Clover’s obituary flashed onto my Facebook feed two weeks ago.
“Intrepid companion,” it read. “Unstoppable greeter.” “Sweetest of souls.”
Clover was all of those. Joyful, exuberant, empathetic and lovely. She had all the traits you would wish in a human: kind, caring, welcoming beyond measure, and never a jerk. Not once. She was an old soul in a Wheaten Terrier body.
I’ve loved four dogs in my life. Three were mine.
McMurphy, a bedraggled terrier – named after Jack Nicholson’s whacky role in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – showed up, sick with distemper, outside the doors of the newspaper I worked at eons ago and was loved back to health. Sweet as could be but not the brightest in the animal kingdom.
Leon, a Norwegian Elkhound appeared on our porch in heavy-weight boxer Leon Spinks’ era and fought off the bullies who intimidated McMurphy. Leon was ours for just weeks, before his less kindly owners reclaimed him. I can still see his eyes watching us from the back window as he was driven away.
Stanley became ours when a fellow on a bicycle dropped a pup at my daughter’s feet and said “find it a home.” Stanley, to our anatomical surprise, was a girl, and home was with us for the rest of her sunny days.
I’ve never owned a dog by intention. They’ve all just shown up.
Clover came into our lives 11 years ago as a new pup of new friends, Lynelle and Tim. We grew to love them all, but honestly, Clover? . . . head over heels.
She was the perfect dog and friend. Never barked. Never. Nor did she shed. Her coat was like two-week growth on a shorn lamb. So, really, yes, perfect.
She was a regular visitor and a sometime overnight guest. When her owners travelled, Clover was welcomed into homes across the continent. Loved by a vast community, if she were on AirBnB she’d’ve received rave reviews.
Her greetings were ecstatic. You’re here, you’re here! I’d hoped I’d see you! She was the dog you wanted to visit and I like to think she and I had something special and not just because I discovered her love of pate.
Tim and Lynelle dropped by for a visit three weeks ago without Clover who was tuckered out from a walk. A week later, her circumstances took a dive. She had a final pate feast and made that last dreaded drive.
You know you’re in for this when you love an animal. You know the day will come, and the time together will have been too short. You prepare and you’re never prepared.
This little tribute is in memory of Lynelle and Tim’s perfect little dog: a beautiful friend, sweetest of souls.