Some question has arisen concerning who is who in the picture that runs with my column (or is that who is whom?) Well the better looking guy on the right is my dog Sit and the fellow wearing the hat is me.
Now if you are not a dog lover, you can stop right here and go talk to your parakeet or pet your cat. I like cats and parakeets, but today I am writing an overdue eulogy to Sit Dog, who was a loving companion to my wife and me for 15 years.
My wife was a fastidious housekeeper and had told me that she never wanted an inside dog. ?But when Sit showed up on a cold January day, she immediately granted him a space in front of the fireplace. I discovered very quickly that she had been a closet dog lover all along. I think maybe dogs can smell love because Sit always ran to my wife, Iona, when I scolded him.
Soon after he because our house guest, he was frolicking outside during an electric storm when lightening struck a tree near him, and he was ever after terrified of lightening. Not normally allowed in our bedroom or the main part of the house, he came uninvited during electrical storms. Not content to sit by the bed while Iona petted him, he felt more secure in the bed between us. Imagine my consternation when I woke one night during a storm and found Sit comfortably asleep between us. To add insult to injury, I got the chore of washing all the bed covers the next morning.
In my childhood, I was never without two or more dogs, but I believe that Sit was far ahead of your usual dog in intelligence. He was the easiest dog I ever saw to train. When I once pretended to growl at him, he growled right back, and my daughter contended that he had taught me a trick. Anyway, he loved to growl and snarl on cue, and he expected to be petted for his performance. A car once injured his front leg, and he could do no wrong during his recovery period. After that he would walk on three legs when scolded.
He figured out that putting a suitcase in the car meant we were going somewhere and he stayed right with the car so he could hop in as soon as a door was opened. I once packed a storm kit in a suitcase and put it in the car’s trunk. Poor Sit sat by the car for the rest of the day. We soon built him a little adjunct house at the backdoor where he could come and go at will. He caught a half-grown possum and made the possum his own pet.
When Iona discovered that Sit had his own pet possum, she was amazed but not really pleased. She made me lock Sit in the car and take the possum into the woods, but the lonely possum soon came back to be with his buddy. Iona’s love and toleration did not extend quite to possums, so I finally had to take the possum across the county line and drop him.
We took Sit with us to visit my son in Arkansas who had a lovely but quite shy sheep dog. My son’s dog was a picky eater and had a full bowl of dry dog food, which she disdained to eat until Sit found it and snarfed most of it in a couple of bites. My son’s dog rushed at Sit in outrage, but he never fought back because we had taught him never to fight other dogs without our permission.
Sit was a gentle fellow who always seemed to want to please. He was happy with any agenda we chose as long as he was allowed to be a part of it. He enriched our lives for 15 years, and he taught us a great deal about love and loyalty.
To us dog lovers, the question is not, “Will there be dogs in heaven?’ but more like, “How could there be a heaven without dogs?”
TOBY HIGHTOWER is a retired educator and former Hopkinsville High School teacher. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Write to him at 222 S. 25th St., Apartment 434, Terre Haute, IN. 47803.