January Mourning #2 (For Claney)
Our first dog, Claney, died last Monday night. He’d been sick for several weeks. We’d given him bottles of medicine and enjoyed the fleeting glimpses of improvement we thought we saw—until last Sunday when we found him in a patch of trees near our pond. No one said the words out loud, but our faces showed the same question. Are we losing him?
My Wilmington aunt had brought him to us. After practicing with four ducks—Dickey, Davey, Dobby, and Polly Ann (P.A. for short) and two cats—Lucy and Desi, who had six toes on his front paws, we thought we might be ready to graduate to canines.
My aunt rescues animals. Claney must have heard about her reputation because he limped up to her yard with an injured hind leg and a heavy chain around his neck. Her vet estimated his age at about six months. She nursed him, then brought him to us.
He was a mix of Black Lab and maybe Great Dane. We’re not certain. We are certain that he was a big dog. He weighed about 110 pounds and stood probably two and a half feet high, but that doesn’t tell the real story of his height. He could stand with his front paws on my six foot tall sons and look them in the eye.
His teeth stretched far back into the massive head, and his growl vibrated from somewhere deep inside his lean, mean body. Cat lovers who misunderstood him have called him Cujo, referencing Stephen King’s novel about a rabid dog.
The UPS and FedEx drivers hated him because he kicked into full-on protector mode whenever they had to deliver a package here, hence the rednecky plastic box with the hand-lettered sign at the top of our long driveway. We placed the drop-off box there to save the drivers from Claney’s massive jaw and us from a lawsuit.
Despite his sometimes aggressive traits, he had a mushy heart concerning baby animals. He loved kittens and puppies. He indulged them while they crawled all over his body and nipped at his ears.
He’d give us hugs by leaning his body against our thighs. He was a magnificent animal.
Our vet hooked him up to some IVs and kept him overnight. Last Tuesday morning, Dr. Ward found that he’d slipped away from us.
I loved him since he slinked out of my aunt’s car with his tail between his legs. We love him still. We miss you, Claney.