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remembering Rudder

Early in January, we heard from our neighbours, Jared and Jessika, that good old Rudder had died at age 16.

“We wanted to let you know because you shared in the life of our special flower 🌹😇, whether as a puppy in Alaska, a mischievous coyot in the Desolation Wilderness, or a relentless about-towner on the beaches and bogs of the Peninsula. Thank you for all the love you gave Rudder and our family — we sure miss his ornery, fuzzy butt.”  

I wept over him.  He was a dog of great dignity, at least when I knew him in his later years starting in 2014 when he became our neighbour. In his younger days, he was the inspiration for one of the dogs in this logo for the Cranberrian Fair.

Photo courtesy Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum, Ilwaco

This month, I read Faithful by Alice Hoffman and found this passage that reminded me of Rudder.

Current Google street view, taken in 2013, Rudder at home

I asked Allan to find photos of Rudder.  (I have photos, too, but mine are not as organized as Allan’s.)  The photos told the story of my quest to get Rudder to be my buddy.

2014
beach approach, 2015
2016
2016
2016
2016 on the beach approach

(Rudder’s people had a shop at the start of the approach road for their Starvation Alley cranberry juice products.)

2016
2016
2017 outside our front gate

Rudder was slowing down and could no longer go running with Jared, who told me that he would sometimes run around the block instead of a distance so that he could say hi to Rudder again.

2018, beach approach with Yarrow

I would give him treats, so he started to come over to see us sometimes.

2018

2018, looking for more cheese

He had gotten stiff and would think for a long time before lying down.

treat?
Yes!

I found a few photos that had been published here:

Rudder playing hard to get. 2014
Rudder, 2014
2015
Rudder snoozing in his front garden, July 2018
Rudder in our garden, 2018
Rudder 2018, visiting
Rudder’s last visit for a treat, November 2018

I doted on that good boy and will miss him.

As always when a good dog dies, I reread this poem, which was first shared to me by our friend J9:

The House Dog's Grave (Haig, an English bulldog)

I’ve changed my ways a little; I cannot now
Run with you in the evenings along the shore,
Except in a kind of dream; and you, if you dream a moment,
You see me there.

So leave awhile the paw-marks on the front door
Where I used to scratch to go out or in,
And you’d soon open; leave on the kitchen floor
The marks of my drinking-pan

I cannot lie by your fire as I used to do
On the warm stone,
Nor at the foot of your bed; no, all the night through
I lie alone.

But your kind thought has laid me less than six feet
Outside your window where firelight so often plays,
And where you sit to read–and I fear often grieving for me–
Every night your lamplight lies on my place.

You, man and woman, live so long, it is hard
To think of you ever dying
A little dog would get tired, living so long.
I hope that when you are lying

Under the ground like me your lives will appear
As good and joyful as mine.
No, dear, that’s too much hope: you are not so well cared for
As I have been.

And never have known the passionate undivided
Fidelities that I knew.
Your minds are perhaps too active, too many-sided. . . .
But to me you were true.

You were never masters, but friends. I was your friend.
I loved you well, and was loved. Deep love endures
To the end and far past the end. If this is my end,
I am not lonely. I am not afraid. I am still yours.

Robinson Jeffers, 1941

We will be raising a toast to him tonight at 7 PM.

 

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