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Tiger-too; April 2011

Tiger-too; April 2011

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Published by Kit McDermott
Short tribute to our fire-hearted dog.
Short tribute to our fire-hearted dog.

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Published by: Kit McDermott on Jan 14, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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01/14/2012

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I looked at the floor next to the cabinetnear the stove. It was cleaned and empty.But bereft. Earlier in the morning,it was still a feeding placefor a snaggle-toothed friend namedTiger. (I think my father named him that becausehe was first to see Tiger's fierce heartwhile he was still a fur-ball puppy). Others chuckled when I'd tell them his name, but they never saw this little, lowslung, 17-pounder tear headlong after a 6-point buck, or set to runninga rafter of turkeys, including the toms,as if he was a blood-thirsty puma). There each day, he ate and drank so pickily,always making a greasy mess that'ddrive Tricia crazy (she loved him anyway). Today, my friend's feeding placeis nothing more than a dreary corner;
 
 just the floor next to the stove. * * * * * Later the day of his taking final leave,I looked repeatedly at the space below the right corner below theend of our bed. It was was still cleaned and emptied. Thatmorning it was his sleeping placewhere lately our wizened and ensickening Tiger-Too wouldsleep more and more in the first real bed he'd ever had,curled and warm . . . waiting. * * * * *I remember bringing him home after my mother's death in 2006.We stayed in pet-friendly motels for two nights.He all raggledy-toothed and me all shell-shocked.He hated the elevator and I was sure he'd poop in the lobby! We were both nervous rookies at this. He barely knew me and I him, but when I'd go to bed after a long day's drive together,he'd jump up and sidle close to me, as if he knew of his loss,that his life was changed forever. Or maybe he knew I was the way forward. We shared a rental van heading west from Albuquerque,where he was born, to Simsbury, wherehe'd live until moving to Northampton, where he'ddie 4 years later. We bonded like vagabonds on a fresh journey.
 
* * * * * Today, we were vagabonds on different journey; his wasending, and I would go with him only until he left for good. The vet said he was very sick. We knew it to be true. Today,his time here was winding to stop. In a mere 5 seconds,a paw injection put his heart to rest.We held him gently cradled (he trembling), in my arms,as a dearest friend or relative would be nestled. Soonhe quietly sagged toward the stainless steel table,silently giving up his ghost as the Angel of Death prevailed.It was peaceful and final.He was not alone until crossing"over". We left him. Driving home sadness companioned us. Betweentears and quiet together, we shared how we needed to complete his leaving. Our pain would not allow any lingering of his things, it seemed. So we cleaned and emptied his spaces, loading stuff he "abandoned on the trail"into a black plastic bag and out of sight. Wasn't he out of sight?They were his, but he was no more. Keeping them seemed as if keeping husks. They served his life, not his death. * * * * * Sometime later that sagging, heavy day or maybe another daysoon after, I glimpsed a scene in my head:Tiger was running like he used to toward Bob and Loretta, his first friends.And they loved him. I don't know if I saw the unseen/REAL, or just a maudlin ending to aB-movie. It doesn't matter now, but someday when I leave my feeding and sleeping

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