Emma’s Last Adventure

Beltane                                                Waning Planting Moon

Emma’s excursion yesterday gave her, as things turned out, her last chance to wander on her own, beyond the woods and backyard that have been her home for over fourteen years.  She died last night, in her crate.  It was probably an arrhythmia that did not convert like the one several weeks ago.

Emma has been old for a couple of years.  I mean bow-legged, wobbly old.  Her hearing had diminished and she didn’t eat well.  Dogs though, and Emma was no exception, take their infirmities in stride, as part of the way things are.  Really, are they ever anything else?

We got Emma and her sister Bridgit, dead now three years or so, from a breeder who had sought the perfect whippet.  Through line breeding, sort of the doggy equivalent of incest.  We didn’t know that at the time and were happy to have two new puppies.  Iris and Buck, our last whippet pair at that time, had both died.  We missed them.

As they matured, though, Emma and Bridgit were both peculiar, shy and reclusive.  Emma, for years, and I mean, like 10 years, wouldn’t allow us to come near enough to pet her.  She flinched and ran away.  We’ve had dogs always and many dogs so we could see aberrant behavior and not blame ourselves.  It was just the way they were.

Bridgit left us to live with Jon because he needed a companion.  In that one-to-one situation Bridgit took the turn toward a normal doggy life, running to you when you came and playing.  Emma, though, in a house with sometimes as many 6 dogs, didn’t get there until much later.

Same of my fondest memories of Emma came when she was 5 or 6.  We had a bad storm that toppled a basswood, a giant maybe 60 feet high.  The trunk lay where it fell and it happened to land with a clear path on its side to the sun.  Emma took to running up that trunk and standing, head erect and surveying the property, maybe 10 feet off the ground.  She looked grand.

The Wolfhound deaths, and I’ve seen 8, are wrenching, difficult because they die between 5 and 8 years old, in what seems like their prime.  Emma’s, and Iris’s too, are different.  These are deaths of old age, a life run its course.  I’m sad, of course, but not heart broken.

Em was a regal and quiet dog, who kept her own counsel and lived life as she wanted.  Would most of us could say the same.

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