Dogs and the Dead
Dogs don’t visit the dead. Lord knows, I’ve tried to get them interested. When we lost Lucy, I yanked Atticus and Providence down to the river bank where I stood gazing at her grave. They mostly sniffed and peed. When only Providence remained, she telegraphed her boredom loud and clear, even when I told her she would be lying next to them one day. (Yeah, right—that would’ve convinced me this was a fun place to visit).
Death, as it were, is always close at hand.
Despite my frequent visits, I’ve struggled to give the pups a proper marker. I’ve used driftwood crosses (they rot) and scavenged riprap (it breaks.) The longest-lived memorial is a stone for Lucy my husband entitled (“Lucy”) with a Sharpie.
I kept thinking I would be out shopping at a flea market and spy the perfect iron crosses. Jubilant, I’d cart the crosses home and finally honor the pups properly—these dogs were in my life for 19 years. This dream kept me from going on-line and actually buying the perfect iron crosses.
This morning, on a rainy day reminiscent of last August when we took a shovel to the ground and buried my dad’s urn in the Old Chapel Hill Cemetery, I staked out three iron crosses. As I worked, Evangeline ran in crazy circles around me. She was so glad to be out in the rain and the mud. Briefly, I coaxed her into sitting.
It’s good to take someone as full of life as possible with you when you visit the dead. Otherwise, the spirits of the dead might recognize you as one of their own and claim you right then and there. For this protection, I am grateful to all living dogs, and most particularly Evangeline Prewitt.
Rest in peace, Atticus, Lucy Gardenia and Providence.
Live in joy, Evangeline