Friday, May 14, 2010

I'm the best dog.

It was October of 1997. I decided I wanted a dog.  Connell Cheverolet was having free adoption day at their dealership.  When you adopted a dog from the Heart of the Valley shelter it cost you $50.  When Connell had adoption day, he picked up the tab. He did it twice a year.  The shelter would bring the animals to the dealership and you could check them out.  Pat Connell was a very generous man and community leader.  He died in freak construction accident and is sorely missed.

I wanted a small dog.  Like a beagle or something. I was living in a trailer at the time and didn't have room for a big dog. There were all kinds of dogs there that day but not a small one that I liked so I moved up to a 50 or 60 pounder.  There was this male.  Rudy was his name I think.  A Lab something cross.  I really didn't want a male.  They tend to piss on things in your house.  I kind of liked this knot headed pooch but wasn't sold on him. I went to Connell's 4 or 5 times that day.  Every time I was there, there was this other dog out of her kennell that someone was looking  at.  A beautiful Lab-Hound cross but she was very much standoffish (that's a word look it up).  Anyway, I was hell bent to take something home with me. Late in the day I went back to take one more look at Rudy.  I stood there and tried to talk myself into taking him home but couldn't do it. 

There in the kennel next to him was the Lab-Hound cross.  A pretty, pretty girl.  I looked at the lady from the shelter and asked her "why is she still here?" She responded "I don't know.  She's a great dog. We've had her for six weeks. She's been pet of the week twice and no one has taken her."  Pet of the week is an ad the shelter runs each Sunday.  If you take the animal, cat or dog, there is no adoption charge.  I asked her "So, if you had to choose between her and Rudy, who would you take?"  She replied "I'd take Sloan all day.  She's the kind of dog that once she figures out where home is, she will lay at your feet"  I thought for a second and then said "I'll take her."  I never took her out of her little cage. Never played with her to see her dispotion.  Took the gals word straight up.

"Oh my God! You're kidding?!" 

"No, if she's what you say she is, I'll take her home."

So I go in to sign the papers.  The lady I was talking to was very excited.  "This guy is taking Sloan!"  All the gals working stopped to tell me how greatful they were that Sloan was finally going to have a home.

It took a while for us to get used to each other.  The first night I brought her home, I put a blanket on the floor and told her to go to bed. She laid down and went to sleep.  I woke up at around midnight to check on her.  She was sound asleep on my love seat.  I made her get off and lay on her blanket.  I got up again at 2 and did the same thing. I got up at 4 and she was on the love seat. Again.  I told her to get off the love seat. She did. I threw the blanket on the love seat and told her to go to bed. It was one of many battles I would lose.

Throughout the winter she was very distant.  Never really warmed up to me.  We would go for walks. After a fashion I would let her off her leash and then spend an hour trying to catch her. It was a huge pain in the ass. That spring I started taking her to work with me.  I had this old Ford Ranger with a sliding rear window. Sloan would hop from the seat to the bed of the pickup and back again. She would hand over the side so far that I would have to stop in fear of her jumpin out. But, taking her to work made her bond with me.  I remember I had been taking her to work for a couple of weeks, one morning it was raining so I left her home.  The look in her eyes was heartbreaking and I could hear her howling as I got into my truck.

She loved to travel with me.  I moved up from the Ranger to a Dodge Dakota.  Sloan would stand with her back feet on the back seat and her front feet on the console.  Wagging her tail and spying for animals the entire trip.

I took her to The Prodigy's cabin one weekend. TP, his puppy Hogan, Sloan and  me went for a walk after lunch.  I turned Sloan off her leash as we walked down the road. She was about 30 feet ahead of me. TP and I are bullshitting away as we alwyas do. I looked up at Sloan and she is frozen solid. She's caught a scent.  I look off to my right and I see some deer about 100 yards away. Sloan can't see them as the grass by the road is too high. I started yelling at her to come back. She raised up on her hind legs, saw the deer and was GONE!  I raced after her screaming to come back. I must have run a 1/2 mile through the trees and she was putting distance between us. 

I went back to the road and told TP that she was either going to be shot by a hunter or I was going to have to go to Buffalo to pick her up. We went back to the cabin. I jumped in the truck and drove around looking for her for an hour but nothing.  We were sitting at the cabin watching a movie. It was about 7 O'clock.  TP got up to get us a beer.  He pulled two out of the fridge and was walking back to the living room when he said "Well, guess whose home?" He opened the sliding glass door and let Sloan in. She was whipped.  She looked at me with a face that said "I had a great day." Then she curled up right on the living room floor and collapsed in sleep.

