Thursday, October 7, 2010

Making memories

As my final days with my beloved pup whiz past me, I find myself reminiscing days gone by. I’ve also been mourning the fact that there are so few days in his future.

You know those moments that in themselves seem insignificant, but put together are actually the definition of life? I keep thinking of things about Salem that I adore. Things that I won’t have any more. I then become panicked that I’ll start forgetting these tiny moments. I felt drawn to capture more clearly all the reasons why I love this boy so very much.

  • Even after having him for six years without incident, he’s still terrified of thunder storms.
  • How that fear leads him to lay under any part of you he can find, or if you’re in bed, to pant forcefully in your face until you comfort him.
  • His shiny brown freckled nose. So fair that it sometimes burns in the summer.
  • His deliciously soft carmel ears. So silky that they rival velvet.
  • How he tucks his rear end down when he’s running to be more aerodynamic.
  • When my mum was doggie-sitting, he quickly learned where the treats were and would sit expectantly waiting in front of the cupboard until she obliged.
  • The tiny white tip at the end of his tail. So subtle a change in colour from his apricot hind quarters that you have to really know him to notice.
  • The way he licks Felicity’s face whenever she comes near, sending her into fits of giggles and making her lean in over and over.
  • That his only trick was – sit, shake a paw, other paw, lay down – and only in that order. If you tried to mix it up, he’d get completely confused.
  • He has long white eyelashes and knows exactly how to look up at you from under them for the best puppy dog eyes.
  • When he’s really happy, his tail curls over on itself, husky style.
  • His ears can turn in a hundred different directions and completely independent of each other.
  • He cuddles his stuffed bear as a mother would her pup.
  • His scar from the car accident gives him a tough guy look.
  • When he goes to the dog park, he’s always the loudest dog there. Barking greetings at every dog and human he sees.
  • In the winter, he would dig himself a hole in the snow and then curl up in it with his tail neatly covering his nose. All you could see within minutes in a snow fall were his two big brown eyes.
  • He knew at night time that he wasn’t allowed on the couch as long as I was downstairs. Sometimes I’d be curled up under a blanket and he’d put his paw on the couch. All I had to do was clear my throat and he’d pull it back quick as a bunny.
  • When we lived in the apartment in Ottawa, Salem would bring his bear out every morning for his walk, carrying him lovely in his mouth to the amusement of our neighbours.
  • If you leave any piece of laundry on the floor, even a sock, Salem will turn in circles and lay down just right so he can rest his head on said clothing.
  • He loved to perch himself on the picnic table in the summer – looking like the king of his domain.
  • Salem is actually a keen hunter. A few times we had to bury the body of an unlucky squirrel or rabbit.
  • Once, Salem was trying to dig out a bunny den under the shed. He actually dug himself under the shed and then got stuck. Took me half an hour to find him.
  • He never did learn how to walk on a leash. To Salem, if you attached a rope to him, you were obviously wanting to be pulled around at top speed. He would have made an excellent sled dog.
  • Salem loses enough hair in a shed (which happens at least twice a year) to make a whole new dog. He loses it in clumps so that he often looks like a moulting deer and leaves big fluffs of hair all over.
  • In the winter, Salem’s paws grow long tufts of hair between the pads to protect them from the cold.
  • He hates eating out of metal bowls.
  • He never bit or mouthed any of the kids. Even when Hayden would pull on either sides of his lips to see how far they stretched.
  • He loves to completely destroy any stick that dares fall in his yard.
  • He once leapt from a porch about 6' off the ground to pursue a squirrel (which sent Adam off right after him – no one had ever seen my husband move so fast).
  • Just the sound of his collar tags jingling together makes him happy.
  • When a strange man once walked into our apartment while Salem and I were alone, he slowly raised to his feet, issuing a deep, powerful growl with teeth bared and heckles raised. He walked slowly and deliberately towards him until he turned and fled (it turned out he was a lost resident looking for the office).
  • His favourite place on earth is Bruce Pit in Ottawa (a huge, treed off-leash park). He could smell it from a mile away and would start whining as soon as he caught wind of it.
  • At Christmas Salem would always be right in the middle of the action, slowly being covered in tissue paper.
  • We once left a roast defrosting on the counter. When we came home after work, we found only a bloody stain on the carpet to show for it.
  • Often times when you drive away from the house, you’ll look back at the big front window to see him perched on the back of the couch to get one last look at you.
  • When Salem sleeps on the bed, he likes to have his own pillow to rest his head on (though yours will do in a pinch).
  • He has been the best dog ever. The one that all past dogs and all future dogs will be compared to.
  • His parting is going to leave a hole in my heart forever.


Laura B said...

I am in tears after reading this post. I too have a good old lab like your dog who has so many of your dogs traits... remember he always will be your best friend and death does not change that. But now he will be god'd best friend also. May doggie heaven have a rabbits and squirrels to chase and lots of sticks to shread. (hugs)

Anonymous said...

Love this Lu, amazing...we all love him and you guys were blessed all these years with such an awesome pooch. Love you xo

Anonymous said...

We all have such wonderful memories. How Salem has touched so many lives. He was always a good excuse for not doing housework. I shall forever picture him laying for hours on our raised deck surveying his domain, and then watching him stealthily trying to surprise a squirrel. I remember the cottage with Salem peeking over the porch and all you could see were eyes and yoda ears. Our first babysitting when he decided to leave our backyard and sailed over our 5ft gate without touching it. And lastly not quite knowing what to do with himself when you and Adam returned after your 2 week honeymoon, although I think maybe Adam was even more excited! I just hope he will find my beloved Saba, our undalmation Roxy and beautiful Copper. He will be forever in our hearts. Love Mum