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The sad decline of Mr. Dog

what do I do all day?

Mr. Dog has left the building

I’m distracted by Mr. Dog and his rapid decline, but I can’t do anything about it. He was up all
night, rearranging our service porch. He managed to knock a sheet of plywood down and then tracked poop all through the house. I can’t get mad, it just makes me incredibly sad. There is nothing that can be done. He is at least 16 years old and has lived a wonderful and interesting life. I can only guess what his life was like before we adopted him, but I can’t imagine him having been mistreated, his personality is too sweet.

Thirteen years ago, I wanted a dog, Husband grudgingly agreed. My rounds of shelters and city pounds began, as I searched for a dog that fit my criteria. After the first couple of rounds, Husband took to waiting in the car, he couldn’t face all those  sad dogs, cats and puppies without wanting to take them home. Several candidate canines presented themselves, but either their owners ransomed them or other families adopted them first.

Mr. Dog was sitting in his kennel at the pound, looking out with a dazed look on his face. There were other friendlier dogs but his eyes and smile won me. He fit all my criteria; long hair, adult, healthy and intelligent.  I went outside to fetch Husband, we played with Mr. Dog in the large exercise pen and he won our hearts. Turns out he had just arrived that day, having been given up for adoption and was totally available. He came with a squeaky toy and a dog house.

Mr. Dog had been originally found wandering in a field, 100 miles south of us, completely matted and dirty. Lacking any exposure to Tibetan Terriers, he was labeled a miniature Old English Sheepdog (not a real breed). When no one claimed him, he was made available for adoption. I’m not clear on how he made his way north to Santa Rosa from San Jose. He was destined as a companion for his rescuer’s mother. It was not a good fit. Banished outside during the day, and left to sleep in his doghouse in the garage at night, he was over enthusiastic when his owner came home. He quickly got out of control, jumping on her and pulling on his leash when she tried to walk him. She listed his only fault as he occasionally peed indoors. A halter style dog collar stopped the pulling almost immediately. Mr. Dog either had already been trained to heel or is the smartest dog that I’ve ever owned. Probably the latter.

I realized that he had a incredible vocabulary when I was working in my garden one day. He sat on the lawn watching me plant a large flower bed. As he started to tramp across the freshly tilled soil, I caught his eye and cleared my throat. “Don’t you dare” I warned him,”Just go around.” I pointed to the clear path between beds, he stopped, turned and went around the flower bed. He never entered my beds again after that. More tomorrow…

About Theresa Diaz Gray

Born in New York City, I grew up in California, and have lived in 3 countries and 6 states. I'm a first generation Cuban-American who lives in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico. I'm committed to living an abundant and creative life and helping others do so too through DIY!


  1. Steve and Norm,

    I wrote more today. Our pets help us to be more. They give us unconditional love and forgiveness. I am being maudlin but also truthful.


  2. When you told the story of the ‘special’ food you prepared for Mr. Dog, I knew you were a true dog lover. Dogs teach us how to prepare for the death of the ones we love, how to grieve after their death, their lives are so short compared to ours. I for one have enjoyed the Mr. Dog stories.

  3. Thank you for sharing the stories. They have a bittersweet taste for me. Primarily sweet.

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