Woody

Woody, who was known to you as Buddy, a yellow lab mixed with, maybe, Vizsla , Weimaraner, and/or Ridgeback, and a big dose of crazy as well.

We adopted him sometime in early 2002, and we figured he was about a year old at the time. He died on Saturday. He was his goofy self at 10:30 a.m. and gone at 11 a.m. He just sort of lay down and died, with no noise or anything. A nice way to go for him, pretty tough on us. The vet speculated a heart arrhythmia or an undiagnosed tumor that burst.

We managed to get him through puppy school. He flunked the first time, but when he went back, he was way ahead of everybody else and took great pride in showing all the new kids what was expected. He was very good at sitting and staying, and he usually came when you called, but sometimes he would just run off. The longest he was gone was about 75 minutes, and we were on tenterhooks.

Woody was one of the sweetest dogs that ever lived. We decided that he would have been better off if he knew how strong he was and that he could bite if he had to. But he was always anxious, and for the first couple of years he would quake in fear frequently. Apparently, you rescued him from the Staten Island pound, where he was one day from euthanasia because, even though he was very beautiful, he just cowered in the back of his cage and shook and drooled. But when we ran into him at the adoption day at the pet shop on the Summerville Circle, he had figured out how to attract the crowd. Everybody seemed to want Woody, and Kathy was worried you would give him to this guy who kept going around telling everybody he was a physician. As Woody aged, he became more comfortable in his skin. We decided his previous family was probably very caring toward him but just couldn’t put up with his anxiety in that urban environment. He was happier out here in the country. Woody loved to go in the car. He was crazy to go in the car. He learned that “ready” often meant we were getting ready to go out, and whenever he heard that word, as he did Saturday morning, he would jump up and frequently start whining, even if we were only talking about getting ready to watch a TV show.

We miss him a lot. We’ll bury his ashes out in the special place in the garden with Jake the Dog and Abby the Cat, both of whom died years ago.

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Because of the dogs' joyfulness, our own is increased. It is no small gift.  It’s not the least reason why we should honor as well as love the dog of our own life, and the dog down the street, and all the dogs not yet born. What would the world be like without music or rivers or the green and tender grass?  What would this world be like without dogs