II - August 30, 2002
the company of dogs..."
always, the physical part of us is sometimes selfish - wanting
the physical comforts of companionship, without end or change.
It is times of transition, like these, when we are reminded
that we are also spiritual beings - and that the spiritual part
of us is much more comforting, is a truer companion to us, than
and Martha Jane, as physical beings, had a horrible day on Wednesday.
But like the story of "The Others", which was the
last movie we three watched together on Tuesday, we were forced
to let go of the physical part of MJ's being, and begin to embrace
her in her spiritual state. Also, like that story, and like
the "Sixth Sense", the revelation of the outcome (that
MJ was dying), is confirmed in retrospect by the dozens of clues
we missed (or MJ ignored) over the past weeks and months. Seeing
those movies a second time reveals the now obvious conclusion
of the story. We reviewed the ways she had changed her habits
and behavior over the last few months, and how she had kept
it all under control - the pain, nausea, pressure - through
her strong constitution and stoic, though sometimes mercurial,
personality. When she started to get very sick on Monday, when
we were speculating about stomach aches and bad food and eating
bugs and drinking pond water and other temporal causes for her
condition, she knew how sick she was. Our hindsight showed us
that the plaintive staring looks she was giving us, while quietly
suffering through her last days, was telling us that it's time
to go. On Wednesday when we started talking about going to the
vet, she actually perked up a little, and wagged her tail. She
knew it was time to go.
(and Martha Jane), as spiritual beings, had a wonderful day
on Thursday. We weathered the physical storms of passage, and
spent the day in contemplation and revelation. We got her more
settled in to her resting place, and gathered more beautiful
rocks to pile on her monument, planted four sticks of ocotillo
(some may sprout), cleaned her "stuff", threw some
away, and put some away to be inherited by her heir (in a little
while). We realized that Martha Jane was on a mission with us,
and that now her time had come to move on ("My work here
is done..."). She guided us through ten years of incredible
change, of loss, of growth, and most of all, of unmitigated
her home in Marathon, she was always fed after our walk up to
the elementary school and around the high school track. When
we came back, Mrs. had her supper waiting for her on the front
porch of our little 1938 frame house. We sat together for a
while, but MJ knew it was supper, and finally drug me and her
food dish back to the barn/shop/office building where she lived
and I work. I would leave her to eat in the fenced in yard of
the "shop", with the door to her "room"
open. She always raised a fuss, after she was fed and it was
dark, and I would go out and she was waiting in the doorway,
for me to come and shut her in for the night. She was never
afraid of the dark, if she could be "contained" in
her comfy room, next to her Daddy's office.
Wednesday, we dug her a nice, roomy, oval hole in the sandy,
smelly, rocky desert, under the beautiful enigmatic desert trees.
We put her in her bed and covered her with her favorite mattress
ticking blanket, like we did in the winter time. (She liked
it up around her chin, but don't touch it after you get it in
place, or she'll give you a snarly face). Martha Jane was very
particular about her "linens", and she absolutely
loved her yellow bandana Mrs. gave her earlier this year (She
called it her Dale Evans scarf). So we arranged her in her bed,
covered her with linen, tucked her in, and closed her up in
her new comfy room. She loved to sleep, and as older dogs do,
slept more and more. She also loved to smell "stuff".
One of her favorite trips out here in Arizona, was when we went
to the huge landfill in Tucson, to take our accumulated trash.
The place was a wonderland, a Disneyland "OdorLand",
for a dog that went nuts over the billions of different smells
her cold nose detected by the time got within a couple of miles
of that place.
she is in a nice closed in place, with great smells, and she
can sleep a lot. Physically, she's gone, and there are going
to be dozens of places and times where we will burst into tears,
because we miss our special bonehead. Spiritually, she'll be
with us more than ever, and there will be hundreds of times
we'll smile and laugh when we talk about her calamitous approach
to life. She was a trooper, a calamitous, no whining, in your
face, opinionated, take it or leave it, knucklehead. And the
sweetest dog ever born.