In praise of my dog

A blog for David.

My dog is the best dog in the world. I know everyone thinks that, but mine really is! He’ll be 14 years old in June. That’s what—98 in dog years? That’s a long time for a big dog.

He’s named Baikonur (pronounced “bike-oh-nure”), but we call him Baik for short. He’s named after the Soviet space facility, the Baikonur Cosmodrome. The first time I heard the name, I loved it. It’s a beautiful name when said by a Russian. These Texans slaughter it.

I’ve noticed lately the toll that time is taking on him. He’s stiff when he first gets up. He grunts and groans when he lies down. He stumbles a lot more than he used to, and has a harder time getting up. He still loves to play-fight with my son—his favorite is to come at you and try to grab your hands as you push him away. He can’t play for as long as he used to, though. Now, sometimes, he falls when he’s pushed back, and he just decides to lie down. It’s simply too much trouble to get back up! I can understand that feeling…

Sometimes he just lies down in the middle of the floor, rolls onto his back, with legs flailing in the air, and just wiggles. Then he’ll stop and rest a bit, looking very odd, before he does it some more. When he’s on his back, and his ears flip up, he looks like a giant bat. Strange sight.

He loves to think he’s my big, scary guard dog, and he growls or barks at anything that sounds like someone might be coming in, or at the door. That is, unless he’s asleep… My confidence in his guarding ability was seriously shaken one day last week, when 2 men came to the door and knocked. Nothing from the guardian. I got up from bed and went to the door. They took an inventory of the appliances in my kitchen. One called out the serial numbers, while the other wrote them down. One of them walked to the back bath, through the room where Baik was asleep, and called out a question to me. Then they said their goodbyes, and left. Not a sound from my guard dog. Not a peep. I went back to where he was sleeping, and he just rolled his eyes up at me, and looked as if he was really hoping I wasn’t going to make him get up.

I feel so safe.

Since he sleeps in my room with me, it’s hard not to notice all the little noises he makes. His internal organs seem to be getting as creaky as his joints. All sorts of strange sounds emanate from him, at all hours. Hence the blogging, instead of the sleeping.

And he is, as my son put it, “no longer airtight.” He leaks. He drools. Gas seeps out frequently. The funniest part is when he’s asleep, and he farts so loud it startles him and wakes him up. He looks terribly confused for a few seconds, then as dogs will do, sniffs the air to see what’s going on. Often, he will get up and move to a spot where the air is fresher. Sometimes, I’m truly grateful not to be able to smell!

The best part is how he adores me. No one ever adores you like a dog. No matter what you do to him, no matter how short a time you’ve been gone, he will rush to greet you and look at you as if you were the best sight he’s ever seen. From the time he was a puppy—the very first time we met him—he was MY dog. If I’m in the room, no one else exists. I need a MAN that looks at me like that!

I know the time is coming—probably much too soon—when I will lose his companionship. But no one can ever take away the time we’ve had, and he’s done his job well. Mostly.

Tell me what you think.

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