So, the cost of life in Alaska grew today. Last night a moose (apparently) kicked my old hound dog in the head. Today, I had to have him put down. That seems calm enough but I wailed like a baby at the vet. There was no way I could do it after all we had been through. Like the time we had a party at Brian's house to save his eye. Charged $100 a plate for a 6 course meal, booze and a jazz band. Dozens of people showed up to save Gromit's eye because a stick was stuck in it and UC Davis wanted $1500 to save it. Like the time the police had to hold him because they were arresting me. Hunting for deer with Steve Cope. The time he rolled in some of Steve Cope's poop when we were hunting and I didn't notice it until after I had started petting him. How he saved the next door neighbors lives when their house caught fire and he woke me up and I had to wake them up (that earned him a prime rib dinner). How I cried when I saw him in California after my mother watched him when I moved and couldn't take him. How he got so fat at the Frye Ranch because they free fed. Gromit always did love to eat. He would eat whatever he could. Including apple pies. A whole deer. Once, I butchered a small road kill deer for about 15 dogs. They were not used to meat so they refused to eat it. Gromit ate the whole thing. His belly was so big it almost touched the ground. He slept for 3 days. Gromit was born May 31, 1996. In early July 1996 my girlfriend Monica and I went to get him. My mother was livid when I got home. But he was soon loved by all that knew him. He lived with me in British Columbia. In California. In Alaska. When Sam and Wallace died I put up a closing argument that talks about how special dogs are. For Gromit something different. Neil Young said it best in his song Old King. "King went a-sniffin' and he would go Was the best old hound dog I ever did know. I had a dog and his name was king I told the dog about everything. There in my truck the dog and I Then one day the king up and died.Then I thought about the times we had, once when i kicked him when he was bad. Old king sure meant a lot to me. But that hound dog is history. Was the best old hound dog I ever did know." I would invite all those that knew this special dog to leave a comment. I would like that very much. He was my friend and I loved him. I will miss him dearly. Gromit, rest in peace. May 31, 1996 to October 16, 2007. P.S. It's on bitches. I swear to God when I pull the trigger on that next moose I'm doing it for Gommie dog.


J said…
Tending to a very poorly Gromit and saying goodbye today. One does not want to have too many of these awful times.
I guess we all take things granted, I looked at Grommie dog, as someone who was going to be with our family forever.
I am sad that K will not have the joyful memories of all the great animals we have lost.
I will make sure she knows as we keep them in our hearts.

Not going to be the same without you.
Anonymous said…
Ben & J,

Both of us at the Theiler household are very sorry to hear about Grommet.

Wish ya the best.

Skelly said…
So sorry for your loss. He sounded like a good good dog.
Da said…
I'm sorry about you losing your best friend.
He was family, and whether on two legs or four, family is family.
I wish you peace
Malum Prohibitum said…
My sympathies for your loss.

When you get to feeling better, I wonder if you might email me. I am in my last year of law school in CA and am looking for an opportunity in a MUCH freer state. Id love your thoughts on Alaska, how you got your job, etc.
Anonymous said…
Damn -- sorry bro.

Anonymous said…
What will David do? Where will he turn for some delicious tumor licking? You better watch your corn hole, bud...

Anonymous said…
As the host of the save the eye party and old friend of Grommit, the news almost brings me to tears. He was classic, not only the great howl when prompted, but his uncanny ability to sleep in the most comfortable possible location in the house. Ben and I come home from the bars, and there he is, laying on his back on my leather couch snoring. I loved that dog. May he rest in peace and comfort-- as he often did in life.

Thank you all so much for your comments. Brian, you are right: besides food he had a knack for finding the most comfortable space. I remember he would cram himself into tiny spots if it meant he could lie on something comfortable. It is hard to come home and not see him.
Anonymous said…
I said I'd never write on this again, but I am going to have to write tonight to say how sad I am that Gromit is no more.

The reason why I was mad when Benjaman brought the puppy home was because he was hiding it under his tee shirt and showed him to the neighbour first!! I wanted to see him first.

