I will never forget him. I promised Snookie I’d carry him in my heart and mind for the rest of my life. I picture him still, coming to quietly check in on me as he so often did during the day. He liked to know where I was. Sometimes I’d look around and there he’d be just standing at a distance gazing at me. That kind of love is so nice. I picture how while sleeping or watching something, he must have had thoughts of me cross his mind and so he’d get up and come to find me. I miss that small golden shadow of love so much.
He died on August 8th 2021*. These photos of Snookie and me were taken by Bernie just as we were all getting up on the last morning of his life. He was the third wheel of our family tricycle now Bernie and I must learn to ride the tandem bike of life for a while. At least we still have the Neigh bors, as we call the mules and Pie, to hug on.
* Snookie was put down as his Degenerative Myelopathy was advanced and was starting to make it hard for him to get up and down on his own. We did not want him to get to the point where he was suffering. We fed him a breakfast of London broil steak and bacon and then a friend of ours who is a vet put him down at our farm under the shade of a Chestnut tree, while we gave him tons of pats and hugs. He felt nothing but love and then went to sleep forever.
He was comfort.
He was scared of thunder.
He came from Tennessee.
He was found as a wee pup flung in a ditch on the Missouri Tennessee line.
We called him a Missouri ditch dog, a King Tutt pointer, duck tolling sun of a bitch or a slothallo when people wanted to know his breed.
He liked to sit and watch the world.
He barked at an owl’s hoot.
He howled with coyotes, classical music and when we did.
He loved me.
He loved Bernie and Tom and Greg and Beth and a lot of others that he knew well.
He squinted when he greeted old friends.
He barked at strangers.
He liked the outdoors better than the indoors.
He could not tolerate flies.
He hated a dog named Yogi and attacked a ball every time he thought of that dog.
He shook with fear during storms.
He liked to be where I was.
He kept his eye on me.
Even in his old age he’d limped a long way to come and find me.
He traveled everywhere with us that he could go.
He would have always tried to come.
He did the pig dance when he found something dead and would drop down to roll unless he heard the word NO!
He put up well with all the silly things we did with him.
He never ever messed in the house after he was a pup.
He liked food from the table and going out for ice cream.
He loved a good walk in the woods.
He liked to give chase.
He liked sleeping in the cold.
He dreamed and twitched his paws and wrinkled his nose.
He was among my best friends of all my life.
He had no greater accomplishment than just being a world class friend.
He was a great dog.
I am so glad his path crossed mine.
I wrote the following poem for Snookie and for all that have lost a dog friend.
by Julia Carpenter
A dog just is until he isn’t.
Just was until he wasn’t.
He tries for no more.
But is so, so much more.
The space that dog was can not be filled.
The lonesome has come where his shadow was.
Something deeply apart of you has been lost.
It belonged to the comfort and you need it now but it is gone.
The softness, the warmth, the silence, the knowing, the beam from the eyes that radiated love.
Dog never questioned but always loved.
Let him now stay in your heart.
Toss him a smile like you once did a bone when you remember him and the love that he gave you.
Dog has leapt inside you and will remain with you ever more.
His memory lingers nearby.
You have only to call it and it will come.
He can no longer stand by your side but he’s curled up in your soul.
Today Jack Punch and I found ourselves riding down a long and lonely dirt road in Grand Escalate National Monument. The road called Cottonwood Rd wound for many miles past red rock walls and thickets of cottonwood trees. We saw no other animals. They must have found a better place to hide from the baking heat, 100 F.
The land because of the extreme heat, the remoteness, the sparseness and the dryness makes no sense to me as a place man should pick to do anything but wander through admiring its beauty and praying that he will make it where he's going before nature sends him a harsh message he is not prepared to receive. Like today's heat.
What a strange place to try to graze a cow. I have seen no water. Surely there is some because the cottonwoods find enough to grow. But a cow? I've heard a single cow drinks at least 2 gallons per 100lbs in hot weather.
No, I think best to leave this place for the plants and animals nature has found for it on her own. I am hoping to find enough water to give the horses and mules a drink. We have fifty miles to ride before we will be out of this dry environment. Lucky we started with one full canteen each.
We have been wandering down this road for the past three days and have not seen one other human soul. Around high noon, I started to hear some noise behind us. It sounded like voices and hoof beats. We pulled of to rest the animals for lunch in the shade of a small canyon. When we reentered the road I saw some hoof tracks I did not think belonged to our animals. Was someone following us? The thought did cross my mind but then I told myself I was probably just developing the kind of old West paranoia a place like this could give you.
The above is a fake account of the adventures of Harriet Bighorn and Jack Punch but perhaps next year sometime you will find the duo and their animals out for real reporting from your land and ours, the public lands of the West.