Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Tadji R.I.P.

This morning I woke up to find that my oldest dog, Tadji, had died during the night. At first I thought he was just sleeping, from the way he was laying. So I believe (And fervently hope.) that he passed in his sleep, without much pain.

I began writing this by recalling his last few days, but have decided instead to focus on the eleven plus years of his life. I don’t know if it is society in general, the people I have worked with in the last few years or some change in myself, but it seems that it is so much easier to focus on the negative about people and situations rather than the positive. For all the tears that I have shed over his passing, I was not remembering all the smiles we had shared.

I got Tadji as a puppy of eight weeks old. I was working in a very small town in Northern Arizona. I was working at the Sunrise Ski Resort as a representative of Popular Outdoor Outfitters. (Which has since gone out of business.) It was the not the first Christmas that I had spent away from family, as I had been working retail for about seven years at the time. It was, though, the first Christmas that I spent without family or close friends. It was the first alone Christmas that I had spent. I had made a few friends in Springerville, but nobody that I was close enough to that I would spend my holiday with them. I was feeling pretty alone, which is very unlike me. Especially at the time, as I had a wide circle of friends and acquaintances when I was doing retail.

This is a bit of a build up, but I want to convey just how important it was when Tadji came into my life. It was the weekend of Valentine’s Day and I had run to the grocery store when I met a rancher who had three Border Collie puppies in a box outside the store. One already spoken for and I wanted to think a bit before I brought one home, so I got the man’s number and I went on about my day.

I couldn’t get the image of those cute little fur balls out of my mind and, after checking with my landlord, I called the rancher and made arrangements to go by his place that evening. When I got to his place, I got to meet the puppies’ parents and I got to play with the two puppies he had left. I was originally drawn to the other puppy, but Tadji, after looking at me for about a minute while his brother romped around the yard, came right up to me and started tugging on my shoelaces, furry little feet on either side of my foot. It was love at first sight. Or bite. In retrospect, I should have thought about the fact that I had just picked the puppy that was already chewing on my shoes before he had even been properly introduced.

He was so tiny; I could hold most of him in the palm of my hand, his back legs hanging on either side of my wrist. I took him home and let him run around he house a bit while I tried to figure out what his name was. He almost got named Zap, as he had a penchant for tearing around the carpet then coming up and giving me a sniff and a static shock. It wasn’t until after a week or so of being called “The Puppy” that one of my employees used the word “Tadji” which is Apache for “turkey” and it seemed like a perfect fit. I had to guess at the spelling, so any errors there are all mine. He didn’t seem to mind the name, but he never seemed to mind anything other than kids. And that was only because a girl I was seeing at the time had a son who chased him into a corner and kicked him. Needless to say she and I didn’t last long after that.

In fact, Tadji stood by me (Well, lay next to me.) through several girlfriends, five vehicles, as well as several different employers and jobs. We lived in the same apartment complex from when we moved back to Tempe from Springerville. He endured my weird taste in music, even when I would play Art of Noise because he would “sing” to it. He never barked at me no matter how weird I got with my hairstyles of facial hair configuration. He would always be by my side, to the point of being underfoot. He would always be waiting at the door, tail wagging, when I got home. As a matter of fact, he would greet those women who had keys as they came in as well and I had to fight my way to get a greeting of my own.

He was easy to train and could do many tricks, although his favorite was one that I never taught him. Anyone who ever started out scratching his ears and ended up at his butt as he bounced it around and smiled his big doggie smile at you will attest to that.

There are many, many things about the time we spent together that make me smile and I plan to spend my time remembering those, rather than focusing on the times that we won’t have now that he is gone. I hope when I am gone, those who survive me can do the same with memories we have shared, for it is the lives and times we lived together that matter over the pain of the things that never will be. I don’t want any more memories of a life as half unlived. I’d rather see them as only halfway done with.

Thanks to all of you for your support this week. It has been very touching to hear from those besides myself who have happy memories of Tadji.

Random fact: I still have some of his puppy teeth.


Blogger Chancletika said...

Me puso muy triste la muerte de tu perrito. Tuve uno que queria mucho y desafortunadamente se le ocurrio morir justo el dia que cumpli 19... Espero que estes bien y tambien espero conocerte pronto.



12/14/2006 10:18 AM  
Anonymous Rogers said...

Nice pages here. Great information. Will visit again and recommend.

1/13/2007 7:46 PM  
Blogger d. chedwick bryant said...

What a sweet post on Tadji.

2/08/2007 10:47 AM  

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