Angus the Boofhead RIP 18 Feb 2010
Born before 1998 (don’t know when, he was an adult when we got him in 2000).
He was given to us by friends who were outdone by his escape attempts, a dopey boofhead of a dog with big paws and big floppy ears, on his way to being deaf as a post.
We laughed at him, sliding on our shiny wooden floors, which he would eventually scratch badly in attempts to gain leverage. We laughed at him running full tilt into closed glass sliding doors. I guess his eyesight wasn’t too good either. Luckily he seemed to have a really hard head.
He would patrol boundaries of a new home when he moved in, marking every post and tree and then would make it his nine to five job to rid the area of skinks and geckos. He would dig holes where they went to ground in garden beds and lawns, moving bush rock, bricks and pavers as he chased them into the earth.
He was an excellent guard dog, with a deep resonant bark. Provided he stayed in the shadows, we could have had a giant doberman to contend with. If he was in sight, however, his small stature, wagging stump of a tail and silly cocker spaniel ears belied the threat.
He chewed wooden puzzle pieces, pencils, my Sennheimer earphones and my mail. If I’d still been at school, I’m sure he would’ve chewed the obligatory homework. He excelled at destroying dog toys, relentlessly worrying at them until the internal squeak was silenced.
He was banished from the living area of the house when the human babies became mobile, not because he was at all dangerous but because he would leave little puddles here and there. We missed his efficient under-the-highchair vacuuming.
I loved my Angus. He shared my bed for as long as we shared a house. He would take up too much space, snore in my ear, breathe on me with doggy breath faintly tainted with longdead lizardry. But he would also warm the small of my back on chilly nights, curled into a tight ball, denying the long length of him observed on hot nights when he hogged the space.
“My goal in life is to become as wonderful as my dog thinks I am.”
He was my dog friend for 11 years. I was his only true love for most of his life. He shunned other dogs and people to be with me. He disobeyed me, ran as soon as a gate was left open, piddled on my floors and was only truly content when curled at my side or at my feet.
“I have sometimes thought of the final cause of dogs having such short lives and I am quite satisfied it is in compassion to the human race; for if we suffer so much in losing a dog after an acquaintance of ten to twelve years, what would it be if they were to double?”
Sir Walter Scott
He died during the night in his sleep, lying on the cool tiles of the patio where the breeze was the strongest. He was about to cost me a lot of money to diagnose his enlarged prostate. I could not have put him down and was willing to spend all it took to make him well as I thought I couldn’t bear to lose him. But we can bear it, we have to. We tell the young ones we are sad, Angus has gone to doggie heaven. But it’s not the sadness, it’s the loss, the hole in your heart, the deep heaviness of the knowledge that he will not be there to exasperate me by lying on my pillow any more.
“A good dog never dies, he always stays, he walks beside you on crisp autumn days when frost is on the fields and winters drawing near, his head is within our hand in his old way.”
Mary Carolyn Davies
I shall remember you always, Angus. With love.