We finally had to say goodbye to Mr. Rufus August, 2010.
Rufus arrived in 1998 under the auspices of Jan, the fairy dog-mother. Since we were concerned about acclimating a new dog into the existing household (particularly with Clayton, the West Highland terrier), we decided they should first meet outdoors. They took to each other immediately, romping and wrestling, until both were covered in mud from the melting snow.
All dogs have their own personalities, and Rufus was no exception. But unlike the others under our roof, he was the only one confident that he was in fact, a dog, and was thoroughly happy with that role. There was a look on his face of utter disdain for the others when he saw them acting in a non-canine manner, as if they were an embarrassment to their species.
One of his greatest joys was spending time in Maine, where he considered himself the chief dog of Wiscasset. He would demand to be escorted around the village several times a day, and if the wind and tide were right, to wade in the harbor and snap at the waves.
His final weekend in Maine included a day resting on the grass in the sun, and a final circuit of Wiscasset to let all the dogs in the village know he was there.
He was a tough old man of 14, but we began to notice his physical failings (as well as those we pretended not to notice). So on Monday, we had to make that same sad decision we never get used to.
His final decline was sudden, yet graceful. His time had come, we were with him, and he went without a drawn out series of procedures and treatments, and without the humiliation of incapacity.
Goodbye Mr. Rufus; we will always remember you.