I have way too many stories about this remarkable dog than I can care to write about. She battled two cancer surgeries and won. I tried my best to give her the life she deserved for all of the companionship she gave me and she gave me plenty.  She was between two and three when I adopted her so I made April 1 her birthday.  She turned 15 just over a month ago.

She's gone now.  The last week has been hard on her.  There was no more gleem in her eyes. Just the sadness of not feeling well.  I made the call to end her suffering and though I am glad she no longer is, I am sad that I don't have my beautiful loving dog anymore. 

Sleep well Dogger.  I can never repay you for all the happiness you brought me.  I have nothing else to say.

SLOAN
1995-2010

15 comments:

Jen said...

She was the best dog (and it makes me smile to think of her!). She greeted everyone she met as though they were her long lost friends, and, she was so happy to make the acquaintance.

What you did for her today is another example of how you were the best friend she could have ever had. The life, the care and the honor you gave her, was second to none. She was a happy dog and she was very lucky to have you. I know you are very proud of her, as you should be.

I miss her already and I am thankful to have known her.

Sloan - have fun up there, all the toys and treats are yours, and yes, you are the boss, beautiful girl!

Uncle Scooty said...

She was lucky to have been chosen by you - she had a great life with lots of love. It's tough to make the call, but most dogs - especially pound dogs - should be so lucky to have lived so well.

I remember one of those days when you had to chase her a mile or more, and I could hear you cussing her the entire time. Now I'm sure she is resting on a love seat, working on her favorite treat, and waiting to catch the scent for her next great adventure.

Pam said...

...(Wiping tear from eye) .... such a tough decision to make for Sloan, and for you. Nothing but love in this post. God bless.

Ralph said...

Great dog, great owner, great tribute. Thanks for making me cry at work asshole. Just kidding. I remember having Sloan over to our house in Billings. She was a great dog. I will miss her. Take care my friend. Sloan have fun playing in the sun until we all see you again.

Angila Golik said...

Chip ~ We will all miss Sloan. It's the hardest decision to make, but you made the humane decision for such a beautiful soul. I loved Sloan. She was such an awesome dog...a great friend! Losing a pet is very difficult and my heart goes out to you. Save me a spot on that Love Seat Sloan..we'll see you again someday!

McBritt said...

The duke and I shedding a tear.
He loved her alot.
The little dog(I can't remember his name) next door always perplexed her. It was fun to watch Sloan watch that dog run all over the place. It was as if she was thinking "Dude, save that energy, you will need it later!"
I will miss seeing her on the couch.

LP

Milk River Madman said...

Thanks to you all for the kind words on this very sad day. Especially thanks to you Jen for going with and being there with her until the end. It meant the world to her as and me. It's why I call you my best friend.

Clint said...

Chip -

I hope another dog gets the opportunity to have you as its owner. I read your posts and can feel the love you had for your dog. You made the hardest decision but the best decision. Be at peace my friend. Clint

Kymical Reactions said...

Oh MRM. I'm so terribly sorry for you. I understand how difficult and heartbreaking this decision was for you to make. I'm fighting back tears right now, as I'm recalling having to let my Lexus go just a few months ago. I've not even had the courgae to post about her yet.

My heart is aching for you, and I pray that you find some comfort in the memories of your time with your best friend. HUG.

Roses said...

It's so hard saying goodbye to a friend who has been so loyal and so much fun.

But I'm glad you both had such a great time together.

Tanaya said...

I am so sorry about Sloan and hope that a day's space has eased your pain a bit. Rest well knowing that she is not in any pain and in a better place.

Boxer said...

OHHHHHH. I was gone all weekend. :-( This just broke my heart to read. I lost my beloved Stella last July - my first dog as an adult and we were loyal friends. I'm so sorry for loss of such a good and wonderful companion.

Wishing you peace.

Ralph said...

By the way, I think you should considering forwarding a copy of this to the shelter. It is well written and may be useful to them. Just a thought.

5Wood said...

Chip,

Been so busy I haven't been on here for awhile and haven't chatted lately. So sorry to hear about Sloan she was a great pooch, and I am sure that day at the shelter didn't even realize how lucky she was all those other people passed her up. You two were some pair.

Wade

Jen said...

I still miss her. And, whenever I hear you are leaving town, my first thought is still, "I get Sloan!" :) ... :(. What a great dog.