Today I am sad because yesterday my dog Dawson died. I don't think I've ever talked about him here because about the time I started this blog we moved to Alaska and Dawson stayed behind. I have never stopped feeling guilty about that. There's another feeling we don't talk about much, but it's the truth. I still feel guilty that I left him (and Stamps and Molly) behind. That I adopted them and promised to take care of them forever and I didn't. And they didn't understand why or what was happening. Don't get me wrong...they all have good lives. They were all adopted again by our loving family members and have wonderful love-filled lives. That doesn't erase my guilt though.
I adopted Dawson around my birthday in 2001. Here's a picture taken on my birthday that year. My mom and I were visiting him at the SW WA Humane Society while he waited to be neutered before we could bring him home.
The idea was that he would be a guard dog for Scott and I at what was then our new home in Yacolt. The guard dog part didn't really pan out (he never barked until the past few years), but I have no doubt he would have been protective had the need ever arisen. Thankfully we never had to test that theory.
Dawson loved to go for car rides and he also loved my parents dog at the time, Kady. Somehow he could always tell when we made that turn from Highway 14 onto 32nd Street in Washougal and would magically be wide awake as we approached their house.
Dawson was also Houdini dog. He could not be contained in fences or on chains. Or on chains inside of fences. We spent those first few months totally frustrated trying to keep him contained. One day when we were out of options I left him in our laundry room, pretty sure I would come home and find it destroyed. I didn't. We quit trying to leave him outside and he was much happier. He did love to run though. He always went looking for people. He ran away from my parents house and convinced some nice lady he hadn't eaten in days (she figured so, since his tags were from so far away) and got her to feed him most of a loaf of bread. He made friends with a family with kids down in town and we picked him up from there several times. The crowning run was when I picked him up down at the little league field...he wasn't all that excited to come home. They had been feeding him hot dogs down there!
Dawson loved snow...
He loved chasing balls, frisbees and bunnies. He loved to go to work with Scott on weekends, laying under the desk on a dog bed and being treated to french fries at the drive-thru at lunch time. He expected fries at all drive thrus, which made Starbucks a frustrating experience for him. This summer Scott and I made a special trip to Burgerville to take him out for fries. He couldn't get into the car by himself anymore, but he was so happy as we fed them to him. I am glad that the last time I got to hang out with him we did one of his favorite things.
Dawson loved boat rides, where he would tuck himself up out of the wind and snooze away. Here is he is on the beach after a boat ride one day.
Of all his qualities though, the one that stands out to me the most is tolerance. He would let you do just about anything to/with him. He had this sigh he would do and a look he would give you that said, "Whatever, Mom.", but he would let you do it...
|at Kelsey's 2nd birthday party|
|commiserating with Stamps, shortly after Stacy was born|
Just like people have different relationships with each other, dogs do too. Dawson used to LOVE to lay on the floor like this and cuddle with Scott. With me...not so much.
So goodbye, Dawson (D-Dog, Dawsonofagun, Bozo). Thank you for being such a good first dog for me as an adult. Thank you for never forgetting me and making me feel like a million bucks when you got so excited to see me every summer and on Skype. I love you and I will miss you, but I am so glad that you did not suffer and that you were with people who loved you.
Yes, of course I have cried my way through typing this. Yes, I lay in bed crying last night. But it feels right to be sad and I know it won't last forever so today I am just feeling it. Remembering and feeling. Glad to have had a connection in life strong enough to allow for such sadness in its absence. Life truly is richer for it.