Monday, March 14, 2011


Finally got around to writing this.  Many of you know my dog Che had to be put to sleep recently.  Hard.

When I first met Che, she was Tana's puppy of a couple months.  She picked her up from some trailer hick-style family in the Brentwood area if my memory is correct.  Che was the last of the litter and the story as I've heard it, is that when Tana pulled up, Che was but a tiny pup tugging on a toddler's diaper.  Only Tana knows why she named her Che.

Any of you who knew this dog, loved her.  She was the sweetest sweetest dog.  Tana and I taught her to swim as a puppy near our delta spot.  Hikes, and swims around the island, fetching for any adult and joyously jumping into the water summer after summer.  Fireside nights she heard a lot of beers and jokes cracked, lots of laughing and trips to see grandma and grandpa.  

She knew when Jade was going to be born.  Somehow sensed it almost seconds before Tana went into labor.  As a baby, Jade used her to learn to walk and as a perpetually shedding pillow.  Jade and her friends wrestled Che as babies.  I think Che made it easier for Jade to learn to swim as she was always game and made it look like so much fun.  Jade got big enough that Che finally accepted her as a fetch partner.

Che saw family dogs come and go, saw friends come and go, family feuds, thanksgiving feasts, house parties, and even in the end, her own family dissolve.  But she was a dog.  I'm being dramatic aren't I?  True to her breed, true to her kind.

This is the way I see it though.  I really see it as a big transition.  Had she died early last year this would be a whole different thing.  I needed her.  Now I'm thinking about traveling hopefully with Jade.  Nowhere far, but camping and friends far away.

I have some guilt because I feel like I never really caught on to her oldness and thus I felt like she was going to be around forever…or maybe not go downhill this fast.  I feel like I should have spent more time holding her when she was in pain.  Or should have given her more attention when I knew something was wrong.  Even in the end though, she always always seemed a bit puppyish to me.  So many nights, last year in particular it was me and her…before I met Gaby.  Then Che had a bed there as well.  But back when Tana and I split, I was so thankful at that time to be able to get comfort in someone nonjudgmental or human, really.  Dogs are awesome like that.  Dream eaters if you let them be.  

Gaby was the one that got her to the vet initially.  Thanks, you.  I was slammed at work, figured Che sprained her ankle.  Turned out to be bone cancer.  I wanted Gaby to be there with us when we took her.  It made sense to me.  I even called her and said I wanted her there but she was away.  

Gaby's dog Niko and Che got along very well.  I say this remembering us at Albany beach not so many weeks ago.  Che and Niko would fetch and retrieve at the same time a huge log Gaby threw in the water.  Che would normally despise any other animal getting in the way of her "task".  Twas not the case.  She had one of those faces that always looked worried unless she was swimming in circles biting her splashes.  Her favorite pastime.  Neurotic if you think that way, adorable if you think this way.

Eddie is still around.  Jade's chubby yellow little brother follows her around from Tana's to my place.  He's full of action and physical unpredictability making him probably one of the most humorous animals I've ever had.  It totally helps.

   This journal entry wouldn't be complete if I didn't talk about Che's shits.  Che's craps were not only unpredictable in their firmness but also in their "placement"…and they seemed almost strategically placed on the concrete path to the music studio…appropriately named "DOGRUN studio".    I won't miss being under her ass with a shovel waiting for the poos to drop.  Who's neurotic?  Even today, she's gone, but some of her craps are still dissipating into the back lawn or crabgrass if you will.  And thats if I was lucky.  Never telling when she got the squirts in the house.  And many a rug has suffered the fate.  Her craps were like little mines she would plant.  A season would go by, then wham, need a new mop and spatula.

I think the day we put her to sleep, I reflected through the last 11 plus years opening up memories and happy times we had together as a family and before with our big yellow dog.  It made me smile given where we are now.  Things move on you know.  The void is the clackety paws on the kitchen floor, the way she cleaned a floor, midnight walks…I'll miss her catching a frisbee perfectly in her chops, jumping off the back of the boat before we hit the island at the Delta.   Great running partner, horrible watchdog…devoted family member and completely beautiful.  I'll miss you bird.