Monday, July 25, 2005

Rex Was a Good Dog

We celebrated July 4th with Jennifer's sister's family in Pacifica, where fireworks are legal. Unfortunately, here in Montara, even though fireworks are illegal, there were enough going on to have scared Rex. When we got home, around 11pm, Rex was nowhere to be found and he had dug a hole under the fence, including moving a 15 lb concrete block. I walked around the neighborhood, calling his name, for about 20 minutes, but there was no sign of him. Jennifer made fliers the next morning and I posted them around the neighborhood. Less than an hour later, someone called, said his name was Andy and that he had some bad news -- he had found a dog on Highway 1 that looked like ours. He insisted on bringing the body to me and he showed up a short while later with the body wrapped in cardboard, lying in the back of his pickup truck. The grief didn't hit me until I identified him as Rex. Poor stupid dog. He was about 8 and a half years old and never was very smart about cars and streets. I had the body cremated and Jennifer wants to have a little ceremony where we spread the ashes.

I was very grateful for the kindness of strangers. An older woman dropped by on Tuesday (7/5) saying she had found Rex running around and got a hold of him and brought him to our house (we weren't home yet) and put him in the back yard. So, he was saved once, but obviously he got out again. And of course I was very grateful for Andy's help. I wish I had gotten his phone # so that we could take him and his wife out to dinner or at least thank him again.

Claire took 4 or 5 days before she noticed that Rex was gone and she asked where he was. It's odd that she didn't grieve over him until days later, on three different occasions in particular. Her lamenting was heart breaking. We said he died, that he wasn't coming back, and that he was "OK" or "happy". Jennifer mentioned heaven once, in an effort to console her, even though neither of us believe that there's a literal heaven or hell, as described in popular culture. But myths can be useful, just like Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. The heaven thing didn't work with Claire though -- "who's going to feed him? who will put on his leash? why won't he come back?". My take on it was to emphasize that Rex was not sad or hurt and he was OK and that we can remember him.

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