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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Dog And His Boy

Comet, my pointer mix was my best friend for many years. As a pup of a couple of weeks, he was brought along, with one sibling, to our house by my uncle. I was to make a choice. Laying them down on the living room floor, the first thing his brother Snoopy did was go for the snacks uncle brought. Comet decided to explore the house, knowing it would be his. Wobbling on stubby legs thru the dining room to the kitchen, he plopped down in what would be his corner for the next few years until he outgrew it. Coincidentally, it was at the foot of Dad’s chair in the kitchen. By the time my sister was born, we were family.
[I had named him after Supergirl’s horse in the comics- btw, he was once a man]

When we tell relatives and other people in the Philippines how we treat Comet, they say he is so fortunate. We never let him sleep outside. When Dad would come home from work at 2am, he would check on Comet to see if he was sleeping in his favorite spot and if he finished his food for the night. If not, Dad would calmly ask me in the morning what time I brought his food down. His subtle way of asking me if i fed him early enough. After Christmas, Dad brought home a prime rib leftover from the hotel he worked at, and put it in front of Comet. He looked at us and then down in his plate, then us again…looking for his usual meal of chicken adobo. He let it sit there for hours before eating it that night.

Comet was a friendly one, never hurt anyone. I would wrestle with him, hose him down for his wash, tug at his tail or trip him over. He would bark in protest, maybe. Even when agitated, and I would experimentally put my arm at his open jaws, he would never bite me. My sister, even as a baby was able to hug Comet with no fear. Anyone coming over could, even the young enthusiastic ones who almost choke him. His favorite spot in the house was next to my Dad at his kitchen chair. They would watch TV, along with a parakeet that flys to sit at Dad's soulder, or at Comet's back.  Classmates who came over to the house were well treated with a jump hug, after a few full speed kamikaze runs around you first. But never turn your back on him. He will jump and hold on to your y waist as you try to walk away. He makes a terrible guard dog, would probably catch you on the way out. But he will bark when there is someone around! His senses included the backyard [squirrels], the neighbor’s driveway, and the front door [acts like a second doorbell]. The whole back of the house [kitchen, basement, backyard] was his!

We never put him through formal training, and was too lazy to do tricks. I said he was lazy. Not entirely true. The backyard is too small for him to use his full potential. Once in a while Comet would start to walk around the perimeter of the backyard. After a few sniffs at the tomatoes and other plants, he would sprint and eventually come to a full run around the yard. I was the lazy one. I didn’t walk him daily. So out in the street with the leash in hand, he would show his excitement by dragging me to his favorite front yards around the block. Sometimes Comet would end up missing. Jumped the back gate. It was my job to find him. We have a very long block, near level on one half, incline on the other. Here’s the routine. I come close enough, he runs away, I chase him until I can’t run anymore. Comet stops and comes back to within ten feet of me. Repeat. End only if he comes back within five feet. I grab him and drag him home. One time I wasn’t there to chase him. I was at school. Came home to see him with a cast and a metal post in one leg. He had run across Park Blvd to greet Mom after she got off the bus from work. During the after work rush!

I said my goodbyes to Comet and the family after graduating high school. Left for the Philippines for seven years. A few years out, I got the inevitable news. He died of age. My sister had cried, I heard. I mourned while showing relatives pictures of time past, eyes red in those photos from the flash…realizing later that meant his eyes were really deep, emotional. They mourned with me, having got to know Comet from our letters including him in family stories. He is buried in the yard he loved. Under the tomatoes he loved the most. Beneath an awning of grape vines. Next to Dad’s tool shed.
RIP Comet, the lazy shooting star.

1 comment:

  1. You can never forget a wonderful friend like that. Thanks for sharing these good memories that warm the heart.