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January 2012
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Bridger, In memoriam
April 2000 - December 2011

In 2000 a small Black Labrador puppy arrived at Deborah's home. He was small, he was cute, he was utterly adorable. She knew that he would be bigger someday. She had no idea how much bigger he would get!

I met Deborah two years later where she was ensconced in a small real estate office where she was accompanied by the title company lady and a large animal. I am a clever chap. I immediately deduced that the animal must be a dog even though it was the size of a small pony. I had clues. Horses don't have paws and fangs.

This, though I did not know it, was my introduction to Our Lady of the Large Black Dog.

In the years that followed Deborah and I began to keep company. More precisely, Deborah, Bridger the dog, Jimmy the cat, and I began keeping company. (Jimmy the cat is a tail for another time.) In all of my many years since I was a child I have never kept a dog. I had no idea what I was missing. Perhaps it was just as well. No other dog could possibly have been the treasure that Bridger was.

He was a wonderfully well behaved dog. He would spend the day in Deb's office laying there keeping an eye on things. Mostly he wouldn't bark or cause any trouble - except for the UPS man. For some reason he felt that the world needed to be defended from the UPS.

One of the things about dogs is that they like to go for walks - long walks. Many was the time that I walked a mile or two accompanied by a large black dog, a dog that covered three or four miles for every one of mine. After all there were birds to chase, rabbits to chase, water holes to invade, and, er, ah, black and white kitties to chastise. The latter practice was not popular with Our Lady of the Large Black Dog.

He may have kept company with me but he was very much Deborah's dog. He slept in her bed. This was not a trivial matter. She had a king sized bed which Bridger shared with her. I say "shared with her" because his was the larger half of the bed. As I say, a large dog.

There are down sides to being a large black dog. As the years went by he began to have hip problems and fused vertebra. Eventually he could no longer jump up on the bed. It must have been heart breaking for him but he endured.

Bridger was trained as a hunter. He loved to ride in the pickup, because just maybe he would be hunting. As time went by he was no longer able to make the jump up into the pickup. One day when I was loading up the pickup he stood there wistfully wanting to get in but not thinking he could. Finally I told him to kennel up. He did his best to scramble in. I had to lift him up most of the way but he made it. I think we both knew that he would never make it again. We were both happy that he got one more ride.

His last year and a half were spent at my house; he could no longer make it up all the steps at Deborah's place. He missed Deborah. For a while she shuttled between her place and mine. Eventually the remodelling got to the point where she had her own bedroom and it began to be our place. Bridger didn't have a problem with the renovation efforts. His rule of life was that he laid on the floor where ever he would be most in the way; every body was expected to step over him or around him.

He was there for the wedding. We got married in the back yard. He didn't have a problem with that; he just wandered through the crowd looking for handouts.

In early December his last days came. He is missed. He has left behind a large black dog sized hole in our hearts.

Come back, you big black dog
Come back!
That rabbit will never feel your teeth;
He's faster than you,
And he's running for his life.

Come back, you big black dog
Come back!
That pheasant's flown away.
You'll never catch him now,
And hunting season's months away.

Come back, you big black dog
Come back!
Get your nose out of that hole you've dug.
There's nothing there, anymore,
And if there is, it'll bite your nose.

Come back, you big black dog
Come back!
Those ducks will always be ahead of you
No matter how fast you swim,
And, God, dog, you really are wet.

Come back, you big black dog
Come back!
Leave that black and white kitty alone.
This is a battle you can not win,
And, God, dog, you really do stink.


This page was last updated December 12, 2011.

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