Posted July 15th, 2017 by russfrazierwp and filed in Personal
Comments Off on George
March 21, 2001–July 12, 2017

March 21, 2001–July 12, 2017

Our adopted dog George passed away recently. He had become lame in his hind legs and could no longer walk without dragging one or both feet behind him.

George loved chasing the soccer ball on the field at York Elementary. He would tear up the field no matter how tired and winded he was. When he got to the point of complete exhaustion, he would lie down and trap the ball between his paws and bark. I don’t know what he was saying, but he sure was happy.

He loved to sniff. Everything. Since he was never trained on a leash when he was younger, he would just try and pull as hard as he could on walks until he started using the Easy Walk harness. If he could sniff all the pee, poop, discarded food, grass, flowers and whatnot, we would never finish any walk. Before he was neutered, he would lift his leg and try to pee on everything he found the least bit interesting.

And that was what he loved the most, those walks. When I first started walking him, we would go for long walks – through the neighborhood, around the lakes, through the nature park. Eventually he figured out a trick to prolong the walks. When we got near the end of the walk, he would stall by walking slower and finding more things to investigate. In the end, he actually dragged himself to the gate because he wanted to go for a walk.

Going somewhere, anywhere.

Going somewhere, anywhere.

When he was still over at Elaine’s house, he could still hear very well. He would bark at damn near anything and howl. He would start howling at sirens before we could hear them. It was like a one-minute warning. The howls would start out soft and low and rise to a coyote-like pitch then trail off, finally stopping when the siren became too faint to hear.

If it weren’t for George, I would not have found Dude. To me, it was like a supernatural event, and to this day I wonder about how this happened and what it meant. It was just about two weeks after we had lost one of our beloved cats, and I was feeling very sad and empty. I was taking George through the nature park, and as we came over a ridge I saw a black and white streak run across the creek and disappear into the embankment. As it ran, it cried out several times. Well, it was Dude, and he was about 5 or 6 weeks old, abandoned or living there, in the park, hiding in a small, dirt cave. To make a long story short, we have Dude now.

In his second yard.

In his second yard.

George would come into the garage during particularly bad or extreme weather. I would call for Dude to come to the door leading from the kitchen to the garage, and then they would look at each other. They sniffed the air. One time they actually touched noses. George would not know what to do and stood there still as a statue, not wanting to look directly at the cat but slowly moving his head so as not to alarm him. His self-control was amazing.

Once we had a scare when we suddenly heard him calling out in pain. My wife and I both ran down to where he was under the porch to find him on his side, unable to get up and writhing on the ground. Thinking he had broken a hip or his back, we rushed him to the emergency hospital. We carried him in on a blanket and waited with dread for horrible news as the veterinarian treated George in the back room. Next thing, here he comes walking out like nothing happened. We were happy and incredulous. “He’s walking!” we cried with elation. “What was it?” we asked. “He had his foot caught in his collar.” We felt ridiculous.

He had some dogs come by from time to time when he lived in his first yard, but when I started walking with him in the nature park he made his best dog friend of all, Tramp. Tramp was a white mixed breed little guy about the size and build of a boxer. We would only see him and his person (a local filmmaker) by chance. When they got together, the dogs would thrash around and roll on the ground, tangling their leashes and embarrassing the people with their amorous antics.

In Elaine's yard.

In Elaine’s yard.

Daun would mow the back yard and find that George would frequently be standing exactly where she was about to be next. After a while, she realized that he was herding – predicting the future position of the thing being herded and standing in that spot.

He had always been a sweet dog and never lashed out at anyone or anything the whole time I knew him. The only time he growled was when off-leash aggressive dogs in the nature park spotted him from way off and came running up to him barking and growling. (I lost track of the times I had to tell people that their dogs were required to have a leash.)

There were so many other high points (starting regular walks), funny things (constant interruptions around people, when he could still hear) and low points (being attacked by a neighborhood dog) but I will remember him as a highly intelligent working dog who would look at us as we watched him through the window, his eyes saying, “When are you coming out?”