Sunday, April 25, 2010

Rusty the Rugdog

I have one of the greatest dogs in the world. Probably just like your dog, who is also The Greatest Dog in the World. Perhaps my dog has been The Greatest Dog in the World a tad longer, because he is 13 and a half years old. Rusty is a Golden Retriever, which are The Greatest Dogs in the World. He’s not of superior bloodline, but he is AKC. His tuft of white hair on his chest is probably too big, and he has a white spot on his paw. A judge would find that a fault, but I rather like the dog.

Rusty spent his early years living outside within a white picket fence, which he climbed regularly. One time, he left for about a week. I honestly think he found someone he wanted to live with more than us. It must have been a brother from another mother, or something. I could see this kind of devotion to a female. I don’t know if Rusty was hanging around waiting for the friend to go in heat, or what. Maybe he was having a bi-curious moment and he wanted to experiment. His wild oat crop was abandoned suddenly when the other dog’s owner responded to our ad in the paper. He said a dog matching the description of Rusty had been hanging out at his house for awhile. We retrieved the retriever and he didn’t wander that far again. In his wanderings over the years, he was shot with a pellet, and an across the street neighbor deliberately chased him into a car’s path. He survived it all.

About 6 years ago, Rusty became an inside dog. He was slowing down because of middle age. We had several female Golden’s before and concurrently with Rusty, and he has outlived them all. How, I’m not quite sure, because I have definitely tried to kill him accidentally more than once. Now that the compulsion to imitate a female dog was out of his system, he needed a new hobby. He settled on “Pretend to Be a Rug.” We evidently need lots of rugs, because Rusty demonstrates locations all over the house--in front of the door, between the dining room table and the sliding glass door, in the bedroom doorway, in the walkway between the couch and chair. He is comfortable in his rug emulation, and he trusts us completely to treat him as the rug you actually don’t step on.

Not too long ago, I purchased a new computer and gave my mother-in-law my dinosaur Dell. I carried the pieces one-by-one out of the bedroom to the bar so that they could be loaded into her truck, first the CPU, then the monitor. The monitor was quite impressive in its day. It is 19”, and the size of a television of the same measurement. When something this large is carried, one cannot see her feet. Rusty was rugging it in the bedroom doorway, and I forgot that five minutes prior he was laying there. I tripped over the dog with this heavy monitor in my arms and thought for a moment (this was all going in slow motion) that I would drop it and kill my dog. Not pleased with this thought, I tucked the monitor into my body. I think I heard my husband yelling “The Dog! The Dog! The Dog!” I managed to alter my course in mid-air and landed on a knee with the monitor still in my clutches. The monitor and I hit the floor kind of sideways. On my way down, my chin thought it would be a good idea to bounce off the monitor. I think I made some kind of grunting sound similar to that of someone falling to the ground from a considerable height. My husband and my father-in-law were at my side immediately trying to get me off the carpet. I was too embarrassed to accept their help graciously. I couldn’t even look at them. I asked for a little space in unkind words and clicked my joints back into place, gradually getting up.

I looked at the dog. He looked at me out of the corner of his eye like I had disturbed him from a really nice nap where he was chasing rabbits through a sunny meadow. I put my hand on my forehead and said, “Wow. I almost killed my dog.”

I’m pretty sure my brain sloshed around in my skull. My forehead hurt although I didn’t hit it. I’ve not been the same since. I even had a round of physical therapy last year for my neck. But my rugdog is OK! I wouldn’t have it any other way. We pull a muscle and break a toe here and there stepping around Rusty, but because he brings so much joy to our lives it’s more than worth it.

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