All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘Dodger Tails’
I am touched and humbled by how many readers—parents in particular, as well as faculty, students, staff and alumni Friends of Dodger—have come up to me in the last two days to express their personal sympathy on the sudden loss in January of my best friend, Dodger the dog. Thank you, old friends I’ve not seen in a long while and new friends I’ve only just met. Thank you.
It’s not yet quite time for me to get my next dog/editorial assistant. (If I’m ever completely out of the running for a “next dog,” just take me on down around back and shoot me.) In the meantime, do keep reading this one alumnus staff writer’s take on the continuing adventures of this fine place, right here on Daybook. You can subscribe by email at right and/or you can like Daybook on Facebook.
And vive the wide open spirit of Dodger the squirrel-chasing fool dog, and of all the inquiring minds and bodies and hearts and souls—human and canine—that have enlivened and continue to enliven this place.
With deep gratitude and a “Forward!” shout,
“My dog died.”
Those are three of the saddest words I know. I have been right in the middle of them for four days and counting.
Last Thursday afternoon, break time: Yay! Dodger and I left my office at 3:36 to go check the mail, but first a quick round of campus “squirrelveillance,” par for a Thursday. I clicked on his trusty red leash and hopped on my trusty red bike, just like hundreds of times. Across Main Street, we rounded the corner of Cunningham by Carnegie—no cops, yay! *Click* He arced right by Phi Hall and the Old Well, I arced left over the D Road bricks in front of Chambers. As our trajectories began to reconverge on the far side of campus by Sloan, we gained speed, more than usual even, since we’d been cooped up a couple of days and it was brisk out. We must have been approaching his top recorded speed of 32 miles per hour, timed by ’67 Comet on the lake campus dirt road just last summer. This day, traction control on the curving bricks made it advisable for me to suspend my self-imposed prohibition against riding my bike on the grass. Reunited now side by side in a straight line, we just flat hauled ass across Chambers Lawn, churning and laughing and flapping in a cold wind, yay! Twenty seconds farther on, that happy dog, a dirty no-good squirrel and a small but fatal outcropping in a brick wall conspired for a mercifully brief end to Dodger’s time on earth. He broke his neck, probably never knew it, and my dog died in my arms.
But first, he lived, and boy, did he ever.
Dodger’s aplomb even rated an obit in the local online newspaper, DavidsonNews.net.
His exploits are well-documented in the “Search: Dodger” functionality of this blog.
Of particular note are his young adult years as a travel co-writer in the Great Summer Road Trip of 2009.
[Updated Tues., 1/29/13: WDAV will be running a day sponsorship in memory of Dodger tomorrow at 8:30am and 1:30pm, and featuring a pix of him on their homepage then www.wdav.org. Thanks, classical music friends!]
What’s been most striking to me just in the four days since his death, when I’ve been able to perceive anything at all outside my own black grief, is the touch he brought to so many lives on the Davidson campus, at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church in Mooresville, in the town of Davidson and in Charlotte, across this nation. I’ve had calls from Maine to Miami to Vegas, fielded e-mails from all over, watched Facebook explode with heartfelt love, all of it for Dodger and for many good dogs who’ve gone on ahead of him, and for the people who’ve loved them.
In the course of any given week these last five years, it has not been unusual for students, or even faculty or fellow staff to introduce themselves to me by saying, “You don’t know me, but I love your dog.”
Oh, no. If you loved my dog, I know you, and I love you, too.
Students lined up too fast and furious to worry about IDs this time, and I missed a few shots, but here’s everything. Who can you spot? Click to enlarge.
Dr. David James and the wonderful team over at North Meck Animal Hospital got path labs back yesterday that looked really good after Dodger’s snip-snip surgery to take out a small cancerous tumor. Hooray! Another week or so of wearing that blasted Cone of Shame and walking on a leash, then….
Big thanks to all Fans of Dodger (FODs) everywhere!
And fair warning to damn squirrels.
Did you hear the one about the dyslexic atheist? He doesn’t believe in dogs!
My canine editorial assistant Dodger—a Long-Leggedy Carolina Fooldog Pointer-Hound who can run 32 mph and touch the eight-foot mark upside a tree with a damn squirrel in it—is reminding me to be thankful this Thanksgiving.
Last week, what I thought was a fatty cyst like lots of dogs get has turned out to be a mast cell tumor like lots of dogs also get. It’s on his… near his… well, it’s in his personal area, and it needs to be gone.
The good news is that it appears to be of the less-evil kind of mast cell tumor, in clinical terms of grade and, hopefully, stage of progression. More good news is that a pre-op ultrasound came back clean on his abdominal organs, and even on his sub-lumbar lymph nodes, which I didn’t even know he had! And finally, bonus good news: while he was doped up, the wonderful and talented Dr. James & Company also fixed a toenail that Dodger had broken bloody last week, the very day of his diagnosis, when he scratched off extra-hard on asphalt going after a damn squirrel.
Damn squirrels beware: Dodger remains currently in fine health other than the small lump on his down-below, which he didn’t even notice until the rest of us started palpating it every which way, not to mention stuck a needle in it.
And here’s hoping and praying—if you can’t pray for a good dog, I can’t help you—that he stays just as healthy for many a moon after next week’s snip-snip surgery lands him temporarily in a conical, comical Collar of Shame.
In the meantime. Dodger is reminding me to be thankful
• For the people at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Animal Control out by the airport, who do such a hard job I could never do, and from whose hope-filled death row I have plucked two pure dog souls.
• For Dodger’s predecessor dog soul Oscar, whose earthly ashes rest by a quiet stream on Davidson’s back campus, and whose abiding spirit I prayed to enter Dodger every single day in early 2008, when I was barely able to constrain Dodger’s adolescent separation anxiety in a 969-square-foot condo and a nine-to-five job.
• For the good neighbors at home and the indulgent colleagues at work, who got us through those initial days with patience and humor and the occasional pointed word to Moody Master, richly deserved. Even the best dogs, after all, do not possess cognitive reasoning skills.
• For a good dog trainer who taught us precisely how to use a shock collar so that we didn’t have to continue using it, or heaven forbid, a crate, which Dodger tore up anyway. Two of them, in fact.
• That no one ever responded to the fliers I posted around town trying to find this dog a better home (ha!) back then—so that instead Dodger the Carolina Fooldog could ride with me in an open car to California and back in the summer of ’09, not to mention Road Trip 2010.
• For shared cold chicken by the kitchen sink, for Boudreaux the cat and his kibble even when I forget to put it up out of reach in the closet before I leave the house, for Odor-X even though it doesn’t work that great, for an open car on an open road and big ol’ ears that flap in the wind, for baleful looks on parting and a tail that wags every single daily reunion no matter what, for dream yelps and damn squirrels and even the occasional flea… for dog as I understand him, I give thanks this Thanksgiving.
[UPDATE 3/26/10, 13:06—WDAV has surpassed its all-time record-breaking goal, at $200,507, as well as records in number of gifts and in new members!]
I helped urn almost 2 hunnert tousand dollers for WDAV. Me and my kat Boudreaux even gived them $25 of our kibble kitty, sence we lissen all day while Him is at work, but they still needs a little bit more to make all their fund drive gold. The cookie lady at WDAV said her books will be open online til midnight tonight. Donate now! Classical music helps me and Boudreaux nap in the sunshine. Tank ewe!