PHOTO: Bogie as an old man, a few weeks ago (above).
I would like to take a moment to mark the passage of an old friend this week. Those of you who have had a dog share your life understand fully that they are family members.
I think Bogie actually viewed me as an equal, a fellow semi-wild member of his pack, rather than a Homo sapien that often provided him food. Whatever our relationship, he was unquestionably the most intelligent dog I've ever known.
We communicated through eye contact and intuition, sometimes through a small vocabulary of hand signals. He never cared much for human words, although his own vocalizations were highly expressive.
Due to his intelligence, Bogie lived his entire life without being tied. He figured out door latches and would let himself in or out of the house as desired. He understood the boundaries of the farm and he knew meal times, so wherever his explorations took him, he kept a regular schedule with the family. When we ran he maintained visual contact, following his own pattern, typically parallel to my own and ranging at a distance he thought effective for locating potential game.
We never caught a deer together, but it was not for lack of trying.
Bogs was an unofficial fifth member of my band, Foul Rift. He joined us for practice every week at the barn, checking in with Harrington, Monster, and X to see what was new with them and how our music was progressing. Not infrequently his visits included a (no doubt delicious) groundhog dangling out both sides of his mouth — Bogie's legendary hunting skills were object of much admiration and often humor.
As Monster quipped one night: "Hell hath one blue eye."
After almost fourteen years together, I think Bogie's final gift to me was a simple reminder that death is an absolute. Time passes, and brings each of us closer to our own moment. Avoiding risk, seeking a life of ease and comfort, will not stave off the knock at the door. Meet life eye to eye. And live it.
PHOTO: Bogie in his prime (below).