Martha Jane was a Wonderful Blue Dog

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Martha "Calamity" Jane
December 9, 1991 - August 28, 2002

Part II - August 30, 2002

" the company of dogs..."

As 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 physicality.

We 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.

We (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 fun.

In 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.

On 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.

Now 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.

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