That Dog Won’t Hunt Anymore

grandma
I was only three when my grandmother died so I can’t say we got to know each other very well.

Can’t say that I remember tons about her because I don’t but there are enough fragments and flashes for me to be comfortable saying I knew her.

Ask me what led me to make an unplanned visit to see my grandparents and I’ll shrug my shoulders and tell you I had too much time on my hands to do nothing and not enough to do something.

Press me on it and I might tell you about the dead dog I saw today because there is a connection between the two events.

That Dog Won’t Hunt Anymore

I didn’t know the dog was dead until I was almost on top of it.

At first I thought it was sleeping and figured it belonged to one of the men standing close to it.

It was only after one of them shook his head in disgust and made a comment about how the owner must be an awful person that I realized the dog wasn’t asleep.

“That dog won’t hunt anymore.”

Don’t ask me why I thought of it, because it is not the kind of expression I use often but it seemed appropriate.

Because I was in a rush I didn’t stop to ask if someone was going to make appropriate arrangements for the dog. I just hustled back to my car so I could move on to my next stop.

Five minutes or so later I began to wonder if I had made a mistake to not find out if the people who were standing around the dog intended to do something about it.

Had I not been on the freeway I would have gone back to find out but instead I gave myself a mental kick in the pants and wondered how that poor creature ended up dead on a sidewalk.

He/she didn’t look like they had bee on the streets. They looked like they belonged somewhere and to someone and that made me wonder what had happened to it.

It made me think about how we treat our pets and how we treat people.

Until Death Do Us Part

The cemetery is right off of the freeway and it since it shares the same exit as my next stop I gave into impulse and went to visit my grandparents.

When I arrived at Grandma’s resting place I sat down and apologized for not having been to visit in far too long.

I gave her a quick rundown on what is happened in the several years since I was last there and told her I felt a little silly talking out loud when it was clear that I was the only living being nearby.

After a brief pause to confirm she wasn’t going to respond I made my way to my grandfather and other grandmother and went through the same exercise.

Except this time I told grandpa that if he actually answered me we could come up with the greatest big brother prank ever and scare my sisters.

When he didn’t respond I told him I took that as a no and said I would give him time to reconsider and then I went to the car to get back to the real world.

Ten minutes later I was behind the wheel waiting for traffic to move when I started thinking about the dog again and told myself I shouldn’t feel guilty for not making sure it was taken care of.

In my house our dogs were always part of our family so it was hard not to think about it being mistreated and again I wondered if someone somewhere would mourn for it.

******

It also got me thinking about what mourning a dog means versus people.

I have had to say goodbye to more than one dog and it has never been easy but I can’t say we have ever used a pet cemetery.

When my pals were gone the vet took care of them and I was left with pictures, videos/Super 8 and memories.

It is still love, just a different sort of love than people love.
socratesThere are more important questions to think about than to wonder what the proper way to mourn an animal is but then again if I am to teach my children to be compassionate and thoughtful people shouldn’t I extend that to all creatures.

That dog deserved better than to be left on the sidewalk and I hope someone took care of him because I should have stopped to confirm.

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8 Comments

  1. Danny Brown May 20, 2015 at 9:46 am

    Interesting thoughts, Josh. I’ve been thinking about the passing of time, and what it means to us, more and more recently, as a result of some personal experiences that I don’t need to go into here.

    I think we worry about what happens to others, and if someone will take care of them (like the dog), because we fear that may happen to us. What if we separate from our loved ones, argue with our kids, and have no-one to even know we’ve passed, let alone mourn us?

    My old man used to joke about saving on funeral costs and putting him in a black bin liner and throwing him off a cliff when he dies. Which is fine – but then who would you talk to when he’s gone?

    Conversations with the dead can be the most insightful of all.

    • Joshua May 20, 2015 at 10:27 pm

      Hi Danny,

      It is after 10 and I have barely had time to read or respond to email because of all of the racing around of the day. Ask me to recount what I did and I’ll tell you but I can’t say if it was the sort of thing that would have the kind of impact upon a life that I want to have.

      So when we talk about who will or won’t mourn us, well I think about days like today and ask if I have done anything to merit being missed.

      • Danny Brown May 21, 2015 at 4:11 am

        That’s the funny thing about making an impact, mate. We rarely know we did – it’s only once we’re gone we usually find out.

        I’m sure even the smallest, “non-impacting” stuff you did today made a difference to someone, either on that day or a day yet to come.

        • Joshua May 21, 2015 at 8:56 am

          You are probably right but sometimes it is hard for me not to look at the day and ask myself what all the running around like crazy accomplished.

  2. T Hopkins May 20, 2015 at 8:13 am

    Joshua, it’s obvious how the two things are related.   We get so caught up in the day-to-day things of life that those we love–and that includes grandparents as well as pets–can be unintentionally taken for granted.  They have always been around, so a part of us just thinks they always will be–until they’re not.  It is then, especially, that we feel the void left behind in their stead.  Sometimes, sadly, the void stands out more obviously to us than those whose place it took–a sad reminder to cherish whom and what we have, while they are here.  

    Someone is probably missing that poor dog.  And no doubt you miss you grandparents.  I can relate on both counts.   It’s said that once the spirit leaves the body, its energy is no longer confined by boundaries.  If that’s true (and to me personally, I believe it makes sense), even if you can’t make it to the cemetery as often as you feel you should, you know you can talk to them anytime, anywhere.  I think the same holds true for animals who’ve been dear to us as well.  

     

    • Joshua May 20, 2015 at 9:20 pm

      I am agnostic about some things. I definitely talk to the grandparents when I am in the mood wherever I am at. I figure if they do exist in some form there is no reason why they would be chained to one place.

      I was lucky because I had almost all of my grandparents until I was in my late thirties and even had a grandfather into my forties.

      I always knew the day would come when I couldn’t just go visit, but it was still shocking anyway when it happened.

  3. jens May 20, 2015 at 5:48 am

    Hi Josh,

    I am not sure what I would do if I discovered the dead dog. I am sure I would have been really sad. But, I don’t know who to call, or if I should have buried it. It’s easier with people, we have someone to call and we have the proper systems (for “everything”).

    The reason I’m vegetarian is my love for animals (and all creatures). I don’t preach it, and I don’t force my kids or my wife to become vegetarians, but I believe that we share more or less the same love for all creatures, even though we show it differently.

    • Joshua May 20, 2015 at 9:16 pm

      Hi Jens,

      I am pretty sure I know who to call and could have confirmed it but I didn’t. Probably should have.

      I respect those who are vegetarians, don’t think it is for me. But I appreciate the reasons why others do.

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