Spencer

My dog was killed a few days ago. He was a beautiful old soul – my old man. He and Muddles the camp dog, loved following me around town, coming to the shop or the art centre, sitting outside and waiting for me to come out. Going for a daily stroll was the highlight of his day. He was stone deaf and had arthritic hips, but loved his walks. 

I’ve got two dogs; both idiots. Had. I had two dogs. They’re both beautiful but weren’t blessed with brains. They’re both as dumb as box of rocks – but they’re MY idiots. The camp dogs by and large left Spencer alone, perhaps because he was old? Lottie they’d chase home – so she never came on out walks. She would walk to the corner and then decide that was far enough and walk home and wait for us. Muddles the camp dog and my old man Spencer were my shadows. But it’s different now, he’s gone. Lying on the cold concrete floor of the shed, wrapped in a sheet, waiting to be put to rest. 

We were walking home from the art centre, and we were a mere 100metres from home. A car came tearing around the corner, speeding through a school zone and the driver wasn’t watching the road. Before I could yell out, he mowed my dog down. There was a sickening crunch, he was seizing, and then he was gone. The driver stopped and said he was sorry and that he didn’t see him. I was hysterical. I, with my baby on my back, knelt sobbing in the middle of the road, over the broken body of my longtime companion; an innocent soul. The police drove past, I looked up. I watched them as they drove past, looking at me, but not stopping. Not stopping to help someone clearly in distress. I needed their help. 

It’s all a blur now; my lovely neighbour drove past and went to get my husband, who gently picked up my beautful old dog and laid him down in the front yard. I started a fire and sat down beside him. My other dog Lottie was crying and pacing; she knew she’d lost her best friend. Muddles the camp dog occasionally went up and nudged her, licking her. Baby Emmeline found a ball and an old bone and went and put them by Spencer’s head. I was, and still am, consumed by grief. Tonight we’ll go and bury him and say goodbye. Anyone who thinks me strange for the depth of my grief, truly hasn’t known the unconditional love of an animal. Caring for animals is, I believe, the best way that we can teach our children empathy. The way a person treats vulnerable people and animals is a to me, the best indication of a persons’ compassion and humanity. Matt went and got Isaiah so he could come and say goodbye, while I sat with my grief, and my guilt, and a whole lot of “what ifs”. My son hugged me tightly and told me it would be alright. He said “don’t worry mum, Spencer is still with us!” I looked at him quizzically and asked him what he meant. “He’s still with us mum – he’s in the shed!” I laughed – kids – or maybe just mine – are so, so literal. “Yep, he’s still with us. He’s in the shed.” I replied. 

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