My long time blog readers have heard many stories about my sweet beagle, Lois Lane. She has received her own fan mail and I’ve had readers ask about her during book signings. You’ll see in this story, that she passed away on her 15th birthday after a very happy and spoiled life — which is how all good dogs should live.
My dad always wanted to make sure I could change a flat tire, but like magic, both times I had a flat, the cutest men showed up to help and I didn’t have to lift a finger. What daddy should have taught me instead, is something no one ever talks about, but every woman needs to know, and that’s how to bury her dog.
It’s something uncomfortable and almost forbidden to mention, but when it happens and there’s no one else around, a woman’s gotta do what a woman’s gotta do. I won’t go into details, but let’s just say I’m tougher than I look.
Lois Lane was the most beautiful beagle in the world. She died on her 15th birthday and the two-year anniversary of Daddy’s death. It’s getting to where I dread the last week of August. I cried hot tears knowing the job fell on me, not just because my husband Bob had an important meeting at work and needed to stay at the office, but also because it’s one of those unwritten rules of marriage where our roles have evolved and been defined over time.
Bob takes care of everything except for the beginning and end of life. He’s changed diapers in the middle of the night, handled the taxes, insurance and snakes in the yard, but the bookends of birth and death cause him to get a bit queasy, so those events are left to me.
I decided to let Lois Lane rest beneath the fig tree in our yard because last spring, I saw her lounging there. As I crept under the low branches to give her ears a scratch, I realized the dog was brilliant because even at high noon, it was 5 or 10 degrees cooler in the shade of the thick leathery leaves.
Lois raised her eyebrows and winked to let me know the spot had great internet connection, so she and I spent summer afternoons working in the cool shade because we were frustrated and sick of being “safe-at-home” inside our quarantined house. Bob learned if he couldn’t find me, to look beneath the fig tree where Lois and I were napping, reading, writing or managing our social media accounts.
Pets represent a snapshot of time — a furry scrapbook of sorts, and Lois Lane told the canine story of my boys’ childhoods. She trotted along with them on peanut butter picnics and dinosaur hunts. She bravely rode with them in the car when they learned to drive, and finally, Lois Lane looked out the window and howled as they drove away to college.
As I said goodbye to Lois, I felt like I was burying the story of my boys, whether I wanted to or not.
Frantically working between the feeder bands of a hurricane, I felt someone reach around me and take the shovel. My husband knew how heavy my heart was and fought his aversion to the details of death so he could take over and finish the job for me. He knew my heart was breaking but his love exceeded his reservations. Along with our sons and dogs, we’ve always made a good team. And now, a floppy-eared howling part of our team is gone, and we’ll forever be changed.
This story first appeared on AL.com. You can see it online and share it with a dog lover you know HERE or read it in the Sunday edition of the Mobile Press-Register, Birmingham News and Huntsville Times.