My Sweet Keely
I peruse her picture on my laptop screensaver like that of a lost love, sometimes for moments. I recall so many nice, enjoyable, fun moments with her. I miss her bony, round noggin, and her flappy jowls, and her itchy ears. She had the sweetest spirit, was always happy to be petted, and eager for more. She was far more than a friend. She was a weird companion, an odd doggie dufus that made me smile, made me happy. She was a wonderful one-of-us, and now, she's gone.
I’ve lamented her species’ inability to speak English more times than I can count. Of course, her being able to vocalize her thoughts is a little scary. I take for granted that whatever she’d say to me would be in accord with maintaining my good mien. Not too likely, though.
Realistically, she’d lose her vocal virginity conveying subtle hints about her care, emphasizing why she deserved more chow at mealtime, and why she should get snacks whenever she wants them. But, life is not that idyllic, my sweet Keely, so it’s just as well that we avoided that discussion. What remains, for me, is an overall pleasant recollection of how well we interacted.
It's easier, anyway, for me to simply fantasize Keely actually talking, saying “Huh” or “Uh” or, even, “Duh”, or another appropriate expression to match her goofy facial expressions, those sweet and loving looks she called her own.
A Bit About Keely
Keely was perfect for me for a variety of reasons, all of which remained true until she died, at 10 years old, long before she deserved to. My daughter and I adopted Keely when she was 5 years old through FOCAS, a wonderful pet- adoption group that I think I’ll be visiting again later this year.
Keely had two homes before us. I wanted her to always feel safe with us, to know that we were finally her permanent home, and she could plan on staying, and settle down. And, she did, often, in a few of her favorite spots.
She was the most casual dog I’ve ever known. Not just owned, but met or seen or even heard about. You’d not expect to see her hurry unless there was food involved. She would also execute a pretty good, pedal-to-the-medal run when her target was me or my daughter. She was genuinely happy to see us calling her to us, to be welcomed with open arms. That was really nice.
To the contrary, if it was time to go back inside after checking the K9 p-mail or blowing out the bowels, she responded immediately only when it was really cold outside. Her usual routine involved taking a few more minutes to smell the roses before, finally, ambling back inside to crash somewhere. Keely was just a real easy-going kinda gal that moved to her own clock. I’m convinced that she was more complex than we realized.
My daughter referred to it as “selective listening”. Keely was smart enough to understand, but chose to do so utilizing a different sense of time. I used to wonder if, maybe, she didn’t understand my prompts, didn’t get what I wanted. I’ve decided that she knew exactly what she was doing, and did so when it pleased her.
Keely's lack of attention was usually good for many eye-roll-and-grin moments. Her casual attitude simply augmented her goof-aspect. Keely was, in her bones, an honest-to-dog sweetheart, and her goofiness made her seem even sweeter. Honestly, though, she really was.
Dogs Are People, Too
I’m sure all of us lost-pet-parents truly appreciate our “kids” as something special. There is an obvious-to-us, exceptional characteristic to every one of them. Each had a personality that, if you cared enough to really, really become familiar with, became evident and, usually, endearing. There is so much more to discover about animal psychology and K9 emotions.
Dogs are the only species of mammal to choose humans as good buddies. That may even be their greatest foible. Anyway, I’m sure there are folks who would choose a dog as a best friend over some humans. Once you bond with a good dog, they are always happy to see you and will unfailingly vanquish all bad feelings from any lousy day, at least for a while. And they do it without expectation, although they do readily accept treats. “Will mend for treats” could be their motto. Truth is, they’ll mend you anyway.
Remembering how Keely would approach when I’d come through the door makes me smile inside now, as it did then. Receiving her positive acknowledgement was incredibly powerful and satisfying, and therapeutic. Man, I do miss that. Her personality was as unique as any extended family member who made up the whole. She was part of a unit, she’s no longer there, and her absence is tenderly obvious.
May Dog Be With You for a Happier, Healthier Life
There are bomb-sniffing dogs, drug-sniffing dogs, performing dogs, alert dogs, guard dogs, search-and-rescue dogs, therapy dogs, companion dogs, military and police dogs and, of course, the family pet dog. That’s one heck of a variety of professional behaviors, and I’m sure I’ve neglected to mention some. Those painted velvet pictures of dogs playing poker really do hint at the truth; the amazing potential possessed by dogs should be respected. If nurtured, dogs will continue doing as they have all along, and that will gift to us all manner of good and satisfying feelings.
Many dogs epitomize the sense of family. They are, beyond any doubt, active members of an immediate clan. They may not have the vote but they are one with the constituency. They are always considered and never forgotten. They might, on occasion, be ignored for a bit, especially if you’re busy or asleep. But, you know they wouldn’t be bugging you if you had just installed that damn doggie-door! You didn't, and now you pay for your fault by accompanying your K9 on pee patrol.
For the most part, it’s a joy when they come right up to you. Not if you’re cooking or fumbling with something, but most other times. They just want to say “I love you”. OK, it's just as likely that they need help doing something or need something from you. Well, we owe them at least that much. We get so much more from them.
Sure, we’ll receive affection from pets in the future, should we decide again to augment our family. But, there will be variations and we may not feel the love in the same way, maybe not even like we hoped. Different pups and different personalities guarantee different deliveries, aside from fortunate coincidences for some.
I miss her personal nuances, her peculiar ways and means, her attitudes and affectations, and how they all made up a special, lovable version of “her”.
My goofy Keely, you were such a beautiful sweetheart. I hope some good spirit appreciates you. I was lucky for a while to be chosen by you, and I'll never forget it. I'm not alone in that.
From now on, Sweetie, relax all you want.