Our beautiful Big Dog died today. Mrs Chook held him in her arms and I stroked his head and told him he was a ripper dog, and Terry the Vet sent him on his way. I thought Terry would be used to these events, but he cried and I had to hold his hand.
We brought Big Dog home and buried him under the mango tree where he had his favourite sandy hole. Yesterday he watched as we dug his grave and I didn’t think that was very good for him, but there was a thunderstorm at the time and he always had to be practically in our laps whenever there was thunder so there was no dissuading him. Then we thought he might fall in it when we weren’t watching which would have been too darkly farcical for us to cope with, so we filled it up with garden chairs.
He was the first dog I’ve ever had who was really mine and he always let me hug him, which Mrs Chook said he did only under sufferance and because he loved me. Until he got too big he slept on my bed, and when he was very young, he travelled the house draped around my neck.
He is probably the only dog to have been allowed into the Woomera Detention Centre, when we visited refugees incarcerated there. You’ve got a bloody dog, the guards said, he can stay in the office it’s too hot outside, but the little children were outside, behind the razor wire, barefoot on hot sand because there was no grass for them to play on.
Mrs Chook taught him to find koalas for her, and not to chase any living creature. Once a parrot flew into his mouth and he just stood there while I took it out and let it go. He never bit anything or anyone, never tried to hump your leg, and never rolled in dead things. Once he jumped out of the window of a moving car trying to get at his arch-enemy, a boxer dog who was walking with his owner down the street. When they came face to face, they just growled at each other. Children crawled all over him and he never got fed up with them. When we took him to obedience classes he was a star, except when Mrs Chook was his handler and then he wouldn’t do anything. This pissed her off mightily especially when the trainer told her she was useless at it and to give him back to me. It’s usually me who is useless at such things, but Big Dog made me a star as well.
The last five months have been full of loss and grief for me, and I think of the Dylan line, When you think that you lost everything you find out you can always lose a little more.
Bye bye Big Dog. You were the best dog ever and I loved you.