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|Family Matters Mar/Apr - Page 2|
I hoisted the dog's body over the hole, and lowered it gently. I stomped the shovel into the pile of dirt and tossed the first shovelful into the grave, then the next, and the next. When I'd finished, Dad sang the Hebrew kaddish beautifully and soulfully, and we went home.
Years passed. Jennifer and I married, we had our son, Alex, and then we got Snowball. He was an all-white German shepherd (not an albino). There was something spiritual and almost preternatural about him. I thought he was gay, but Jennifer thought he was wise and an "old soul." He was mostly quiet and gentle, though one time he pounced on an elderly cat and dispatched it by breaking its back with a shake of his jaws.
He grew old with us. When the time came, we called our mobile vet, the aptly named Dr. Blood, who made housecalls for humane euthanasia. We'd already given Snowball some Valium when Gary arrived. He gave the dog an injection of another relaxant, and then prepared his needle with the stuff that would stop Snowball's heart. We held our breaths and watched as he gently injected it. He pressed the plunger all the way in and withdrew the needle. Snowball lay there. His eyes closed, and he stopped moving. He appeared to be gone. Just then, he lifted his head. He got an enormous erection. It was pink and wet. He licked himself, twice, and shuddered. He laid his head back down, sighed, and then died.
All was silent. Then Jennifer spoke: "He's a Hoyt!" Everyone laughed, and we carried him in a blanket out the bedroom door, around the house, and down to the creek-bed, where the grave I'd dug was waiting for him.
Last week, Ranger got hit by a car and killed. We were away in Portland, visiting Alex to celebrate his 21st birthday. Often called "Mr. Gorgeous" because of his movie-star looks, Ranger had gotten away from the housesitter, run around loose for a day, and then got hit. Jennifer and I had come back early Monday and had been frantically looking for him when we got the news.