Saturday, February 21, 2009
Ode to Tequila
Tequila, although a very fine drink, despite its wormy associations, is--was-- my dog. He is--was (I'm working on it)-- a chi-dachshund mix of questionable pedigree purchased by The Man 14 years ago to woo me into matrimony and into the sack.
I took the dog, married The Man. (The dog was the best part of the deal.)
My grandfather, sweet ornery man, named Tequila sight unseen. The name fit.
Two days before Valentines Day, The Man took me to the shelter to get a kitten, and we were immediately barked at by a scraggly 7 pound tan dog with a tacky numbered sticker plastered to his back that was determined to get our attention.
The pound personnel all lauded how sweet he was, how loving, and when they let him out, he flew at me like I was his only chance at salvation. I probably was. The next day was d-day and a one way trip to the doggy after life.
We now know the shelter people lied. Okay, perhaps lied was too strong a word. They told half truths.
He was loving--if he liked you or you had food.
He was sweet--when you had something he wanted.
He was loyal--to me. But that's okay. Despite some early threats of death, dismemberment, and a new home, we eventually settled into the lifestyle Tequila wanted us to have. In other words, we doted on him paw and foot.
Tequila quickly set himself up as Alpha male-- routinely biting The Man's pronounced proboscis and shatting whenever he and The Man fought. By shat, I mean prodigious amount of scat splattered on any substance or person too slow to move out of the way when Tequila became enraged and indignant.
He never worried about repercussions. The Man and I were new in our relationship, and my tears worked well. His threats were empty and Tequila knew it somewhere in the depths of his doggy heart.
He asserted his Alpha dog status by kicking The Man out of the bed. I would fall asleep with the warm 10 pound bundle curled sweetly to my side and awaken to The Man yelling at said dog to "Get the hell off my side of the bed!" and "Don't you growl at me!"
We survive snake bites and living in the country where Tequila was eyed by more than a few raccoons looking for a love bunny. Fortunately, Tequila asserted his stance that he was no ones prison love buddy.
Tequila acted as birth control by hopping on the bed and passing Dog Chow gas while The Man was trying to get his groove on. Nothing like the smell of dog butt and a wife with uncontrollable giggles gasping for air to dampen your libido.
When Tequila finally slept through marital consummation, and my resulting pregnancy ended in miscarriage, my dog let me hold him to me like my lost baby while I wept.
When I was lost in a fog of grief for the following year, he followed to insure that I would find my way back. Or that we'd be lost together, since his sense of direction was a bit lacking.
Wherever I went, be it Hell or the backyard, Tequila was certain to be trailing behind, making sure I never walked alone.
When I was pregnant with the first heathen, Tequila would sleep around my burgeoning belly. Until said child kicked him hard enough to startle him awake, and with a yelp and some canine grumblings, he started sleeping near my backside. Brave dog, sleeping near a pregnant woman's rear when she was craving Taco Beuno's bean burritos. The dog was nothing if not loyal to survive that.
When Bug came into the world, followed by Boo and later Punk, Tequila looked askance at me for bringing new puppies into his house and then took it with style and panache. He accepted his new diminished role on the totem pole and simply patiently waited until said children were eating solid food. Amend that: until they were throwing solid food. Then he would follow them around, faithful as Lassie, to steal a cookie from their grubby hands.
Tequila answered when the mood struck him (when the heathens had something he wanted) to various of Tequila--including, Keela, Keekee, and Hey you!
When we adopted the new rat dog, Saki, Tequila took to him like a mama duck and led our one eyed, mentally challenged rodent size pet around.
When my father died, Tequila let me sob into his fur. I know he mourned the loss as well, since Daddy was his second favorite person in the world.
As old age crept up, Tequila lost his hearing and eyesight, but could still miraculously spot me from a mile away and hear me calling him in a hailstorm.
As cancer crept up and robbed him of good health, he maintained a cheery nature of a tried and true ankle biter.
Last week, I looked at him and knew. It was time. I would have to send him ahead to wait for me.
As hard as the decision was to make, it was time. Keeping him with me, knowing he was in pain and tired, was a decision made solely out of my selfish need to cling to him, to cling to a reminder of a time when I was young and life was easier.
Looking at Tequila, I am greeted with a friendly reminder of the woman-child I used to be.
I am reminded of the new fledgling love I felt for The Man before time, tide, and babies hardened into a thing of beauty with a core of steel.
I am reminded of who I once was and the dreams I held then.
He had been a true and faithful friend, a funny companion, and a com padre in my campaign to drive The Man crazy.
He was one of the four best gifts I have ever received--running close behind my blessed heathens. Some days, he led them in the race for my affections.
So today, I will take him into the vet, and I will walk out with empty arms, a sad heart, and the knowledge that I was the last face he ever saw, the last arms that ever held him, and that he knew he was loved.
Tequila Booger Bear came into my life as a pound rescue on February 14, 1995 and left it a richer place on February 21, 2009. Blessed be, Booger. I'll miss you.