100: Paying Their Respects

100: Paying Their Respects

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Very Good, Very Bad Dog

Paying Their Respects

Fun fact: In 1896, a veterinarian allowed a friend to bury her dog in his apple orchard in Hartsdale, NY. The Peaceable Kingdom now holds the remains of more than 80,000 pets.

If dogs have been an important part of your family as they have been for my family, then you know some dogs seem to have a special sixth sense about things. While for the most part they try to keep their special gifts to themselves, every now and then they slip up.

That was the case with two of our dogs, Lucky and Lil’ Bit. Lucky was the black sheep of the family, not only in color but also in temperament. She loved to find ways to leave the confines of her indoor living routine, which made her a masterful escape artist. Lil’ Bit, on the other hand, was a near angel of a dog, doing exactly as she was told, never straying, always staying close to home… except when she came under the influence of Lucky, the wandering black sheep.

Whenever the two got out together, they could be seen high-tailing it out of sight and often staying away for hours. More often than not, they’d arrive home near suppertime, covered in mud and leaves and smelling to high heaven from their afternoon jaunt in the woods.

I remember one such occasion when they had once again mysteriously escaped, except this time, they returned clean and no worse for wear. It wasn’t until a few days later that we learned why.

My wife ran into our neighbor Carl, who lived a few houses down from us.

“Saw your two dogs the other day,” Carl said with a smile.

“Oh, yes, I’m so sorry. They had been so good lately, so it was such a surprise when they got out. I sure hope they didn’t cause any trouble,” my wife replied.

“Oh, no, no trouble at all. Did you have any idea where they went?”

“No,” my wife answered.

“They attended my dog’s funeral,” Carl said sadly.

“What?” Ann exclaimed. “Oh, no. I didn’t know Toby had died.”

“Yep, died a couple days ago. I was burying him in the back lot when your two dogs came running up. They sat down not far from me while I finished burying him, then they left.”

“Wow, that’s amazing!” my wife replied. “Toby was Lil’ Bit’s father, you know.”

“No, I didn’t know that,” Carl replied, “but I guess that explains why she felt like she needed to be there. She had to say her final goodbye.”

~W. Bradford Swift

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