In to­day’s col­umn, Paul Choiniere takes a pass from the pol­i­tics to write about the death of a beloved four­legged mem­ber of the fam­ily.

Dogs have per­son­al­i­ties, no doubt about it. Chan­dler’s per­son­al­ity was up­beat. He was a happy dog. It was im­pos­si­ble to stay an­gry with him.

The Day - - BUSINESS - PAUL CHOINIERE [email protected]­day.com

Amaz­ing how at­tached we get to our pets. We lost a fam­ily mem­ber last week. Chan­dler. He was only seven, at least in our years.

He was my son Alex’s dog. And un­der­stand­ably he is dev­as­tated. So am I. So are all of us.

We were never sure ex­actly what in­ter­mix of breeds pro­duced Chan­dler. He was a mutt, but a hand­some mutt. A res­cue dog who gave and re­ceived much love in his too brief life.

Chan­dler was black, with pointed ears and snout. He was an ath­lete, trim and fit with hind legs that were sinewy and mus­cu­lar.

Some ven­tured to guess that he had Ger­man shep­herd and Labrador in his genes, oth­ers saw a hint of pit bull, but I didn’t. The clos­est match I ever came up with was Black Bel­gian Malanois which, like our Chan­dler, are beau­ti­ful dogs.

Dogs have per­son­al­i­ties, no doubt about it. Chan­dler’s per­son­al­ity was up­beat. He was a happy dog. I sup­pose you could say that about most dogs, but with Chan it was con­ta­gious. He hated it when hu­mans were ar­gu­ing. It was one of the few times he whim­pered. Chan­dler would push up against you, lift your hand with his head as if to say, “Pet me, maybe it’ll make you feel bet­ter and it’s bet­ter than ar­gu­ing.” Life’s too short for that. My son is now 30 and in a great re­la­tion­ship. En­gaged. But there were good times and bad, re­la­tion­ships that were not so great. Chan­dler was there for him through­out the ups and downs, of­fer­ing un­con­di­tional love. That’s what dogs do.

There was a pe­riod when Alex shared a con­do­minium unit in Nor­wich. Chan­dler could be a barker. Not in­ces­santly, mind you, but when he con­cluded some­one or some­thing might be threat­en­ing his fam­ily’s space. That trait was not a good mix with the com­ings and go­ings at a con­do­minium com­plex.

So for a time Chan­dler moved in with my wife and I. We all be­came much at­tached, which has made his pass­ing that much more dif­fi­cult.

Chan­dler loved to chase and re­trieve Fris­bees. We went through dozens of them as his pow­er­ful jaws quickly de­stroyed them. His abil­ity to judge the flight of those fly­ing discs, re­act, and quickly close the dis­tance to make the catch was far greater than any­one will ever wit­ness on a hu­man ath­letic field.

He would du­ti­fully bring the disc back, un­less he spot­ted a deer or some other wild crea­ture and gave pur­suit. Soon he would re­turn to our back door, some­times feet and legs muddy from his ex­ploits, burrs clingy to his short fur. You’d want to be mad, but he would tilt his head, tongue lolling out of his mouth and look, well, happy.

It was im­pos­si­ble to stay an­gry with him.

Whether crash­ing through snow or chas­ing that disc in the heat of a sum­mer’s day, he never quit, not once. He would keep chas­ing if I kept throw­ing. He seemed in­de­struc­tible. The end came sud­denly. Chan­dler was not eat­ing and, as alarm­ing to Alex, sim­ply not him­self. A trip to a lo­cal vet on Thurs­day pro­duced an X-ray that showed a tu­mor­ous growth. Alex rushed him to a vet­eri­nary clinic for fur­ther eval­u­a­tion, which showed ex­ten­sive tu­mor growth and in­ter­nal bleed­ing.

He died Fri­day. But the night be­fore, I dreamed. I thought I saw glimpses of Chan­dler mov­ing through our house. How could this be? He had stayed the night at the clinic. Why did Alex drop him off?

Then I saw Chan­dler, seated next to the stairs. I held his head and pressed it against mine. I could feel his fur. Smell him. It was real. It made me happy. Then I awoke. Paul Choiniere is the ed­i­to­rial page ed­i­tor.

Chan­dler guard­ing our presents on Christ­mas Eve, 2015.

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