til both pups were worn out. They then would lie down – one on each side of me on the sofa.

Both pups would greet vis­i­tors. No one en­ter­ing my home was al­lowed past the front door un­less they show­ered both pets with pats on the head, and tummy rubs.

A good friend would join me sev­eral times each week for long walks. While on their walks the pups would “read” the sev­eral mes­sages left by other pooches... and seemed es­pe­cially able to pick up the scents of their spe­cial pals.

Klaus was likely met in dog­gie heaven by the adorable Heidi... his very big sweet­heart down the street and around the cor­ner.

There are some small neg­a­tives in shar­ing life with pets. Their food, groom­ing, and vet vis­its take a bit from the bud­get. If a trip is planned ar­range­ments for care must be made. I have a good friend who takes care of pets if I need to be gone for the day. There is also the need to make the hard call... like the one I made not so long ago.

On the other hand, I am pretty sure the walks I have taken with my pups has kept me fairly healthy.

I read some­where that liv­ing with my cat has likely been part of the rea­son my blood pres­sure is very good. Hav­ing a pup in the house pro­vides an early warn­ing sys­tem re­gard­ing any­one com­ing near the house. I have a weak door­bell... but noisy pups have picked up the slack.

I have been blessed to have en­joyed the com­pan­ion­ship of a very lov­ing, very in­tel­li­gent, and very in­tu­itive furry friend. It is amaz­ing to be the re­cip­i­ent of so much un­con­di­tional love. I have a small plaque that says: Be the kind of per­son your dog thinks you are. I have tried to do that. I will miss him.

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