By now, all of my friends know the details of my dog Browning’s death. I am so grateful for my friends, as I repeated the details, partly in shock and partly to try to make sense of what happened, for taking the time to listen.. I didn’t talk much about what a privilege it was to be with him those last few minutes of his life. It was a very peaceful transition with his physical body, probably because his spirit had already left.
For the past few days, I have been pondering what lessons Browning taught me. This is a dog who some days drove me insane and some days danced with me and gave me doggy kisses. Such make up a lifetime. So here are Browning’s lessons:
- Make sure you are seen – give them your most enchanting look, get up on your feet so they can truly appreciate your magnificence. Let them admire you, talk to you, pet your head. After all, they may be hiding some delicious treat that they will feel compelled to share.
- When something smells good in the kitchen, hang out there. Good things come out of the kitchen, and you never know when something might hit the floor.
- Never turn down a trip anywhere. You never know when there may be a stop at a drive thu or a cookie from Starbucks or a bagel from Panera. Don’t let them forget the cream cheese. And remind them that Starbucks has free puppachinos.
- Claim your seat in the car and let everyone know that it is your seat. A few deep growls will make your point.
- If you get bored, find the newspaper and toss it all over the yard. They will always notice when you do this, and when they come out, mad as hell at you, there will be a measure of the excitement you crave. Dance around them as they pick it up – or better yet, get a bark and growl going with sections of the paper when they go to pick it up.
- When you see a cat in your path, go up and give it a nudge with your nose. Cats do not like this and will try to swat your nose, but you can always jump back and laugh at them. Cats have no sense of humor.
- When you want something, and no one is paying attention, be as annoying as you possibly can. Whine, bark, jump up and down until you get it.
- Don’t ride in cargo vans. There is no good place to sit and it might be a mighty long trip.
- While it might seem a good idea when you are young, don’t give in to the temptation of eating slippers, shoes, hearing aids and eyeglasses. This will immediately result in a trip to the vet and you do not want to go there.
- Speaking of vets, when you have to go, make sure they understand that this isn’t your idea. Resist going into one of those little rooms, where they stick things up your butt and jab you with needles. Most of all, keep your eye on the exit and if you can, your paw on the door handle.
- Be skeptical of all new endeavors and proceed with caution.
- Listen to the weather forecasts and go into the bathroom with a tub if “severe” anything is mentioned. In bad weather, it is every dog for himself, and having claimed your spot, any other dogs will have to work around you.
- You are entitled to your share of the bed, no matter what your humans say. They will find a way to accommodate you, if you refuse to move. When dealing with other dogs, always claim the most comfortable bed being offered.
- Be a part of any endeavor in your home. Follow service people around and get in the way as much as possible. Let them know you are on it.
- Take a swim, especially if you are getting in the car soon.
- As you get older, and you will get older, be less dependent on your looks and more dependent on your charm.
- Under no circumstances, do not do tricks without a treat in sight.
- And finally, be friendly -the world really is made up of friends you just haven’t met yet.
And these are the final words from Browning.
There is a GoFundMe account for Browning’s Memorial Fund. All proceeds will go the Lake Martin Humane Shelter, so other dogs and cats might find loving homes too. I plan to present the check on October 5th, which would have been Browning’s 14th birthday.