Archive for July, 2015

For Indy

When I think about Indy leaving us, after all his wonderfully cuddly, quirky, agile years, the first thing that comes to my mind is how quiet homecomings will be.  I lived away from home for the majority of the time Indy was with my parents, and his welcomes and good mornings during my visits are a large pa1910107_505382218012_4632_nrt of what I know of Indy.  You could say they are seared into my aural memory.  The soft, low wooing that grows into a full-throated howl, which gives way to figure eights around and between your legs and ear-piercing cries of joy.  If Mom wasn’t around, we kids would encourage him, unleashing a tornado of yowls and yodeling and furious stump-tail wagging.  Coming home to silence must be heart breaking.  I hope Eowyn’s quiet wiggles and soft nuzzles are some comfort.

Apparently Indy’s reputation for vocal theatrics preceded him at agility trials.  But I’ll let you tell those stories. I’ll tell you about the quieter things.  And I’ll do it alternating between present and past tense… because it’s hard to let go.

Indy is very soft and makes a fantastic couch-potato cuddle buddy.  You bring the book or pick the show, he’ll keep your feet warm.  And your legs.  But be warned, he’s got a mean kick icanoeingf you try to tickle his foot pads while he’s snoozing.

Indy wasn’t a velcro dog.  He was more… poised.  A bit shy- aloof even.  I think part of it was his one cocked ear, like he was wearing a fancy hat and had styled himself just so, that prance in his step, and his dainty white paws that he always directed to walk around puddles, never through.  You got the impression that he was waiting to see how fun you were, or whether you could be convinced to give him a bite of your broccoli.  Once you had been judged “awesome” (as opposed to “meh”), the stump-tail wag would bubble up quickly, his chin would land in your lap, chest would press into your legs, one front paw and then the other would slink up onto your seat, and soon you’d have coy, doggie bedroom eyes and a wet nose inches from your face.

I remember being terrified of Indy’s sometimes overly-calm demeanor.  We’d be sitting on the stairs cuddling, him one step above me, our fsnowshoeingaces level.  He’d gaze at me lovingly with those eyes, then go absolutely still, focused intensely on my face. Before I knew it his tongue would be up my nose or my ear would be wet and lightning-quick nibbled, and he’d still have that damn placid look on his mug as I shrieked and wiped my face on my sleeve.

This is the same intense look that precedes a toy snatch, or a treat snatch.  However many dogs we had lined up to get treats, Indy always got the first one, whether you tossed it to him or not.  Sometimes you’d toss him the first to buy time to give another dog a treat, and he’d still snatch the second and third treats out of the air from what you thought was plenty far away. Nope. He’s got teleportation powers, that dog.

I also believe he had some Jedi mind trick skills going on- or at least thought he did.  Some dogs yelp and paw and jump to tell you they want to go on a walk or play fetch.  Indy just stared, head cocked. He’d look up at the toy shelf just outside the back door, then his eyes would drill into you, then he’d look back at the shelf, then stare intensely into your eyes- all silently.

And he can hear (or smell?) a banana being peeled from across the house.  I’d be in the kitchen, alone, crack open a banana, and .3 seconds later Indy was in the room.  How? Wha? How did..? Sigh… here, have a piece.  Kid loves raspberries too- Mom was lucky to sanddunesget any ripe ones to herself off the bushes in the backyard.  At my wedding, he helped himself to a rather large portion of the raspberry pie my cousin had made for my entourage.

He got in trouble one too many times for begging broccoli stems and pre-rinsing dishes as we cleared plates after dinner, and got banished from the dining area.  He would skulk out of from under the table as we stood up with our plates, slink out of the kitchen, and pout by the doorway until he was tossed a few veggie scraps.  Snap! Snap! his jaws would go.

One night we were in the kitchen making dinner.  Someone had trouble opening a bag of frozen peas- the bag tore open, spilling quite a few peas right into the dogs’ water bowl.  Indy vacuumed up the peas on the floor, then slowly dipped his muzzle into the water bowl to retrieve the peas at the bottom. He did this very calmly, small bubblets of air trickling out of hiDog piles nose and blooping up to the surface.  He ate those underwater peas one at a time, each time sinking his snout slowly in, nearly up to his eyeballs.  We were mesmerized. We may or may not have tossed many more peas into the water bowl for Indy to snorkle up.

Despite his princely avoidance of puddles, Indy loved adventure of all sorts. Hiking (the king of running back and forth to check on the fast group and the slow group), creek swimming, and canoeing (much improved when he wore a life jacket), snowshoeing (moved through the snow like a porpoise!), coyote harassing, hide-and-go-seek with any toy, frisbee at the park.  Unlike Oscar, who deposited his frisbee at the feet of the nearest person, Indy would take his time selecting who amongst us would provide the best throw.  I often felt like I was trying to get the cool kid to sit next to me in the cafeteria. His catching style was more calculated too- Oscar would leap to catch the disc as high as possible; Indy would bullet to the exact point that the frisbee would come down, catching it 2 feet from the ground without breaking stride.

Indy wasn’t above being a total goof-ball- he’d wrastle with Oscar and let Eowyn take him down with a thud. If the other dog lost interest, Indy would lay on his back and curve his spine around like a cat so that he could bite his own back feet and kick himself in the face. He’d yip and yowl to entice playmates, who predictably went for his exposed underside.

Indy’s cutest feature (besides his coy face) may have been his backside.  That tail- not too quick to wag, so all the more special when it did, those glorious haunch feathers- brushing them required a spoonful of peanut butter to be held up at Indy’s front side, and those sproingy jackrabbit feet.  After sprinting hard to catch a frisbee, that jaunty high-kick running style was both relaxed and cocky, white feet flashing victoriously behind him as he slowed down in a big arc.

Indy was a true companion to both of my parents and a great friend to my brother and I.  An entertainer, a comforting and energizing presence.  My Dad walked the dogs every morning, and every day during lunch and after work my Mom would come home and immediately play fetch or do some training in the back yard.  I believe her order of operations upon arriving home was: blow nose, go to the bathroom, play fetch. Then they went to play frisbee in the park every night. Every night!  Most well-stimulated dogs ever!  

The greatest silence and absence will be at my Mom’s side. They were  -are-  attached at the hips of their souls.  I wish her strength and courage.  She has many dogs in her past, and many to come in her future, and I hope they are all as wonderful.

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