Thoughts on loving a dog

I come from a family of dog lovers and grew up in a dog-loving rural culture.  (One of my older friends, Lela Boggs Harper, always said,  “Curt, don’t trust no one that doesn’t like dogs.”)

I have no problems with cats or even people who don’t share my great love of dogs. I’m just thankful that dogs are, and have been, a big and satisfying part of my life.  I consider dogs a special gift to humans from God.

I’ve always heard that any man or woman who has had a faithful dog is rich.  I’ve been privileged to have a handful of great dogs in my half-century of life.

But there are none I’ve loved more than Ivory.

Ivory's last day was spent in front of the fireplace at The Old House
Ivory's last day (12-28-09) was spent in front of the fireplace at The Old House

That’s why burying Ivory this morning was so hard.  She’d been my constant companion for over thirteen years.  Although technically owned by my son Clint (who paid good money for her as a puppy) this white lab captured my heart early on and never let go.

“Putting a dog down” is never easy.  Everyone but me agreed it was time, and I knew it too, but just had to get ready.

This morning I was as ready as I could get.

As I looked into her eyes, I believe Ivory was ready too.

She couldn’t walk any more and had lost most of her sight and hearing.   Labs have the most intelligent and human-like eyes, and I could nearly sense her saying,  “It’s OK. I’m ready.”

That didn’t stop the tears or how I felt inside.  Dr. White and her staff were so kind.  I shared how as a younger man, I’d always put dogs down with a gun, but there was no way I could do that with one of the best friends I’d ever had.

The injection worked so quickly and she just drifted off to sleep.  I felt a great sense of relief, in spite of the loss.

I buried her in the front yard.

Maybe, it’s being a little sentimental but I plan to get a small grave marker.

What I want on it is simple but telling:


Best Dog I Ever Owned.

The book cover (2002) that made Ivory a star
The book cover (2002) that made Ivory a star

If blog readers will allow me, I’d like to blog dog stories this week.  Several are about Ivory as well as other canines who’ve touched my heart.  Check by the Creekbank for updates.

Curt Iles

Creekbank Stories

PO Box 332  Dry Creek, LA 70637

One comment

  1. Dear Curt,
    Ivory was one of the best dogs I ever “had” too!! She and I spent many crazy, chaotic summer hours together in this office. I will always cherish
    the sound of her soft snore and the thump of her tail on my filing cabinet. Her smile was joy to my soul. Thanks for sharing her with me. In fact,
    thanks for sharing yourself and your whole family with me! God bless you in your grief. Please know that I am there with you.
    Your fellow dog person,

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