Bad picture, good dog


This is, I think, the tenth picture of Marlon that I have used in Classical Gasbag. It is certainly not the best I have ever taken of him; he decided to move at the last moment. The ninth picture was less than a week ago. This is likely to be the last photo of him that I will post.

I mentioned last week that Marlon wasn’t feeling well. What I didn’t mention was that he had cancer. I’m using the past tense because yesterday Marlon was, as they say, put to sleep.

Just days ago the prognosis was that he might live until Thanksgiving. Yesterday morning it was that he might live through the weekend. Cindy and I went to the veterinary hospital to be with the Marlon, Trina and the rest of the family. It was sad.

I just started to write that it was like visiting a dear family member who was dying. But it wasn’t “like” that. Marlon was a dear member of the family. I’m not one given to sentimentality, but I found that I had to put on my stoic face yesterday, or give in to the despondency that I was feeling.

I can hear Cindy say when she reads that last sentence, “Give in, it’s natural, you should let your feelings show.” That’s not the way I was raised, and it works for me.

But back to Marlon. As the day went on he became visibly more tired and more in pain. He couldn’t get comfortable. The last few times, he struggled just to stand up. For me, that hurt the most because he was normally such a frisky dog.

I know that his death is painful for Cindy and me. It’s hard to imagine how hard it must be for Trina, JR, and the kids. That must be a truly sad household this morning.

As the years go by I’ll be remembering all of the love that Marlon shared with us. ┬áBecause if animals have personalities, Marlon was a lover…unless you were a another dog, a cat, or a squirrel that wandered into the yard.

If you’re asking why I chose to use such a bad picture of Marlon, my answer is simple. It was the last picture I took in which he looks truly happy. I’m pretty sure it was because I had been slicing ham and he smelled it on my hand. That’s also the reason he moved as I was taking the picture; he wanted a good lick. That was Marlon.