Feel free to skip this week's post if you want. It is self-indulgent and maudlin. By the way, I'll be at Bouchercon this week, and I hope to see you there, but I really don't feel like posting about that just now. Go here for more info on that.
Around our house, he was known (always with a smile) as:
- Mr. Copper T. Dog (the T was for "The");
- The Dog-O-Matic Dog
- His Honor, The Dog
- Rufus T. Dog
- That Stupid Dog
- The Amazing El Doggo
- The Furry Avenger
- The Frito Bandito
- Charles Boyer (he had an elegant moustache)
- Mr. The Dog
- Copperre (the French pronounciation)
Mostly, we called him simply "The Dog," and after a while it became clear he thought that was his name. (Copper was a lovely dog and a great friend, but not the sharpest tool in the shed.)
It should be noted, too, that he gave me the name for part of a certain pseudonym.
We adopted him when he was about two years old, and he was 13 or so when his body gave out on him. He was there as our children grew up. He guarded the house (whether we wanted him to or not). He liked to play a game where you rolled him a ball and he ran around with it until the time that he completely forgot what the game was about and stopped in the middle.
Copper was there five and a half years ago, when doctors thought (erroneously, thank goodness) that I was very ill, and during that awful week, he rarely left my side. He knew something was wrong--and I'm not one of those people who attributes human characteristics to pets--and he just stayed close.
When I came home from a brief errand a couple of weeks ago and he couldn't get up off the floor, we were alarmed, but a visit to the vet suggested he had a back injury and would be okay. But he wasn't okay. And by Friday night, he wasn't okay enough that we took him to an emergency facility. The staff vet there tried, but he didn't make it through the night.
Now comes the part where we pack up his water dish and his food dish and his crate. We'll clean out the cabinet with his treats and put his leash away. In a couple of weeks we'll get a call that his cremated remains are ready for us to pick up, and we'll bury him the backyard.
But we can remember the funny way he bayed whenever we came home, out of sheer joy that his pack was back with him again. The way he ran laps around the house to welcome us. The look on his face that would just make us laugh (Copper was always good for a laugh). The soft fur on the back of his head.
We lost our pal Copper early Saturday morning. He was a good dog.