PodiA Good Dog
Who can find a virtuous dog? He rises early when the birds awake him and the mysterious, foggy morning darkness fades in a faint glow in the east and does his duties. He checks the perimeter for intruders and marks his propertys boundaries. He gazes out across the pond and sees that the ducks are in order.
He finds his ball in the grass and begins to practice his ball-flipping technique, a grin on his face. He notes that Trons truck leaves and knows who is leaving in it. With all checked and in order, he retires to his place in the sun on the deck and waits for his woman to wake up and say, "Hi, Podi."
He loves the children, all children, and every member of his family. With the arrival of each grandchild he realizes this child is his also. He loves garage sales and enticing strangers into throwing his ball. He loves the kindergarten children who take field trips to see his impressive leap into the water. Every visitor is invited to throw his beloved ball. He drops it at their feet and asks with his eyes, "Throw my ball, puleeese?"
He, in his prime, runs and with a mighty leap retrieves his ball from his pond. He goes on command fifteen feet "back" and catches a speeding tennis ball, joy on his face. When you command, "Shake," he gives you a good shower.
His soft loving eyes show love, adoration, distrust, disgust, contempt, questioning, and above all jubilation at being alive and having such a wonderful time. His eyes are his voice as well as his bark that says, "Come here and play with me. I have this wonderful tennis ball!"
He keeps his family company and watches over them as they rake straw, make a garden, play croquet, ride a go-cart and whenever they are outside. He is never very far away, not intruding but ready to join in and always ready to drop his ball nearby or in the middle of whatever they are doing and bark them to throw it for him. He follows whenever they go to visit the Hodges, who are also his family and whose home next door becomes part of his territory.
Even in his final sickness, he keeps the gentle dignity that he had for a lifetime. His wise, soft eyes show endurance of pain and sickness. He licks my hand in gratitude as I keep urging him to drink and telling him not to give up. But none of us can stay forever in this old world, no matter how pleasant life is, and after 14 _ years, I have to let him go wherever good dogs go. I think I will see him again, as heaven would not be perfect for me without him.
We found a virtuous dog. His name was Lo Podi, Danny-baby-talk for roly-poly, which is what he looked like as a new-found puppy. From those days when he adopted us, while he helped us raise two generations of children and.until he looked at us with suffering in his eyes and told us goodbye, he was everything a dog should be. There will never be another Podi and we are glad the angel left him here for us.
Ken and Pat Harris, David and Shelly, DeAnna and Tron, Danny and Christy, and eight grandchildren
Thoughts on Podi
I found Podi one spring morning as I was leaving for work, shortly after Missy disappeared. I saw that the Peebles pit bull dogs had something down on the Alfords lawn. I went to see if they were killing a cat or maybe it could be Missy. It was a roly-poly ball of fur which seemed as if is could contain a dog. I picked him up and took him to the van and drove back to the house. I put him down in the middle of Duke, Gurrrr, White Fang, and Doober and told him, "Stay right here and Ill be back." I intended to return him to his rightful owner. He heard and heeded my words. He stayed right here the rest of his life. And no one claimed him. Since no one would purposely get rid of such a superb dog, I have concluded that Podi was put there by the same angel who rescued me on the Interstate, the Starcraft angel.
He entertained and loved every minute of it. He would sit (reluctantly) while one of the kids would try to trick him as to which direction his ball was thrown. When his eyes were good, he could not be fooled. When it was thrown way out in the pond, he ran and made a spectacular, Olympic-length dive in to the water with a mighty splash. When we pitted him against Scooter and threw the ball a long way into the pond, he pondered a few seconds, and if the ball were neared the other shore, he ran around the end of the pond as Scooter always dived. Podi was not as fast as Scooter, but his thinking ability made him the winner nearly every time. He and Scooter stole each others balls when they went visiting.
He was lying out in the yard a few days ago and I was raking. He sniffed something he wanted to join in. Kerry White and her new husband had a black lab and a tennis ball down on the pond and the lab was diving for the ball. Podi had déjà vu and thought he could outjump Slater. He stumbled to his feet and headed for the pond. Afraid he would try it and drown, I told him, "Podi, you come back. You are an old dog." He looked tiredly at me and with his eyes he said, "I guess youre right." He turned back and sadly went back up into the yard and lay down.
Once when he was a young dog, our angel stepped in and saved him for us again. He had not been "tutored" yet and was running with a bad crowd. We were leaving town to go to market and be gone for days. As we went out of town on Fourth Street, off to the right was a dog that looked just like Podi. I told Kenny, "That has to be Podi." He went back and we called, "Podi", and he came running. We took him home. If we had not on that off chance seen him then, we probably would have never seen him again. This was about the time he got the buckshot in him several places and became gunshy and thundershy. He damaged himself on a fence about that time and had to be repaired by a veteranarian.. Thus, no Podi puppies. I wish he could have made us some Podi juniors.
A few days before he died when he couldnt hear, see, or walk well, he managed to sniff a strange dog and his kids were down on the ditch when it came. He struggled to his feet and hobbled down to the ditch and got between the dog and Callie and Hannah. His job was to watch out for us and he did it till the end. He always followed me when I went to the Hodges and lay at the door till I left and we walked home in the darkness. I told him, "I sure do love you, old Doggie" the last time we walked it. I knew he would not be walking beside me much longer. When we came in from trips, he heard the car and met us and led us into the yard right in front of us, in case we had forgotten how to get home.
He hates the very word, Bath, and all it means. If you want him to be elsewhere, you just say, "Bath, Podi," and suddenly he disappears. He is a good weather forecaster, becoming disturbed by the coming weather before you have any idea a storm is coming. Thunder terrifies him and he wants to get as close to you as he can. If he can, he pushes his way inside the house and you have to fight him out.
Podis Death: When we got in from our three-day visit to Danny in Texas, DeAnna stopped us as we drove in and told us Podi was having trouble walking. He was panting and could not get up. He wouldnt eat or drink. We made him comfortable on his bed and were going to take him to the vet the next day. By morning he seemed better. I fried him his favorite, chicken livers, and he ate them all and four chicken legs boiled. He also drank a lot. I had hopes and did not want to take him for his last few days to the vet which he hated. It scared him to leave his home. I stayed with him all day and nursed him with water from a squeeze bottle. The next morning he was not on his bed. I found him on the other side of the house, much worse. I called the vet but he was out of town for the whole day. I tried to feed him, but he wouldnt eat. While I was on the phone trying to get a vet in this small town, he wobbled down to the ditch which was full of water. He drank and then started walking in the water down the ditch. He tried to get out and fell down with his head just barely out of the water. I stayed by his side crying as I was all alone with him and could not move him. When Kenny came home a while later, we got the little red wagon, loaded Podi on a blanket in it, and pulled him slowly back to his bed on the front porch. He walked 10 feet once more, but could not make it back to his bed again. We helped him back. He was no longer eating but I kept him from being thirsty by dropping water in his mouth from a squeeze bottle. I stayed by his side all night as he got sicker and sicker. He vomited blood. We watched the sun come up for his last time. When morning came I called and this time got the vet. He said we should do a test to see if his kidneys had shut down. He came out and drew blood. But at Podi had a harder and harder time breathing, I saw that it was hopeless and that he was not going to make it. To keep my dear friend from further suffering, I called the vet back and at noon, Wednesday, April 4, Podi was freed from his pain and suffering at the age of 14 _ years.
Kenny made him a casket of redwood, very solid and respectable. The red wagon served as a hearse. We buried him by his beloved pond where I can see his grave from my kitchen sink. We had a short graveside service and buried him at night when Tron got off from work. Kathy and Monroe came.