I had a dog named Pete who was the best dog in the world. Pete and I went everywhere. His mom was a springer spaniel and his dad was a one night stand. He looked like a rot but had the body of a spaniel. Pete got hit by a car when he jumped out of my lap in the car we were in and survived. I think a Pulitzer Prize photo was missed in 1992 as me, a 10 year old Boy Scout, short shorts, merit badge sash and all, ran back from my moms parked car to pick up my lifeless dog only to walk back holding Pete, bloody head and all, down the street in the cup of my arms, to take him to the hospital. He survived brain surgery for 1400. Pete was the Houdini of the animal world; able to get out of any dog cage built for canine/elephants/whatever and could open a fridge, a sliding glass door, a gate, any type of garbage can and a plethora of other locks and doors. He ran away, often, and came back, most of the time. He once ran away, then got picked up by a dog lover who posted signs, and then ran away from them, and then got caught by the dog police and we did not see him for 2 months. One last ditch effort i walked around the largest dog pound holding 560 cells in the southern part of Vegas. It was a square block with dogs looking at me on both sides. And sure enough, the very very very last cell, there was Pete, curled in a ball, accompanied by his least favorite relative in the dog world; the shitzu. By the handle a sign was posted, “Mutt to be exterminated 5/11…No owners came for him” . The date as I stood there was 5/12. “Pete” I whispered. His head lifted and turned and the nub of his spaniel tail moved three times. He had grown old in those two months in the slammer. His wisdom serving hard time was shown with the greying of his whiskers. He lifted his paw to the the cage to meet my hand as I was kneeling. I could not believe it and I cried. “150 dollars” the dog policeman barked as I told her my Pete was to be set free. The person who was supposed to put Pete under was sick the day before. As Pete’s life went, I would have expected no different. We walked out to my 1985 Jeep and it was like nothing happened. Pete’s nub tail shook his body in excitement as we approached the jeep and I said, “Dammit Pete, get in the car” like an old friend. I put on his driving glasses and we were off.
Pete was put to sleep 3 years ago this month. I spoke my last words to him over a phone before he was taken to the doggy hospital by my parents who could not watch him suffer throat cancer any more. The doc said the best thing, “If you can think of the best 5 things your dog loved to do and he doesn’t love to do them anymore, it is their time to go”. Thanks for reading about Pete. He had a friend named Maggie, a big black lab. But that is another story.