Brian’s Eulogy

Today our friends Joe and Elissa are waking up without their little buddy Brian. As dachshund rescuers, the couple are accustomed to loss. But this one was sudden.

Brian, for those who did not know him, was best described as a lump of dough left that wee bit too long in the bowl. He was blue/grey/white to the untrained eye (apparently this is a common doxie color) and he liked to, well, lounge.

I met Brian at Elissa’s house one fine summer’s afternoon, when I mistook him for a couch cushion and sat on him. Brian gave a slight yawn and a small movement with one paw, to indicate perhaps I could shift the tiniest bit so as to avoid smothering him. Not many things reached emergency range with Brian. He was a low-energy performance artist.

Not that Brian didn’t get exercise, oh no. I personally witnessed the little–ehm, the lad–slither down from the couch, legs extended in something akin to an alpine descent until he reached the point where gravity took over and his bum landed with a resounding WHUMP. At this point he would waddle to the food dish in the kitchen, have a strengthening snack and some water, and then make the long arduous journey back to the couch. Ascent is more difficult, so when possible he used human elevators. He had this look that would make you do anything for him, a slight head tilt, a softening of the eyes, a radiation of a vibe that said, “I know you are a kind and compassionate person…”

The first time I attempted lifting him, he remained on the floor. Elissa had to help me.

Besides these sprints for snacks, Brian’s main form of exercise was pursuing turtles. He never caught one, but he liked the thrill of the chase. Elissa has a small hillock in her back garden where turtles burrow, a kind of low-rise condo for the discerning shelled buyer. Brian never achieved his goal to eat one, but he pursued turtles with, if not vigor, at least, well no not determination either. Mostly if he saw a turtle he started toward the hill and the turtle shot him a look of condescending pity and ambled away. But we always cheered for him; it is important to have ambitions in life.

On a cold Wednesday morning, Brian arose from his fleecy bed and appeared at Elissa’s side. This was not unusual; he liked to sleep on her head the last hour or two before dawn. But when she placed him on the pillow as her dachshund crown, Brian suddenly went into cardiac arrest. And was gone. Just like that, lying on the soft warm pillow that had been his to claim for the last decade.

It was the way Brian would have wanted to go.

Now Brian will cross the Rainbow Bridge and join his siblings Nellie (aka the Nelligator, a dog to be feared and obeyed) and Black Jack, the neutered stud who was the face of spay-and-neuter campaigns among purebred beauties everywhere. (Brian was neutered, of course, but the idea that he would have exerted energy on a sexual campaign prompted behind-the-hands giggling among rescuers.)

We hope the struts on the Bridge were reinforced in preparation for Brian’s arrival. His rotund, actual-sausage-shaped body was a dense weight on four small balancing points that tended to shake structures wherever he walked. Brian will cross the bridge wearing the slight smile he adopted after Joe and Elissa adopted him. (Once Brian knew he was safe, he cut loose and lived his best life with gusto–on a couch cushion, burrowed under a blanket, watching the cooking channel.) And the Bridge will sound like thump-whomp ssssss, the rhythm of his four paws making contact while his tummy drags along.

Fare three well Brian. I believe you knew that you were my favorite of Joe and Elissa’s herd. We figure it will take you about fifteen minutes to cross the Bridge. They will bring you a cushion halfway, don’t worry. And once you reach the other side, your heated couch-on-wheels will be waiting, with a driver to park you where you can watch the activities at the fishing pond, the play fighting park, or the rabbit chase run. You can also have them take you straight to the Bark-b-que joint or the Perpetual Puppy Charcuterie restaurant. Your table will be waiting, dear heart.

Jeeves – The Floor – – –

Jack originally wrote this post yesterday then pressed the wrong button and lost it all, so this has been completely re-written from memory and with help from Wendy – sigh – – –

We have a new pet called Whiskers. Ever since he arrived he’s been nosing around all the corners of the house. He roams about bumping into things before continuing in and out and roundabout. Our cats and the dawg don’t know quite what to make of him as he hums to himself and swirls his whiskers.

He is a robot vacuum cleaner we inherited from friends David and Susan, who upgraded. So Whiskers came to live with us.

I originally thought he was a she – a kind of house maid, but whiskers on a house maid didn’t seem appropriate so I soon realized that he’s a Butler. He does talk to us when he needs things in an oddly feminine voice but I suppose he got the housemaid to record the messages. I wasn’t sure to start with what he should be fed, but it turned out to be small portions of electricity which he obtains from his quaintly named ‘charging port’. When he needs to be fed he tells us and I place him in front of the charging port, whereupon he positions himself and parallel parks.

Wendy says I murmur to him like a cat when carrying him to the charger.

I love just watching him roaming around, bumping into things, changing direction, avoiding my feet and the other pets! He’s very conscientious, doing the corners twice, always returning to straight line, not missing even an inch.

I recently read, on the BBC website, that one of his English relatives escaped out the door of a hotel and vacuumed the parking lot before ending up being rescued from a hedge. I’m sure that after appropriate re-education he now knows where he belongs. And we keep the doors closed so Whiskers doesn’t get out.

Being a Presbyterian Scot turned Quaker I, of course, don’t believe in these kinds of modern technology. I only ever ‘inherit’ them against my will. As I often say to friends – “the dishwasher was already here”. But Whiskers doesn’t really feel so much like tech as like an agreeable housemate who’s good at floors.