Homer's Travels: Canine Memories

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Canine Memories

Yesterday the Wife and I picked up my Mom and went to lunch (Joe's Cafe in Benson, really good, inexpensive, food). After our lunch we went to the Humane Society to look at dogs.

It has been two and a half year since we had to put down Homer. I thought I'd finally got over it. I still felt sad when I saw a lab but the feelings were less dark and they were short lived. Then I walked along the cages full of dogs, dogs of all sizes, and the dark cloud formed and memories of Homer came flooding back. I still miss Homer. I also had memories of Aldo.

I don't think I've ever talked bout Aldo. I don't think the Wife has either. A couple years before Homer, we got the urge to get a dog so we went to the local animal shelter and looked for a dog to adopt. There we met this dog, a cross between a dog and a sausage, who the Wife described as an old Italian gentleman. We thought it over and we eventually brought him home.  We named him Aldo.

Aldo was a sweet old dog. He wanted to be with you. He seemed happy. That night he slept on the floor beside our bed. The next morning when I took him out he started hacking up large gobs of phlegm. He'd actually had done this the day before but it didn't click that something was wrong until the morning. After contacting the Emergency Animal Hospital, he was diagnosed, over the phone, with Kennel Cough.  The hospital made it sound terrible - they said to bring him in but not to bring him into the building.  They made it sound like a very difficult thing to cure.  Turns out kennel cough is highly contagious but can be cured.  We were naive.  We didn't know.  We took Aldo back to the animal shelter.

Later that afternoon, after several miserable hours, we looked at each other and decided to go back to get Aldo and do what it took to get him better.  Having a pet was a big responsibility and we needed to do what we could for Aldo.   We drove to the animal shelter but it was too late.  The shelter's policy was to euthanize all sick animals.  Returning Aldo to the shelter had sealed his fate.  Aldo was gone.

Aldo had been home for less than twenty-four hours.  I don't think I've ever felt so guilty in my life.  We didn't talk about it.  I never forgot.

Homer came along a few years later.  My enthusiasm for a dog was not as strong as before.  I think a bit of it had died with Aldo.  But I sucked it up and my guilt melted away when I held that little puppy in my hands, the puppy who would grow up to be the Homer Dog.  I became very close to that dog.  Did I walk him enough?  Did I play with him enough?  Did I take him for granted?  When we had to put him down, a bit more of my enthusiasm passed as well and once again I felt guilty.

So here we are again looking for a dog.  The Wife is more enthusiastic than I am.  I don't think I will ever be as enthusiastic as she is ever again.  We looked at three dogs - a black lab mix (a little too rambunctious in need of a lot of attention) and two beagle mixes (one not house broken with daily accidents and the other partially housebroken but with occasional seizures).  All of them were sweet but none were a good match for us.

I know we will find the right dog.  I know my guilt, and heart, will melt once again.  I know memories of Aldo and Homer will fade, but they will never be forgotten.  Maybe this time I will assuage my guilt.


  1. Your description of finding the right dog is very similar to conversations my gal pals have had with me about finding the right man.

    seriously though, I know you'll find the right dog. You have a lotta love in your heart :)

    1. Autumn, Thanks, I'm sure the right one will come along eventually.