My dog had cancer. In the last months of his life, the cartilage between his nose and the bone behind it got chewed away, followed by the skin of his nose, followed by his thyroid glands. He grew tumors that reached the size of a football. His hips went crooked. My dog’s body was destroyed and eaten alive by cancer.
Before my dog had cancer, he was fat. He was thick and big-bellied, and his body resembled a sausage. We called him “Sausage Dog.” He was eldery, lazy, losing his hearing, but happy. He liked pork, steak, sardines off the grill, corn on the cob, peanut butter, entire loafs of bread, chocolate, cat poo — you know, basically everything a dog could want. When he was young, he once ate five pounds of Easter candy, with no negative side affects. He was a fat, happy dog.
My dog was smart. He knew the difference between shake and gimme your paw, and he knew that gimme the other one meant to switch which paw he was shaking. He knew to sit, to lay down, to roll over, to come in English and in Portuguese. He knew speak and speak up and Manly Dog! He knew how to play fetch and keep away, and he knew how to ignore the command to drop it.
It’s been almost two weeks since my dog became something not my dog, since his canine soul was severed from his mortal, cancer-ridden body. It’s been almost two weeks since the cancer closed his airways enough that it was too much effort for him to breathe and eat at the same time. It’s been almost two weeks that this house has been missing its dog.
So here’s to my dog. He was smart and gentle, in the way the best dogs are. He howled along with the fire sirens, he loved to be around children, and his best friend was my neighbor Carl. He was afraid of smokers and men with hats, and sometimes bearded men, too. He liked bread and cake and the ever-guarded chocolate, as well as whole corn cobs and fish with the bones still in. He liked walking a lot, but not too far; he couldn’t hike at all. He got jealous whenever anyone hugged my dad.
My dog was a good dog.
He was the best dog.