Storm, Our Black Dobie Girl
by Kelvin L.
Storm, you came to us as a Doberman puppy bred in a loving household and brought up by its children. You were a middle child, neither the oldest pup nor its runt.
Your name was chosen as it was on your pedigree papers - named for she among the X-men who could control the weather. Alas, in real life, you were the most frightened by loud thunderclaps.
In your youth you were a quick and fast learner, mastering commands and basic obedience with little effort. That is, when you were not deliberately pushing your luck on things. Even if this resulted in your being sent to stand in a corner for an hour while I finished the newspaper.
In your middle age you had learned all that was basic, and began to solve problems on your own. These included deshelling fruit, eating it and discarding the seeds. This ability included solving a problem by simply having it explained to you.
A hand gesture was often enough to inform you where we wanted you to go or what to do. You were conscious of not eating unless invited to, and drinking whenever invited to.
You understood the power of persuasion by dropping your head in our laps with eyes turned upward to our faces. If that did not work, you would lean against us with hindquarters, head cocked back as if to say - "Have I gotten your attention?"
In reverse, you were often obliging even if not in the mood - coming whenever called and if we ever fall asleep, waiting patiently for us to wake, never disturbing us in our rest.
You had little interest in exercise, but thought nothing of pacing twenty times around the dining table when your meal was due.
You could estimate the trajectory of a flying ball, jumping and catching it with paws ten feet off the ground.
As if to impress, you would sometimes bark at other dogs going by - even if you had retrieved a ball and were returning with it in-mouth.
If there is one thing that interested you no end, it was food in whatever form and shape. Even if this came from your nose in the rubbish bin. Or picked off from food packaging disassembled when found.
In your old age, with regret, it was not a time to be. You were taken unexpectedly by disease, too suddenly and too young by any measure. And certainly at 8.5.
What you must not have expected when you charged into the warm afternoon that last Christmas Day - little different from any other, barking at the dogs that pass you by.
What you must have thought when your legs buckled from under you, bringing you crashing to the Earth.
What you must have thought as you lay there, heart failing, and darkness blotted out the sun on Christmas day.
I hope the end was swift, as your eyes turned upward to the sky. As breath and life departed, that you left with no regrets.
And when your dust was cast off an Eastern pier, I hope your soul found its rest among the winds and the waters that must surely show you the way to Rainbow Bridge.
Forever now I will remember how you glided through the air for the ball in the games we played, in the scent on the breeze at the end of a sunny afternoon.
Forever now I will hear your voice as a howl in the wind late on a stormy night, and remember I no longer have to bring you in to a warmer kitchen for the night.
Forever now, I almost expect to see you hiding in the places you used to hide, when there is a roaring thunderstorm overhead.
From now on, your bowl and the place it occupies in the kitchen lay silent. The evening roll call for dinner is missing one.
The places you used to rest - under a day-bed, behind a sofa, or outside the toilet door late in the evening, are empty.
You no longer wait at the gate, waiting for our return. Instead, we are often waiting for you to show but you never do.
There is so much to remember. All the photos and videos taken in the course of your lifetime cannot fully convey how you were loved, how you loved, and remained to the end a faithful dog.