Proverbs 12:10a...Good people take care of their animals.
After several friend's on Facebook lost their pet's a few day ago, I thought about our dog, Meister. So today's blog is about pets. We never got to have pets when we were growing up, other than the hunting dogs daddy kept outside.
We use to run our farm supply business in our house. When the farmers would come talk fertilizer or something to spray on diseased crops, they'd come in the house. Typically, most men don't think to wipe their feet when coming in the house, so after a while the farmers start leaving a little dirt trail to the office in the house. When it was decided that we'd turn daddy's barn into a office, mama decides she's not going to like a quiet house with no one to talk to, so she tells daddy she's going to get a dog. Like how I said that? She tells... Anyway, she started looking up different types of dogs, and decided on a Cairn Terrier. For those that don't know what a Cairn Terrier is, it's the same type of dog on Wizard of Oz...Toto...only a wheaten color. So "Meister" the Cairn Terrier is shipped in from New York in March of 1997 and picked up at Gainesville Regional airport. He was the fattest little butter ball of a puppy, cute as can be. Keep in mind my daddy did not want a dog, especially one in the house...but eventually the dog got daddy wrapped around his paw. Daddy still had his hunting dogs that he'd have to go out and feed every day, but they had the outside pen. When we'd tell daddy he was better to him than he was to us kids, daddy would always say, "That's because he doesn't back-talk". He'd take him for rides, walks, and even let him sleep in the house on the couch (that was covered). The sicker daddy became, the less walks and rides he got, but Meister was always at his side. The last few months of his life, daddy had to decide what to do with the hunting dogs as he always insisted on feeding them each day himself just to get outside for exercise, but he was growing weaker. Concerned as to what to do, the Fugate family told him they'd take his hunting dogs for him and care for them. This lightened the load for daddy, but broke his heart to have to give his dogs away that he had taken care of for so long. Like giving away one of your children. Daddy was depressed for a while. He soon started telling mama, "If something happens to me, please be good to Meister and bury him in the corner of the backyard."
Eventually, Meister graduated to being able to sleep by daddy's bed. The last chemo treatment put him in the hospital, and mama stayed with him. I was living out at the trailer and came back home to stay with the dog just to relieve daddy's mind that someone was here to care for the dog while he was away.
In his last few days on this earth, daddy stayed in the house or in bed. Meister was right at his side. Due to drastic changes in his condition on Friday, the very next day we called in my high school classmate, who had previously worked for Hospice. She told us some of the signs to look for in a person in their last days. She then turned to ask us who's little dog we had in the house. "Oh that's Wesley's dog", mama said. "Well, just keep an eye on him and he'll let you know when it's time". Meister was a little unsure of what was going on in the house as all the kids (Anneil, Wes, Pam, Ginger, and I) decided to spend the night to be around should mama need any help, so Meister slept in different areas in the house...I guess to keep an eye on us. As we went to kiss daddy goodnight on Sunday night, Meister followed us in there. Daddy had been in a comatose-like state most all day and not saying anything. Meister goes over on daddy's side and looks up at him, sniffs the air, then lays down on the floor next to him. In the wee hours of Monday morning, daddy passed away. Meister was never allowed on a bed, but this day she put him up on the bed where daddy lay, and he went over and licked his arm, then laid down next to him. We were later told by Mrs. Patsy (Fugate) daddy's hunting dogs started howling for no particular reason in the wee hours of Monday morning. I kinda think they sensed something too, even though they were a couple miles down the road from us.
Daddy's been gone a couple years this summer, and he's not only missed by his family, but his little buddy, Meister. His ears perk up straight when we ask him where Papa is, and his tail wags like nobody's business if we say something about "Papa's truck." He's 12 years old now, 84 in dog years. Smart dog...smarter than some humans I know. He'll probably outlive us all. But if he doesn't, he'll be buried in the corner of the backyard.
10 months ago