I’m upset about our dog, Goobie, 12-year-old tri-colored beagle. Close member of the family: only second-generation child. His rear end went out two years ago, Halloween, in Beatrice. We’d dressed him up in a Buzzy Bee outfit, which fit him perfectly, for the six-block walk through the cold to the old Hospital (12 years on a leash, tethering us to each other). When he got home, he was so very glad to get out of the outfit, he ran around the house at literally double speed, smashed into something, pinched a nerve in his back, lost control of his rear end, couldn’t climb stairs for four months, took muscle relaxers, ever so slowly regaining control. We lowered our beds. Goobie still has trouble getting up into chairs. First and last time we put clothes on a dog.

But the thing is, Goobie doesn’t care about this at all — he thinks nothing of flopping his rear end around, taking three tries to get up on a chair; has no idea of his own mortality, never worries, or cries, or moans, or is down, or wakes up in a bad mood, or stops loving us. He’s a fine example for living.

Goobie’s more than just a real people dog: Becky talks to him, claims he knows what she’s saying. I’m sure he understands much, through one medium or other. We drove back to Franklin for Thanksgiving dinner at the Unitarian/Universalist Church; and when it came to leaving Goobie in the van, he gave out a blood curdling howl, with such facial desperation, pleading with us to take him inside, begging us to let him see everyone. Listening to him howl was heartbreaking; he knows so much, and loves so much, and is such a human creature: I’m deathly afraid of his passing.

It’s heartless of nature to make a dog’s life span so much shorter than ours.