First off, Fuck 2020. Can’t say it any more forcefully than that. I’m writing this from my friend’s house where I’m temporarily boarding my new horse, while the three kids are doing schoolwork and three adults are on work calls. Secondly, I really, deeply appreciate everyone’s heartfelt comments and thoughts. Seeing point one, I know it’s so hard to keep caring, to keep reaching out when left right and center is filled with loss, confusion and chaos, but so many have thought of us and every message helps a tiny bit.
Cyrus was the best damn dog, and the only regret I have is he wasn’t with us longer. He had a damn good life with us, and I treasure every extra moment this pandemic handed us. I was lucky to be able to work from home since March, with him snoring away behind me. As a friend who reached out me put it, they leave a hole behind we learn to walk around, but it’s never really filled. There is a small bit of grace in that he didn’t suffer, from what we can tell he just quietly slipped away.
To help my son over the initial hard shock of the news, we all shared our favorite memories and watched videos of him. Mine include his quirk of sticking his head in the bath while the kid was showering and licking the shower curtain, which never failed to cause giggling fits. I loved and deeply appreciated what an ambassador for his breed and show background he was; people would stop driving by to tell us how handsome he was. I never hesitated taking him on any trip or adventure, knowing he was always game, always safe to bring along. He shared my cot or hammock on many a camping adventure, charming everyone nearby out of a bite of their sandwich by quietly, intensely staring at them. We were able to share so many of those special moments as only dogs can, from trail rides to camping trips to epic road trips. He even won over my dog leery father in law with his calm and dignified bearing.
He was so solid around the many horses I’ve been able to ride over the years, always following right on their heels. Even when I had lessons, he’d still be walking along behind me, laps and circles and poles. He was welcomed at pretty much every barn, and didn’t get upset when one of my trainer’s puppies just decided to constantly bark at him for no clear reason. He was forever frenemies with my best friend’s dog and yet so careful with every other dog he ever met. Meeting other boxers was his favorite, bringing out the playful zoomies.
There was no one better at cuddles, even though sometimes he thought that meant “completely cover the human head to toe”. He almost never barked, unless you came in through the “wrong door”, aka the garage door. He spread his love and his dinner quite widely, which I could never determine was better or worse to deal with than a fuzzy breed like my mom’s Huskies. He was Tom’s most loyal BBQ taste tester, though his tips for improving the recipes weren’t very coherent. His farts, especially post Tom’s ribs, would chase me from my office. His snoring was glorious and epic, and watching him chase squirrels in his sleep was a time honored past time.
Cyrus hated wearing coats, even though he got cold during late winter visits to the barn. Thankfully he never cottoned on to the joy of hoof trimmings, though he loved sampling some horse poop. We racked up several mileage medals together when I was working to get fit for the surrogacy, his gait was perfect for jogging just a bit ahead of me, keeping me motoring forward. Being on a leash was undignified, though he put up with them for my sake. Playing soccer with his boy was thrilling, though we went through several popped soccer balls. Once, when I dragged Kade and his best friend Naomi up to the PCT to do some trail work, he slept right in the middle of the trail while we cut branches and hauled brush. A few times a month, he’d ditch his normal bed in our room and sleep with the kid, taking up over half his bed. We used to have a well loved blue recliner, and he and Kade were locked into a silent battle for control over it until we got our new sectional. He didn’t enjoy the kiddie pool I got him for hot days, but he loved baths.
He was our best friend, our Damn Good Dog, and we miss him.