Gromit quickly became a very important part of the family. He was full of fun and really, really liked anything edible (or sort of edible).

One night Benjaman and Monica went out and I was out as well. Gromit was a bit upset about this and so he went and bit a huge hole in the mattress of Benjaman's bed!! It was an old mattress, but you could see the grin on Gromit's face - "that'll teach you to leave ME alone."

Another time I had some people over and this woman made cinnamon rolls to die for. She brought a bunch. Benjaman was working, so I put a couple of them into plastic bags and put them on his computer desk. When he came home, those plastic bags were empty. Gromit had got up, got the buns and managed to get them out of the plastic bags.

My favourite picture of Gromit is the one when we had four feet of snow (which in Victoria in unheard of). The picture is of Gromit running in the snow with his ears flying in the wind.

You never wanted to be in a car if Gromit saw a deer. If he saw one, he would bay and could he ever bay!! He would keep it up for ages and it almost deafened you.

Gromit was so devoted to Benjaman and he was such a sweet dog. I don't think he had a mean bone in his body. He liked to be comfortable - he'd find a nice soft sofa, bed or anything else that was comfortable and stretch out and just relax. Gromie had relaxation down to an art!!

One day Monica took Gromie over to my Aunt Ivy's. Monica was going to get some plums. Ivy and she were picking the plums and putting them into pails. As fast as they were put into the pails, Gromie was taking them out. Not one of those plums had a tooth mark! Ivy still laughs about that. He also managed to get rather involved with her knitting and Ivy ended up re-knitting. It was so cute and so funny that she didn't mind.

I have missed Gromie. Ever time I see a deer I think of him. When I've visited Benjaman I've always been delighted to see him - and to see that he has always found the softest place to lie.

Gromie's passing really hurts. He was around me for a long time, too. He was a gentle, sweet dog who had a wonderful character and was full of life and love.

Rest in peace Gromie - I will never forget you. Hopefully you are now in doggie heaven chasing deer and having a wonderful time - you deserve it.

Mummy Dearest (Benjaman)
Grandma (to Gromit)
Anonymous said…
Benjaman called me tonight to tell me about Gromit. I am so sorry he is gone. He was truly a great dog. I have a few favourite memories of Gromit. I told Benjaman about one of them: one night I was walking Gromit on Dallas Road in Victoria (a beautiful oceanside walk). A young man was out walking, carrying a nice beret in his hand. Out of the blue Gromit swooped by, snatching the hat from his hand, and running like mad in circles around us. For five minutes I chased after him to get that hat back. Finally I captured it from him, and apologetically handed the hat back to its owner. It was quite soggy!

My second favorite memory of Gromit was from the day Benjaman helped me move to Chilliwack. Before I left Victoria I made pecan sticky buns, from scratch. They took three days to make! I left some of them behind with Peggy as a goodbye present (hi Peggy!) and took a plate of six buns with me as well. Unfortunately, when we arrived in Chilliwack and went into a restaurant for dinner, it did not occur to us that we were leaving the sticky buns in the car with the two dogs: Gromit and his little brother Lou. I can only imagine the scene of gluttonous depravity that played out in that car. All I know is that when we came back the plate was licked quite clean.

Sorry to Benjaman and family - it's hard to lose a dog. He is after all a member of your family. Congratulations though on your upcoming addition! All the best,

Anonymous said…
I’m sorry to see Grommet go.
Although, I liked to call him “Lumpy,” I don’t think he minded; he was a very good natured dog.
Fortunately, he had a very good life. He had a family who loved him, and took very good care of him. He died with his boots on. And with you by his side.
Anonymous said…
I forgot to tell you about Gromit's "schooling" Benjaman decided that Gromit needed to have obedience lessons. He got in touch with a guy called Ben Kirsten (whose dog business is called Ben Kirsten and the Wonder Dogs. You'd have to see him and what his four border collies could do! It was amazing and not a word was spoken - everything was done by whistles and hand signals.

