Me and my Arrow

It’s been eight years, but the memories of his last night are still fresh: his screams, as each spasm ripped through his abdomen; the grayish color of his gums; the faraway look in his eyes. I knew he was dying … and I knew there was nothing I could do.

I relived that night recently, as I thumbed through the file that contained my dog Arrow’s records. That file folder — battered by use, and yellowed with age —  was one of just a handful that survived The Flood.

I expected to be overwhelmed by sadness, when I first opened Arrow’s folder. His cremation certificate was among the first artifacts I saw, along with this beautiful poem from my friend Jim:

Neruda poem 1 0841 Neruda poem 2 0842

Sifting through the papers, I began going backward in time. I remembered my sister’s comforting words, “You will see Arrow again.”

7-93 Arrow in Yard

I’d indeed seen his face again — on another dog, with a different name.

Arrow seen again 0990

Deeper into the cellulose time-tunnel, I found his vaccination records. Apparently I lost interest in monitoring his feces after only five years.

Arrow medical record 0897

I also found an EKG printout — the last vestige of his fine and strong heart.

Arrow echo 0961

Then, an old shopping list emerged. “Dog deodorizer?” I asked myself.

Arrow grooming supplies 0984

His adoption papers explained it: In two years, his previous owner had never once tried bathing him.

Arrow profile bathed 0997

Finally, at the very end of the file, I found one last small bit of paper.

Arrow classified ad 0971

Who would have thought that such a simple ad would form the beginning of such a beautiful, enduring friendship?

Arrow’s ashes are back home now, enshrined in the closet where he so often took refuge. And although the flood washed away all evidence of his physical presence, his spirit lives on in my heart.

May the road rise up to meet you, dear friend.

Arrow on golf course



    • So nice to see you again, Patti! And thank you for your sweet comment. If there’s a heaven for people, too, I’m sure it must contain our dogs.

  1. I’m so glad for you that these precious documents survived the flood. Sifting through the memories they evoke, you have made a beautiful tribute to your old friend. (And funny too: fecal examinations – for five years?!)

    If there is a heaven, it must surely have our dogs in it, waiting to welcome us home.

    • Our dogs MUST be waiting for us in heaven, DB — for without them, it wouldn’t really be heaven.

      I thought of you quite a lot as I wrote this post, actually … and what I forgot to mention is that, eventually, the happy memories do eclipse the grief. I hope the same will be true for you as you remember the beautiful and noble Tronach in the years to come.

      As for all those fecal examinations I conducted? I honestly have no explanation. Perhaps I was looking for evidence of all the food he quietly pilfered while I was occupied with other tasks. I still find it incredible that he could eat an entire large pizza without so much as a tiny belch.

  2. Such a sad story, H. I’ve never owned a dog. I can’t own one now because I live in an apartment and pets are not allowed. But I do like dogs and I’ve published a little story on my blog that you might enjoy, if you have time. You know where to find it. Chin up 🙂

    • You’re so kind, Xpat … thanks for the “chin up.” As for the dog story you mention: Does it involve a certain Rusty? Or should I dig a bit deeper for another? (No pun intended, and no disrespect to the dearly departed Rusty.)

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