On Tuesday we buried our dear Caspar, down along the fence line next to Miss Roo, whose grave is now covered with Meadow Rue. What will we plant to remember this wonderful companion who has given us so much joy these last fifteen years?
Lately he spent much of his time sleeping, as many elderly gentlemen are wont to do. His little boney spine reminded us that quite possibly he was suffering arthritic pain, and sometimes his back legs collapsed under him. He was blind and deaf, so that we were careful not to move anything out of its accustomed place. He gave up begging for treats, sitting up ramrod straight and waving his paws in the air, all eagerness and happy anticipation. When Dot, the dispenser of biccies, came for coffee in the morning he often slept through her visit, and when Frank cut the Thanksgiving Turkey there was no little dog at his feet, impatiently awaiting whatever might drop to the floor or be handed down surreptitiously.
He hadn't bitten our grandson's toes for some years, and the toys he used to run for and retrieve sat in their basket, forlorn and lonely for his attention. Life had lost its glow.....
As his needs grew I spent more time with him, - very aware of his bladder, walking him half a dozen times a day, with our first outside visit at five a.m. and the last at bedtime. We learned to move quietly and not to make any sudden noises that seemed to startle and frighten him. And now our freedom from these concerns are little darts that remind us he has left us.....
A few years ago we stopped taking him with us when we were out in the car, as he whined and was uncomfortable, but for all the rest of his life he was Charles' companion in the truck, - his little paws up on the dash, watching the road and any stray animals along the side that merited his barking attention. Charles built a little platform behind the back window of the truck, inside the canopy, at just the right height to sit in the Commodore's Chair and direct operations through the open sliding window.
We have always loved dogs, and never been without their loving companionship, but they were outside farm dogs. Charles had a special relationship with Candy, his precious Border Collie partner and keeper of the sheep, but we had never had a small, indoor dog before, and I had misgivings when Charles brought him home, - the runt of the litter who had not sold and was beginning to challenge his father's authority!