For the love of Odie
It was several years ago that we were at a local pet store-one of those that allows you to bring your pets with you. While there we were looking at the dogs and puppies that were up for adoption. Among the many available were several puppies from the same litter. One immediately drew our attention. Wiggly, adorable, lovely, mostly black he had that perfectly goofy look that made him irresistible. That day, that puppy went home with us. Son James was given the honor of choosing a name. Before we made it home the pup was already responding to the name Odie..named after that lovable dog from the Garfield comic strip.
Being that it was the midst of winter and too cold outside for a puppy he was kept inside. A highly intelligent pup he was housebroken quickly. He also quickly began to grow, and grow..and grow. Before long he was almost-but not quite- as big as a German Shepherd, but he had these odd ears. Odie remained an inside dog right up until that day..
I came home from work, unlocked the front door and opened it to the worst mess. Odie had felt the need to protect his family by attacking and killing..and dismembering a stuffed tiger. When I began to clean up the mess I began to believe that I would never get all of that stuffing cleaned up. It was right after that Odie became an outside dog. He didn't seem to mind. He had the front porch and that six foot long bench to stretch out on. He had the fenced yard with plenty of shade trees and loved those walks with my husband. When my husband went out to sit on the bench, Odie was right there beside him.
Odie was a man's dog. If my husband wasn't home, he wanted to be with James. He loved James almost as much as he loved my husband, he would seek James out when ever he could. There was a couple of times that James hid and all I'd say was find James- and Odie would find James.
We went on a weekend trip once. Odie was left at home, my parents live next door and would make sure he was fed and taken care of. When we got home my husband discovered the back door was open. I knew I had closed it. It was obvious looking at it that someone had broken it. After talking to mom I found out that Odie had gotten her attention by getting up on that bench and looking in the window to my kitchen and barking nonstop. She called out to him as she walked up the path. Apparently by yelling she scared the intruders. Nothing was taken, nothing was damaged. Thank you Odie.
Odie loved to swim. My dad had a small pond dug on his property. Odie loved to go down there and play in the water, chasing a ball or stick and bringing it back only to go after it as many times as it was thrown. In the beginning mom had four white ducks in the pond. Odie would love to hit the water running to chase those ducks. One of those ducks nearly drowned poor Odie. He chased that duck from one end of the pond to the other, back and forth until every bit of his energy was gone. He finally responded to my shouting, swimming to the bank where I had to literally drag him from the water.
One day Odie and our other dog Buddy managed to escape from the yard. It wasn't the first time, but this time, only Buddy came back. We searched for Odie for months. We placed ads, we created a lost dog notice on a lost dog web site, we put up signs and we searched-relentlessly. Months passed. In our hearts we hoped that someone had picked him up as he loved to ride and would jump in a vehicle with an open door and the call of 'want to ride?" It wasn't to be.
When my dad had that pond dug he also had a smaller but deeper pond dug that was fed by a spring. My dad found Odie's body floating on that pond. He wasn't badly decomposed leaving us to believe that he had been submerged in the bottom of that cold water all the time he was missing. Something caused that dog to drown in a pond he should have easily got out of.
My husband was out of town so my son helped me get him out of the water and up on the hill. Being he was a big dog meant he had to have a big hole. It wasn't easy with all the roots but we managed. We also covered the grave with several logs to keep it from being disturbed.