Carson was diagnosed with a tumor pressing on his esophagus. There may be more. I believe it’s called lymphatic cancer. Nothing can be done, and it’s only a matter of time. I brought him back home Wednesday knowing I’d have to take him back, when I decide too. So that’s today, Friday, at 4:30pm, when I set his spirit free.
Summer 1997 Carson, Washington
It’s been an amazing 11 ½ years. I’m so glad Carson picked me out of a litter of nine. From the spotted puppy wearing a beret and sleeping with a stuffed teddy bear bigger than he was. The watchdog in training who wanted to greet every person that came his way.
1997 Wind River flea market Carson, Washington
Fetching a ball or stick until my arm wore out. And always wagging his tail so hard that his whole body wagged along. The first time he went to the desert and walked from shade bush to shade bush, or sat in my shadow. He’d shiver and run into the bus when the coyotes howled. Or sometimes he’d sit between Dale and I out at the fire. I don’t know who was protecting who. Smart enough to teach himself how to sit up and beg.
2004 Me & Carson Vicksburg, Arizona
Singing with the harmonica, recorder or ocarina, a D dog. Frolicking in the snow, pouncing on snowballs or gingerly carrying them back to me. No, he didn’t always come when he was called. But he did always come eventually. Motsy and he running together, sometimes both carrying the same stick. The adorable nine puppies they produced.
1998 Motsy with 1 day old puppies
Carson’s always been a traveler
“Get in the truck,” and there he’d be sitting in the passenger seat. Or the driver’s seat if it was empty. Nose prints on all truck windows he rode in. Asking to sleep on the bed when I was in it and treating it as his own when I wasn’t. Never chewed anything that wasn’t his. Knew the difference between my bones and his. Only once made a mess in the house and he was sick so couldn’t be faulted. He could hold urine for 12-14 hours, and then pee like a race horse. How he howled and cried when he ran into a pickup truck causing the pancake right rear foot. And when it got cold outside he’d run ever after with a hitch in his giddy up. Only in the last year did he learn to walk semi-nicely on a leash. And that with the help of neighbors and friends who walked him more than I did. So my fault that he’d tug and pull on the leash and one time pulled me to my knees to chase another dog.
2007 Cave Creek campground Oregon
And how he loved to swim and chase sticks in the water. Even trying to pull roots out of banks that were underwater bubbles rising up from his nose. But he’d only go in the water if he could walk into it not jump. And he didn’t like the ocean. How he’d shake and cower during fireworks trying to hide in a space smaller than himself. Bumping his butt on anybody and anything, trying to scratch his g-spot. Looking at me in the mirror to ask permission to go upstairs into the bedroom. Playing fetch side by side with Kaley. Digging a hole in the earth under the trailer, his dog house. Wrapping his rope around trees, poles, stumps, rocks, even clumps of grass and undoing it when I wasn’t home but barking for help when I was. Whacking the empty water or food bowl to just remind me. Rolling in poop and dead things when he was young. Eating huckleberries right off the bush. Meeting a cholla cactus with his nose and patiently letting me pull out the spines.
1999 Atalon Lake, Washington
Chin on couch and sad eyes looking for attention. Laying still and quiet watching the birds. Slowly creeping forward on his belly when told to lie down and stay. Bringing toys to greet visitors at the door. The thump he’d make as he jumped off the bed when I’d come home. The crunch as he chewed on a bone. Barking at every dog that goes by. Stinky farts and “the look” that went with. How he held a pebble in his teeth to scratch his foot, then sit it down purposefully between his feet, wash and pick it up to do it again. How he cocked his head listening. His mixed message of back hair standing up in a stripe while tail wagged.
Those big beautiful soft gentle brown eyes. How he’d jump up and down but not on you. Well maybe your toes. I almost named him Tigger for that jump. All stuffed toys were bears and all toys began with a “b”: bones, balls or bears. A dog treat every morning after his first trip outside. Going to bed before me and getting up after me. Getting stung by bees after digging up a ground nest. He never knew when he got a shot. Does he know he’s dying? Sniffing smoke: cigarette, campfire, diesel, smudge. Breaking his clothes-line rope and staying within his boundaries with two feet of rope dangling from his collar. Light brindled as a puppy, darkening as an adult and lightening back to gray as a senior. Snoring. Letting me wipe his feet. Scratching the door to go in or out. Learning how to lick his lips from Duece, Cyindi’s Rotty. The Vet gave him a shot to calm him and now he’s lying outside half in sun and shade sleeping, peacefully. The unconditional love.
2008 Yarnell, Arizona
Rolling on his back, belly to the sun. Not eating 2 ½-3 days when I’d go away. I got a man in my life so I needed a dog in my life. Carson was around twice as long as the man. Gray brows. Someone to talk to, my companion and partner. Stepping over him and usually missing. Dog hair, my hair. Hair everywhere. It’s so hard. I really don’t want to do this again. My house will be so empty. Circle, circle, circle then lay down. Tripping me with his rope. Little kicks and murmurs when he’s sleeping, maybe dreaming of a big chase. Wearing my old Forest Service belt made into a collar. The yawn talk. Such a good boy. Silky ears. My labby mutt. Little woofers. Snapping at flies, afraid of bees and knowing the difference. Best friend. Bed warmer. Funny boy. Nose bumping my arm to get scratches. Laying touching my feet. Hiking………..
I dug a grave where Carson can watch the birds. I buried him with bears, balls and bones.
His spirit energy simply took on new form within the universe. But oh, how I will miss this simple form of mass covered with silky hair, tail wagging, and those brown eyes staring into my soul.