Hounds are not known for being terribly smart (they have other things instead), but Gromit and Benjaman faithfully went to the sessions. Ben told Benjaman that for a hound, Gromit was doing very well.

In his entire life Gromit never begged at the table. I'd have some of Benjaman's law school friends in for dinners on Sunday ights, and Gromit would try to sneak into the dining room to maybe catch a dropped piece of meat. However, all Benjaman had to do was to say no and point. At this point I am sure that Gromit was probably swearing under his breath. However, he never did get fed at the table. (Maybe that's why he ate the whole pie! We'd all eaten and no one could eat another bite. I put the apple pie on the kitchen table so we could enjoy it later. You have to understand that Aunt Ivy's apple pies are to die for. She makes the best apple pie in the world. While we were finishing our meal, Gromit decided that he really needed to have some dessert. We couldn't give him heck and I think he was proud of himself.

When Benjaman went to California he left Gromit with me. My partner had a german shepherd and I had a Shiz Tzu. John lived in an area where there were rabbits everywhere. So, the team would move in: Gromit would smell the rabbit, Samson ran it down (usually into a hole) and then Finnigan would go in after the poor rabbit. They were a really good team and we just used to howl at their antics.

How nice it is to remember Gromit and all the pleasure and fun he has given us through the years. I cried when I heard what happened.
God bless, Gromit.

Mummy Dearest
Anonymous said…
Well... I have known Grommit, Grommie, Grommers, since he was a little puppy in British Columbia. I remember when Ben first got him, and all the happy puppy excitement he had inside him. Grommie would tear around the back yard with his ears flopping madly around, while we worked in the garden.

He mellowed with age, but was always a joyous and peaceful soul. Even if there were several months that would go by between my seeing Grommie, he would always greet me as if I was as regular a guest as I had been when he was a puppy.

For myself, I love animals, but have never had a great affinity for the pets of other people... except for Grommie. He was special. He had a way of making you feel at home.

Cheers Grommie, you will be missed.

fdr said…
Dude, didn't know your dog of course, but totally relate.

I got a Springer Spaniel, "Mickey" in early 1994. I started dating my wife Kelley, a couple of months later. He jumped on her when I firt brought her to the house, and tore her jeans. She was tickef off, but didn't show it because she dug me. She pretended she liked him.

Well we got engaged, and Kelley started moving stuff in, in anticipation of her moving in when we got married. A co-worker had given her a "swag, " a flower arrangement to go over a window or something. I was working midnights in the PD (not arresting PD's that night), so went to bed about 7AM. I woke up to Mickey having a hey dey tearing that thing to smithereens.... So I wnet back to bed....nothing you could do at that point.

Well my beloved, stops home at lunch, and immediately starts screaming as she surveys the wreckage. I got up and hugged her, and went back to bed. (wrong move) She started screaming that it was her or the dog. I told her I sure was going to miss her.

Well, we married and she soon appreicated his presence on her bed at night, as I continued to work midnights. He was a little threatend by the presence of our children being born. I had read wear its good to bring something home with the smell on it of yoru new born. I brought home the little skull cap. I woke up to find THAT thing in smithereens....Not a good sign I thought.

But he loved and protected the kids, letting the pound on him and yank his hair and ears.

A coupel years ago he got sick and died. My wife found him laying on the rug, where she left him a few hours before. She screamed and we all came running, tears flowing. It was a family binding event. My son was 6 and he never shows affectioonj for anyone or anything, but here he is crying, with my 5 year old daughter stroking his back saying "it will be alright Colin...."

My buddy came over in his pick up, and we took him and buried him in the woods behind our parish. Throwing the dirt on him was the hardest thing I have e3ver done (Can't imagine you having to put your dog down).

I feel your pain...
Elaine said…
I'm so sorry about your dog. I've buried two dogs, and though I have two more dogs, you never forget the ones that are gone. Dogs are like children who never grow up. Their love is simple and true.

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