Magic and Legend…
Way back when, in the days of yesteryear I imagined that I would have two dogs. I imagined they would be large dogs, active in all things that are dog. I imagined they would be like Zeus and Apollo and I would be Higgins. They would be like an ideal me. Well mannered, intelligent, and furiously loyal to family and friends. I imagined I would sit in the study reading philosophy, wearing my red man-slippers and smoking my pipe while they laid at my feet, watching over me and awaiting my command to attack. Walking in trail of me and mirroring my every move they would greet my family with a sweet bark and every danger stranger with a toothy growl.
In the winter of 2002, my wife and I were still “just dating” but after she kicked me to the curb three times earlier it was apparent to everyone that we were destined to be together. I made the decision, that it was time in my life to get the dogs of my dreams. The thought about the dogs of Magnum PI; scary Doberman Pinchers that would frighten the neighbors. But that was not in the cards because those types of dogs are expensive and I didn’t have two nickels to rub together. So I went to the local Animal Control Shelter and started looking. There was a litter of seven puppies that I was immediately drawn too. Pound puppies, the attendant said they were a mixture of Lab and something. I couldn’t pick one from the litter so I left and returned two days later.
There were just two puppies left. I sat on the concrete pen and held one. The other vied for my attention. I grabbed the second one and the first started to nudge me. We ended up playing musical puppies. They were exactly one more dog than I wanted but I couldn’t leave one behind. I surprised the attendant when I said I wanted both of them. They filled out the paper work and took my check without even to see if it would bounce. I left the pound and went to a friend’s house to grab a crate. I was starting from zero and headed off to the store to buy baby gates. Already the negligent father, I locked the dogs in the kitchen, left some cold hot dogs on a paper plate, water in a bowl and puppy pads in the corner, I ran out the door late for the with my wife and some other friends. At this point, she had no idea that I had the dogs. In the middle of dinner, she started grilling me about why I was late. I had given her plenty of reason to doubt me in the past so I didn’t take any offense. Finally, I said I had to buy some stuff from the store and she asked to see the receipt.
Looking over it, she asked me if I got a dog.
I said. “No, I got two.”
She grabbed me by the arm and we left to go see the dogs. On the way to my house, she asked what their names were. Magic and Legend. You know after Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.”
When we got to my home, they had tore up the pack of hot dogs, relived themselves all over the kitchen, knocked over the water and eaten all the puppy pads. My wife scooped them up in her lap and for the next thirteen years the only time she was separated from “her little monsters” was when we were on vacation. Legend passed away in February.
Magic passed away Monday. Since Legend passed, she assumed the role of chief protector for the family. When it was time for bed, she led the charge of kids and cats upstairs. She would fall asleep in my son’s room. After my wife went to bed, Magic would go into our bedroom and lay on the floor while I was downstairs watching TV. When I came to bed, she would migrate to my daughter’s room and position herself where she could see the entire upstairs floor. In the morning, my wife would wake her up and they had their coffee together and then she would come back upstairs to sleep in the floor until I woke up. One of the most comforting feelings in the world was knowing that the first thing I would see when I woke was her wagging tail.
In the past few weeks, she had lost some strength so we put a baby gate blocking the stairs. Stubborn as a mule, she would claw at the gate until we let her come upstairs. Over the weekend, she deteriorated rapidly losing her strength and ability to walk. After we took her to the vet for her last visit, we walked into the house for the first time ever without being welcomed by a black snout and wagging tail. It has been a long week of firsts for the family. The kids have never lived without a dog and we all are trying to readjust to our new reality. Given a choice, I would take the genuineness of a life with Magic and Legend every day and twice on Sunday over the imaginations of a life with Zeus and Apollo.
Until next time, keep on rockin.