Bust, Bustie, Bist
Big Friend, Biggie
Big Hungry, Big Delicious, Big Man
Pointed-Headed, Donkey, Mr. Piffles, Piffs
Alabama, Montana, Florida, Bahamas, Mexico
Cuddle, walk, ride in the truck, eat crunchy food, more cuddles please, preferably upstairs. Why are you just standing there woman? I could use a little help here.
Lover of all creatures
Hater of all delivery drivers
Watcher of wild turkeys, backyard deer, and roadside cows
Chaser of ravens, crabs, coconuts, and plastic water bottles
Thief of quesadillas left in to-go boxes in the car, apple cores, and almonds
When we sat, say on back porch steps, hip to hip and shoulder to shoulder, we fit together like two old souls. I would put my arm around him and he would lean in so I could cry or whisper or tickle my nose into his smelly face. He was always my crying dog, the friend I told my heartaches to, sometimes the cause of those heartaches. It wasn’t so long ago that all it took was a suggestion and he would howl like a blues singer, head thrown back, eyes sorrowful, wailing like his heart had been broken. I guess even Linus got tired of being sad; about a year ago he started howling less as he started sleeping more.
He tolerated other dogs through the years and loved Pat more than me, which I like to think was a lot, though always hard to measure with an unaffectionate dumpster dog. He stopped being afraid of fireworks and thunderstorms when he learned about trust and proper cuddling techniques from Pat. He loved being Only Dog when they went turkey hunting in the spring or stayed in bed later than the antsy brown dogs and I in the summer, and my weeks by the wood stove with him every fall and winter after the hunters left were pretty special – if by special you mean more frequent accidents, more trouble getting up and around, and more fitful, longer naps. He LOVED spa days – bath, blow dryer, nails, ears. He never listened, obstinate as a mule, but it became easier to pretend he just couldn’t hear as he got older. He shed in the winter when he needed hair the most, and only chewed on a rawhide if he thought another dog wanted it. He drank water not to quench his thirst but to broadcast puddles around a room and to fill moments when he was feeling confused or bored or socially awkward.
And he was always there. Nearby, looking, stinking up the place, ready for me, ready to soak up whatever we had to give like a sponge. He was my thirties and half of my forties. He was a third of my life. He was this bison I perched on and this little bird I carried on my back. He was an odd striped man with sopapilla ears who smelled like yeast and oil and dust and salt who drove me crazy and demanded better of me. Big Bust and big love and my big, big friend.