This morning, my sister picked me up & we took Eli, the most loving wire haired Dachshund ever created, to the Park Glen Animal Clinic near Jean & Jack’s house to end his life.
In the late spring of 2000, my Omega Son Sam persisted in his pleas for another dog. I had made the same journey I made this morning with Flash the Wonder Dog & vowed I would never again attach myself to another dog only to have to say goodbye.
At that time, I still did not understand that endings are too often an integral part of relationships.
But Sam was, even then, very persuasive & we took a trip to CAPS, Citizens for Animal Protection, in search of a puppy. (This time, Mom, we need a boy. ) ( Flash the Wonder Dog as a female). Several of my friends had adopted animals from CAPS with fabulous experiences.
At CAPS, Sam kept gravitating toward dogs that looked like Flash the Wonder Dog & this I could not bear. I was with Flash when the vet put her down & her image was just too fresh in my mind.
A volunteer at CAPS suggested that we visit an adoption fair they were hosting at a nearby Petsmart.
And when Sam entered the store, he walked to the adoption area & zeroed in on one cage, shouting, “Dachshunds !”
In the cage were two tiny puppies. One black male, one brindle female. Their foster mother told me that they had been found on the side of the road by Animal Control.
A few weeks prior to our trek to find a puppy, I had taken Sam to see a friend’s newly acquired Dachshund puppies. As he played with them he asked my friend Ira:
What are their names?
I haven’t decided, yet, Ira replied, what do you think?
Niles & Frasier. I think they are Niles & Frasier.
And Niles & Frasier they became.
When the puppies’ foster mom let Sam hold the little black male, she took me aside & said:
Another family has put a hold on this puppy.
I looked over at my old soul of a son & as he was interacting with that black male puppy, children & dogs gathered around him. I thought about his old & yet so young a soul & I wondered how I was going to tell him that we might not be able to adopt his choice.
After a bit, as the children & dogs continued to gather around Sam, a CAPS representative took me aside & said,
The puppy’s foster mom has said she does not care about the hold from the other family. She wants your son to have the puppy.
When we got home with that little black male puppy after a mound of paperwork, & a kennel & toys & food, Sam suggested a name.
And I said:
His name is Eli.
And Eli he became.
Eli was a sweet, sweet soul. Fraught with abandonment issues. Understandable, given the fact that he was dumped with his litter mate on the side of a road.
Eli loved children & chasing squirrels & birds & motorcycles. He barked furiously at anyone he thought was an intruder. So many times I had to remind him that he was not a Doberman.
Eli loved toys that squeaked & playing ball & my brother John. John used to say that Eli watched out of our front windows for my car & my arrival home from work.
In his youth, Eli slept on my chest. Then he moved to my feet. Last night, he curled up next to me & let me keep my hand against him.
It was time to let Eli go. He was blind, still fraught with abandonment issues, plagued by allergies & in pain. He lived a grand life. His adorable face was etched in grey.
But he no longer chased squirrels & birds or played with toys that squeaked. He was weary.
Tonight, I will settle myself into the Futon next to Jean’s bed alone.
And remember that late spring afternoon with Sam & a vision of Eli as a puppy, skipping & bouncing in the grass of Jean & Jack’s back yard.
RIP, my friend.