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rest easy, lunkhead

April 23, 2011

He had a hero’s build but he wasn’t a hero.  His powerful legs, muscular chest and

rugged good looks were underlined by his strong, silent style.  But his mysterious

past traumatized him, and he was skittish even as he barked furiously.  We think

he was physically abused.  We think he was the runt of his litter and used as a bait

dog for the fighting ring his first owners ran.

He wasn’t particularly bright, but he was smart enough to escape his tormentors. 

If he’d taken the wrong turn he might have ended up doomed at the pound. Instead,

he wandered into the barn of our friend Nicholas and thus became Roameo.  It took

him a long time to trust Nicholas, then Jude and her dog Robin, then me.  He could

startle easily.  We couldn’t trust him around children.

He didn’t heed commands particularly well.  Once he walked through a screen door

rather than wait for it to be opened.  At the end he was deaf and would only respond

to hand signals.  Yet he was family and he was thoroughly loved.  And Thursday he

drew his last breath as we held him and cried.

Here’s Roameo with Jude just before we moved to the farm.

This is right after we moved in.

He immediately grew comfortable in his new digs.

Right after that, we went to the animal shelter and he picked out Slinkee.  In this

shot, he seems to be experiencing buyer’s remorse.

But soon they were great good friends, possibly because she let him win this round.

Slinkee opened Roameo up to the possibility of other friends.  Here he is warming

to Ollie.  Ollie’s not so sure this can work.

The first time Jude tried to bath Roameo, he freaked out and broke off the faucet

while trying to climb out of the tub. This was much later and much different.  It’s 

the most relaxed I’ve ever seen him, and will always be my favorite photo of him.

Here’s another shot of that bath.  This is one blissed-out puppy.

Rest easy, lunkhead.  I’ll think of you every time a load of snow crashes off the roof

and you’re not there to bark and scare it away.

  1. Charlotte Wales permalink
    April 23, 2011 8:49 am

    Such ultimate trust between Roameo and Jude – beautiful pic, for sure.

    • April 23, 2011 10:26 am

      Love filled the room that day.

  2. April 23, 2011 1:16 pm

    Golden labs are among my favourite breed of dogs. Roameo was a beaut. Kudos to you and Jude for the decision you made; it’s rarely an easy one and we often put it off too long. Or we feel guilty forevemore, worried we did it too soon. I still feel badly about putting our year-old pup down last June, eventually following the vet’s advice (and he’s an excellent vet who charged me next to nothing), as if I couldn’t possibly have done enough and should have kept searching for alternative treatments and handmade all her food and so on and so forth, when probably nothing would have worked. Now we have a 15-year-old girlysue whom Scott says won’t make another winter. We will hate to see her go.

    • April 23, 2011 4:30 pm

      Kate, when the time comes, please share it with us. You don’t have to face it alone.

  3. Joe permalink
    April 23, 2011 5:30 pm

    A Dog Has Died by Pablo Neruda
    My dog has died.
    I buried him in the garden
    next to a rusted old machine.

    Some day I’ll join him right there,
    but now he’s gone with his shaggy coat,
    his bad manners and his cold nose,
    and I, the materialist, who never believed
    in any promised heaven in the sky
    for any human being,
    I believe in a heaven I’ll never enter.
    Yes, I believe in a heaven for all dogdom
    where my dog waits for my arrival
    waving his fan-like tail in friendship.

    Ai, I’ll not speak of sadness here on earth,
    of having lost a companion
    who was never servile.
    His friendship for me, like that of a porcupine
    withholding its authority,
    was the friendship of a star, aloof,
    with no more intimacy than was called for,
    with no exaggerations:
    he never climbed all over my clothes
    filling me full of his hair or his mange,
    he never rubbed up against my knee
    like other dogs obsessed with sex.

    No, my dog used to gaze at me,
    paying me the attention I need,
    the attention required
    to make a vain person like me understand
    that, being a dog, he was wasting time,
    but, with those eyes so much purer than mine,
    he’d keep on gazing at me
    with a look that reserved for me alone
    all his sweet and shaggy life,
    always near me, never troubling me,
    and asking nothing.

    Ai, how many times have I envied his tail
    as we walked together on the shores of the sea
    in the lonely winter of Isla Negra
    where the wintering birds filled the sky
    and my hairy dog was jumping about
    full of the voltage of the sea’s movement:
    my wandering dog, sniffing away
    with his golden tail held high,
    face to face with the ocean’s spray.

    Joyful, joyful, joyful,
    as only dogs know how to be happy
    with only the autonomy
    of their shameless spirit.

    There are no good-byes for my dog who has died,
    and we don’t now and never did lie to each other.

    So now he’s gone and I buried him,
    and that’s all there is to it.


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