Dogs have always been part of my life; a love passed down from generation to generation. Protracted unemployment in the early 90s required some creativity. Thus, my pet care business was born. This is a continuing series.
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CHAPTER ONE: LUKE
I first met Luke when he was only 9 months old. What a magnificent dog! A beautiful White Shepherd, (aka Snow Shepherd or Swiss Shepherd), the likes of which I had never seen before. It was my weekly assignment to take him out for some exercise while his owners were work. The first day, he was barking furiously and ready to attack before I got through the door! This was a little nerve-wracking, but I was hoping he would calm down, once he picked up my scent. Our initial meeting had been a few days prior and he had given me a thorough “once over”. With outstretched hand, palm up, I tiptoed in. Luke bounded at me, then stopped to sniff. He looked up as if to say “oh yes, I remember you” and started to wag his tail. Big sigh of relief escaped my lips!
I grabbed the leash from the wall and he started “talking” to me. “Rawr, rawr, rawr , rawr” [~Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go, let’s go~]. This made me smile. So impatient! We got in the car and headed for the park. There was fur flying everywhere and as the years passed, the old “dogmobile” would house a permanent “Lukehair” blanket, (others’ too, of course, but not so obvious).
Apparently, I wasn’t driving fast enough. From the back seat, Luke leaned into my right ear . “Rawr, rawr, rawr, rawr” [~Are we there yet, are we there yet, are we there yet, are we there yet?~]. This continued until we arrived at our destination; quite the distraction!
The dog park wasn’t ideal for Luke. He had a habit of trying to mount other males, some of whom took exception. I looked for a safer venue and found a lovely, mostly deserted green space a few miles away, where Luke could play frisbee to his heart’s content.
This routine went on for years. Luke also enjoyed many vacations at my house. We were forever bonded. ♥ He started deteriorating around the age of 10. First, there was a problem with his spleen and it had to be removed. There were stomach problems, too. I remember once he had a bad case of diarrhea, all over my car. What a mess! The poor boy was so mortified!
After Luke’s human Mommy, Lorraine, began working from home, I only saw him occasionally. She contacted me one summer’s day, when Luke was 13, to relay the sad news that he had cancer. “He’s not suffering and we’ll keep him comfortable as long as possible”, she said. My heart sank, but, I tried to remain positive, for her sake. Told her how much we loved him and that she and her husband were wonderful to give him this chance. Not all dog owners would. There was no further news until the dreaded call came, shortly before Christmas. Luke had passed away peacefully, in his sleep, overnight. Lorraine and I were both sobbing into the phone, as I tried to console her. Losing a client’s dog is almost as heart wrenching as losing my own and this scene has been repeated often, over the years.
Luke will forever remain in our hearts. He truly was one of a kind!
© D.D.B. 2012