Deuce: Deuce was a black and tan Shepherd mix close to 100lbs on his best day, with a fierce and fearless bark. He was an unwavering companion, a guardian of our home, and terrified of thunderstorms, loud noises, the vacuum; a walking contradiction. He was unaware of his size; in his heart was a shepherd but his soul was lap dog. He took any opportunity he could to crawl in your lap.
Deuce loved my husband. Even though I took care of Deuce every day for nearly the last ten years, it was Frank who he lived and breathed for. I was an okay substitute, but nothing compared to the man who saved him from certain death. Frank saved him from the shelter and Deuce somehow knew. He became a dog so loyal; it wasn’t till his next to last day on this earth, that he would bare his teeth to his master. Deuce also suffered from separation anxiety, not the kind of dog one might get if they travel for work most of the year. But that’s exactly what Frank did. But he didn’t hold a grudge. He waited patiently for Frank to return and only wanted to spend every moment he could with him.
Deuce loved, loved, loved to be touched. If you should stop petting him to soon, he would grab your hand with his paw and place it right back onto himself. He was the dog that would lean into you, try to crawl inside you if he could. He couldn’t get enough. And if you dared to still sit and not pet him, he would place his head in your lap and stare longingly with the biggest, deepest brown eyes until you either had to keep petting him or get up and do something else. He soaked in hugs and his coat would soak up tears. Like all dogs he knew when your heart was broken, knew when you were mad, and knew when you were happy.
Deuce was a heavy breather. So loud he kept me up most nights, and made falling asleep nearly impossible. When Frank was gone Deuce slept on the floor right next to me. All I had to say was “out” and he would heave himself off the floor and find another spot to sleep. In many ways he was an extension of my husband. I even called him my handsome man, he was so beautiful. Our mutual adoration for Frank was our greatest connection.
Deuce was great at playing hide and seek, a game my daughter and I loved to play with him. He had a great big nose that could have been put to better use. But no matter where we hid, he could find us.
Deuce was an avid music fan and he would howl like a pack of wolves if you hit a bad note. He would sing and talk back if he didn’t like your answer. He could be as obstinate as a two-year old, and trying to get a 100 lb. dog to do anything it doesn’t want to, is futile.
He was our resident grocery bag inspector. He nosed through every bag that came into the house. Eager to find out its contents to see if they carried some wonderful treat inside. His tail wagged furiously when his favorite people came to visit. And he would sometimes even yell about how happy he was to see you, or as if he was telling you “you’ve been away too long.” Deuce loved to bark. What dog doesn’t, right? Well, he endeavored to bark.
Deuce was a good dog. A little piece of us died with him and he left a great big hole in our hearts. Deuce died on December 21st, the winter solstice. The longest night of darkness. The house feels quiet without him. I still step gingerly when I get out of bed, so that I don’t step on his tail like I often used to. His presence imprinted on our brains, in our unconscious. But like the solstice, the days will get brighter and death will give way to life. When the time is right, we will be able to save another dog from the shelter and give him a home and love unconditionally and be loved unconditionally. Good bye handsome man.