Wednesday, December 30, 2009

R.I.P. Hunter, 1997-2009

I have a picture of him somewhere, though I don't think I can upload it to any of the computer I normally work at. If I can find the card, I'll add a picture later.

Hunter was our dachshund. He joined our family in the fall of 1998, age 18 months. We had not had a dog for several years, and he was a delight from the start. He was friendly to a fault. One time when he wandered from our yard, he gladly hopped in the dog-catchers car. Anything to go for a ride.

He loved to hop up on the couch when I sat there, or when I lay there taking a nap. He would wedge himself between me and the back of the couch. That was his favorite position, to be wedged in behind someone. He seemed to enjoy the television, though possibly what he enjoyed most was his human company.

In the yard he loved chasing squirrels and digging after moles. If he found a carcass of any kind in our field, he would role on top of it. He especially liked to do this right after we gave him a bath. Running in the field was a favorite pastime of his.

In March 2003, at a time when we had another, more quiescent dog, and four foster children, we gave Hunter (I should say my wife gave Hunter) to her step-sister's family in Oklahoma City. That meant we got to see him from time to time, and he even came back for one or two visits to Bella Vista. He had a good life there, and they took good care of him. But at 12 years of age he was beginning to suffer. We learned in their Christmas letter that they had him put to sleep a few weeks ago.

This is not as sad as a human death (I'll be writing about one of them soon), nor as if he had been with us these last six years, but still it is sad. Hunter was the inspiration for the following poem, a parody of Leigh Hunt's famous "Jenny Kissed Me".

Hunter Licked Me

Hunter licked me on the nose,
showing me his deep affection.
Whimpering, this dachshund knows
who provides food and protection.
Tell me that my poems won't sell,
that no muse has ever picked me.
Call me crazy, but then yell
"Hunter licked me."

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