Diesel is Home

Today I cleaned off the glass door which leads outside. It was covered with Diesel’s paw prints and smudged by his nose and tongue prints, the signs of a dog desperate to be on whatever side of the glass we were on, always wanting to be near his friends. As I cleaned off those prints I was struck by the thought that I was wiping away his prints for the last time. Then I glanced to my left and there on the table sat his ashes and a copy of his paw prints; one of the left, and one of the right. Typically the vet’s office only does one paw, but Ron and I disagreed on which paw they should print. I wanted his left and Ron his right. The kind veterinarian said he would do both. This may seem like a ridiculous disagreement about which paw to print but his paw prints were very unique, each telling a story of who he was. The left had only 3 toes, the scar he wore from that toe being removed just months ago due to bone cancer. His right paw was totally intact. Each one is perfect in it’s own way. 

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Diesel was a hands (or paws) on dog. If you petted him (which he demanded) he had to touch you back. No one got a calm greeting by Diesel, but rather an enthusiastic touch, lick, and in-your-face meet and greet. His touch was not light, after all he weighed nearly one hundred pounds, and rested all his weight on your lap or arms, making it nearly impossible to give back the touch he so enthusiastically sought. It was just his way of loving you. If you didn’t like animals Diesel was not the dog you wanted to meet. He could be downright frightening with his size and enthusiasm charging full speed ahead straight toward you. If you loved dogs you noticed his tail wagging with love as he approached, and you knew he was not to be feared. But you had better not mind a wet kiss, a heavy paw, a deep look into your eyes, an affectionate nudge, and a lot of fur left behind on your clothing.

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Diesel bonded with everyone, but he and my husband Ron had a special attachment. Diesel would lay in the driveway while Ron was working in the garage, keeping a close watch on everything going on around him, yet one eye on Ron at all times, always the protector. One hot Phoenix day Diesel was in the garage (in the shade) with Ron when the UPS truck pulled up. Diesel jumped up and headed full speed ahead toward the truck and driver. Delivery people tend to be really terrified of dogs, and we were concerned how the driver was going to respond, but Diesel was well on his way by the time Ron could call him back. The driver froze in his steps and looked at the dog, then at Ron, then again at the dog. What happened next left us all laughing hysterically. Diesel ran right past the driver, paying no attention to him at all, and with a leap and bound landed right inside the air conditioned truck settling in on the cool floor.

I have endless stories and fond memories of our beloved Diesel. He was a lover, a survivor, a protector, and always a friend. Ron rescued him at about ten months old; large, untrained, strong and a little scary to me, yet eager to please and quick to learn. Diesel watched closely over all the kids, but especially Melissa who often was on the floor stretching and moving about. He tolerated all her attempts to try to get him to bark (because that made her laugh). He protected her and embraced her, especially when therapists were in our home. 

While Diesel protected and loved us, he never gave up his own fight for survival. He wore a bullet in his hip for 11 years, something we assume he got while living in the rural desert before we met him. He had arthritis which only slightly slowed him down and survived three different types of cancer and surgeries to remove them. He was my hiking buddy until his paws could no longer stand the rough ground of the desert, and he spent hours comforting the many wounds of his human friends. He was by my son’s side when he came home from the hospital recovering from two shattered lower legs. He lay by my bed when I recovered from various surgeries and always notified me of any (perceived) dangers, such as the UPS and pizza delivery folks, Jehovah Witnesses at the door, or girl scouts selling cookies. He lay by Zach when he returned from surgery this past summer, and right by Ron’s side when he was recovering from surgery for the rod he had placed in his broken leg, always by his side as he built back his strength. He often walked the labyrinth with me, typically leaving before me and keeping a watchful eye from a distance until I finished. I felt his presence with me in the labyrinth yesterday as I walked, and it brought me peace. Our other dog, Gypsy walked with me too for the first time since Diesel physically left us. She must have felt his presence also. I cannot recall anything about Diesel that does not bring a smile to my face.

When I got the call yesterday that his ashes were ready to be picked up. I could not bring myself to get them, so I called Ron to see if he would be able to pick them up on his motorcycle. Later, I asked him if it was difficult to go there and get them, and his response was, “No, not at all. Diesel is home with us now.” We have his ashes, both his paw prints, and two small clips of his fur. He is back home with us now, and he remains with love in our hearts forever.

Trying to Express, with love and gratitude for the gift of love from a true friend!

 

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4 Responses

  1. A beautiful tribute which I hope brings gradual peace. He will always be with you and you will meet again, I believe….

  2. dear pam, i feel your love, your sorrow, your soul as you write of your beloved pet. keep sharing please, you touch our hearts with every word and every tear. oxox lynn we had a dog named gypsy years ago too.

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