He was trouble from the first minutes I knew him but somehow the little Dalmatian won my heart over.
We first met in a weekly newspaper office in Colorado where I was publisher. It was a dog friendly workplace for the most part and I only had one person that wasn’t all that into dogs. I wasn’t crazy about the idea that one of the advertising reps had brought this stray into the office but I held my tongue — that is until he took a poop under the desk of that one person who didn’t like dogs.
I ordered the staff to get rid of the dog and clean things up.
They promptly contacted my wife about the shivering pup and you know who was barking at me from the head of my own staircase when I got home. I pointed out that I lived there and he didn’t. My wife soon set me straight and Flint and I started our tenuous walk.
The dog proved to have a healthy appetite and begged for table scraps relentlessly. Kibble was good but anything that was on the table was even better. I watched his eating habits for a few months expecting he would be pretty fat before he was a year old. It never happened, you could still see his ribs and he was built like a greyhound. Finally I took him to the vet to make sure he didn’t have worms. Nope, the word was he just had a really high metabolism.
I also soon learned that Flint would be the smartest dog I ever owned. Unfortunately he never used his innate intelligence for anything noble. No, his smarts were used to swipe food, escape from anyplace he was contained and any other devilment he could devise.
That devilment would include consuming a pan full of watermelon rind, stealing my dad’s dentures when he visited, stealing a bottle of chocolate sauce and dripping it all over the living room and shredding numerous carpets and pieces of furniture.
You’re probably wondering why I allowed this dog to live under my roof. A question I asked myself over and over for 15 years. There were sweet moments that kept him from being banished.
Early on in his life with us he slept in our bed and by in our bed on don’t mean quietly at the foot of the bed, I mean under the covers between my wife and I. That metabolism of his came in handy on a cold Colorado night. He was like sleeping with a sack full of hot coals.
When he was little we played a game called squeaky duck, where I tossed the squeak toy down the hall and he brought it back to the chair. Never mind that thanks to Flint the duck only squeaked a short time and the chair succumbed to his toenails, it was our game and we played it hard.
Age slowly overtook the speckled dog that everyone thought was so handsome. His lanky frame grew even more gaunt and his backside didn’t work so well. He still slept on the bed but couldn’t wriggle under the covers. When he got up to go out at night he woke me up with a bark so that I could give him a quick boost back up on the bed.
Last Sunday Flint and I got up early and had our breakfast, meaning he had two jerky treats and part of my breakfast before he focused on some dry dog food. Nothing wrong with this 15-year-old dog’s appetite.
When we got home from church both dogs greeted us at the door but I immediately knew Flint was in trouble. Once we got inside he wouldn’t lay down and was restless and in clear distress. I couldn’t get the vet on the phone so I finally decided to sit down and relax myself in hopes he would do the same. Finally he came on into the living room where we both loved on him for a while.
He was finally at peace and not separated from his people and he laid in a sunbeam at our feet and quietly died.
Karl Terry writes for Clovis Media Inc. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org