lahermite: (Default)
all that remains

i first met the dog within days of its death. maybe within minutes. i wasn't even sure it was dead. it looked like it had just lain down and gone to sleep. i stood looking at it for ages, that first time, seeing if it was breathing, watching real close for signs of movement, any sort of movement. after a while, and my two dogs not paying any attention to it whatsoever, i determined it was dead. big, pretty, sheepdog-looking. laying down there, off the road, about ten or fifteen feet from the creek. it had a collar on, i could see, an orange hunting collar. but no radio transmitter, like hunting dogs have. my dogs and i walked on, me sad at the pretty dog laying there dead. more so because it was such a big, pretty dog. all animals make me feel sad when they die, human and non-human; they're not getting to see ~all this~ anymore, so i'm sad for them. but some make me sadder than others, and this big pretty dog, laying there unclaimed made me sadder. my son said, "we should bury it" but i said no. let's just leave it there to return to the earth. i figured it would start being nibbled at pretty quick. a dead deer a little further down the road was completely gone within two days, its dead body being eaten by many a passer-by. but the dog didn't get nibbled at, not obviously, anyway. it just lay there, near the creek, as if asleep, and the snow fell and melted and fell and melted, and gradually the dog started to decay, and the kids and i watched. at some point, something inside of me got the better of me and i climbed down there to see if there was a tag of any kind; any human family sitting wondering where their friend had got to. but there wasn't. just an orange collar and a chewed-through foot of string attached to it. i went to get my camera when the dogs face started to become hair and bone and teeth, a startling and amazingly beautiful image, but that was the day my camera broke, so the dog went unphotographed. still its body, just laying there, unclaimed, saddened me, but i can't quite figure out why. death is natural, it's all around us. obviously, for sanitation purposes, we can't leave large corpses just laying around everywhere, but this wasn't that kind of situation. why was the dead dog any more different laying there decaying to any bird, or possum, or groundhog? why would a dead human, laying there unclaimed, be any different?
i went away for a few weeks. the snow fell and fell and melted, and i got a new (old) camera. i came back, the snow all gone, and took my camera down to see the dog. but it was gone. all that remained were a few white and black hairs. even the collar and rope are gone. was the dog claimed, taken away to be buried somewhere? finally eaten? did its bones and collar wash into the creek and away?
"the dog's gone back to earth" my daughter explained. yes, it surely has.


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November 2011

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