Thursday, July 30, 2009

Shouldn't You Tell Them About The Dog?

I was invited to a deck party this past Sunday. Jim had just built a beautiful teak deck off the back of his house and dozens of his friends came to eat, drink, play music, and generally break in the new deck. (....and maybe be the guinea pigs to test the deck's weight bearing capabilities)

Jim and Rachel bought the small house a little over a year ago. They decided to simplify life and scale down from their larger house. At the party Jim told me about a rather quirky thing that came up at closing.

Jim and Rachel were sitting at the table across from the real estate guy and the banker and whomever else was involved in the closing, when one of them turned to the other and said, "Shouldn't you tell them about the dog?"


Seems that, though this little house is very old, Jim and Rachel are only its third owners. The first owners had an ill child (they didn't say the exact nature of the illness) who owned a dog that she dearly loved. Loved SO much, in fact, that her taxidermist dad stuffed the dog when it died so that they could keep the dog "forever".

Okay, that was weird enough. But it gets even weirder. The second owners of the house kept the stuffed dog, presumably so that the dog would always be home.

And I guess if you're eccentric enough to keep a stuffed dog in "its" house as a matter of honor -- doing right by the dog, it might never occur to you that the next owner wouldn't feel similarly sentimental and honorable and keep the dog at home as well.

And so it was that Jim and Rachel inherited the dog.

Jim and Rachel are the kindest, gentlest sort of people, living in a community (Goshen, IN) of exceedingly kind and gentle people. But they couldn't see themselves living with a stuffed dog standing around the house, no matter how relatively well-behaved it may have been as a pet.

So they first tried to see if they could find any "proper" way to send the dog off to some place where it would maintain the dignity of a dog so loved that not just one, but two families made it their pet, despite considerations of viability.

They even tried to see if the Goshen Historical Society had any interest in the dog (They didn't. Apparently, it held no historical significance, even if it was probably the oldest standing dog in the city).

They thought and thought about it. How could they do the right thing? What WAS the right thing?

They finally came up with a swell solution. They held a neighborhood/community funeral for the dog. They had several speakers who eulogized this special dog and his virtues: "He was such a good dog. He never bit anyone." "We never had to clean up our yards after him" "I thought I heard him barking once, but figured out that it was a different dog, 'cause he'd never bark in the middle of the night".

Jim closed the service with a prayer, "Watch over him, God. He was a good companion to all who lived here. Now welcome him to a new home in heaven. Maybe let him stretch his legs a bit." And then he buried him out beyond the deck he'd just built. There was great music, and Pete Miller brought a granite slab to lay on his grave.

Then Jim and his musical friends got out their instruments and the whole block celebrated the wake.

Goshen is a very interesting town.

In other blog news:
I've been doing a good job of keeping up with my goal of uploading at least a pot a day to my
Etsy site, though I'm not making great gains in showing a substantial inventory there, as the pots are selling as fast as I put them up. Here's today's submission...


  1. I must add that John brought with him and left us with a deck warming gift of one of his lovely pitchers! It was overwhelming. We are gratefull for such a beautiful piece of pottery, and good friends.


  2. The burial was a howling good time.