Fiction Writing and Other Oddities

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Roscoe, 1995 – 2008, The Best Dog in the World

Our chocolate lab, Roscoe, died at 8:00am this morning. My husband had gone out and when he got home, Roscoe greeted him as usual, ran around the truck, and then collapsed. By the time my husband got out of the truck, Roscoe was gone. We think it might have been a stroke—but whatever it was, at least it was mercifully quick.

There will never be another Roscoe.

I've had dogs before, but I'd never had a lab, and never one like Roscoe. He was the most amazing dog I've ever known. Sure, he was stubborn and could be a royal pain in the ass sometimes, but he was just so darn smart. Heck, he was smarter than some people I've worked with. In fact, thanks to Roscoe, I now think that chocolate labs are the only kind of dog to have.

I don't know what I'm going to do in the garden anymore. Roscoe always guarded me from snakes. If he found one, I had to rush him into the house or he'd just kill it. If the snake was lucky, I got Roscoe away, picked up the snake tongs, and move the snake into the woods. If the snake was unlucky, Roscoe got to him first. I'd find bits of snake for weeks after, all over the garden.

If there was a particularly pernicious weed that I could not pull up, I just had to call Roscoe and give the weed a little yank. Roscoe would then take hold with his teeth and absolutely would not give up until that weed was out of the ground.

If something blew into the pond—say, our picnic umbrella—all I had to do was tell Roscoe to go and get it. Darn if he didn't. I'll never understand where he learned the word "umbrella."

God help you if you were shooting and missed what you aimed at. You were in for a very lively "talking to" by Roscoe, who would have shown you how to do it if he just had opposable thumbs. He despised bad shots. He expressed his opinions so clearly and with such a disgusted tone that it was almost as if you would be able to understand what he was saying if you just listened to his mumbling a little more intently.

He went everywhere. He dove without hesitation into the coldest, frozen-over lakes to fetch. And he wouldn't give up until he brought back whatever he had been sent to find. We might have cursed his stubbornness when we were trying to train him, but that trait is what made him a fabulous hunting companion. He simply would not give up until he had accomplished what he set out to do. He was amazing to watch in the field. He never missed a bird and was relentless in "getting the bird" no matter the weather. It could be a hundred degree day or a minum ten degree day—he just liked being outdoors. He loved gunfire, despised you if you missed, and would go after anything.

He was, without a doubt, the best and smartest dog we will ever know.

We will miss him.


Sonja Foust said...

Oh, I'm so sorry about Roscoe. Dogs really become family members, especially when they're so smart like that. My thoughts are with you. This was a lovely tribute to him.

Amy said...

Thank you so much. This has been really hard. I cried all day yesterday and am trying to pull myself together today. Roscoe enriched our lives so much and was such a wonderful dog--it's hard. I keep thinking I hear his toenails clicking on the stairs.

rebecca said...

i'm so sorry you lost roscoe but i'm happy he did not suffer. he seemed like an exceptional dog.

i've lost three dogs: one died during the night while we are asleep (a chow); the other i had to put down because of cancer (a rottie); and her son later died years later from complications of diabetes.

i've cried so much over these dogs i know you can fully comprehend. they become part of you and part of your family and life.

again, i'm so sorry for your loss, but take solace that he led a wonderful life. take care.

p.s. - i came upon your site thru another's and i'm certainly glad i did.