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Mr. Guinness

Mon, 24 Oct 2016, 06:46 PM (-06:00) Creative Commons License


When he was a puppy, Guinness went to Puppy School. Let’s just say… that he was not a high achiever.

As Trudy tells the story, he had trouble with the very first lessons in which the dogs were taught to sit. Still, he and she kept at it, day after day. And in the last session, the instructor brought over a towel and set it on the ground so that Guinness might have something cozier than cold ground to sit on. She had Trudy try the command again. 

“Sit,” Trudy said. And sit he did.

You see, he was a good dog. Even if he barked when he wasn’t supposed to bark. Even if he jumped when he wasn’t supposed to jump. Even when the ground was cold and the best approximation of a sit he could muster was lowering his rear end just a smidgen.

At the end of that Puppy School class, he got an award: Best Tail Wag. That was Trudy’s boy. Despite everything, he always had a big tail wag.


His last week was hard. He must have hurt so much that he stopped drinking from his water dish, opting instead for the pond from which he could drink without bending down.

And he stopped eating. Although, he’d stand in the kitchen wagging his tail slightly and look up at Trudy as if to ask if she could offer him something else, try again, because he loved it so much when she gave him snaaacks.

“I’m hungry,” his dark eyes would say, but he wouldn’t eat, and he was slowly wasting away.

And then last week, he bit my mom. Maybe she woke him from his favorite place on the Papasan cushion. Or maybe she touched his sore ears. Or maybe she came around him from behind and startled him. Whatever it was, he snapped at her and gave her a nasty bite that took us to the emergency room.

He felt bad. He wanted to tell her that he didn’t mean to do it. But he didn’t have a way to say he was sorry. Because he was old. Because he was deaf. Because he had cataracts. Because he hurt so much. Because he was perpetually thirsty. Because he was having a hard week. Because he was a dog. Because he was dying.


Late last night he and Trudy walked in the back yard. It was after midnight.

They went over to the pond where he drank for a while. They wandered around the yard — this yard that has been his Eden for 16 years. They stood in the half-light of the moon, visiting all his favorite places in the coolness of the evening.

He was saying goodbye to all his beloved places. He was walking his mommy around the yard to remind her what a happy life he had, how happy he was that she had rescued him, that she had been his mommy. He was saying goodbye to her last night as he must have been saying goodbye to me this morning on the bed, me with my hand on his head, he with his dark eyes staring gently into mine.

This afternoon, we buried him in the backyard. In a sunny spot in the butterfly garden beside the blooming Mist Flower and Golden Eye. We dug a deep hole and laid him in it, putting lavender-colored blossoms on his still-warm body.

Goodbye Mr. Guinness.

© jumpingfish by David Hasan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License