On August 25, 2010 my heart was breaking. I had just called a good friend of mine who is a veterinarian. I spoke to him in a shaky voice and said, “I will be at your house in half an hour.”
“What time is it?” He asked in a voice heavy with sleep. I said, “It’s 5 a.m. and we have to put Dell down.”
“Oh, no,” he said. I told him I would be there in half an hour and I hung up the phone.
Dell and I had been together twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week for over twelve years. Dell is the wonder dog who rid this Pleasantville campus of over two hundred and fifty Canadian Geese that resided here. For years the University had tried, in vain, to become a “geese free zone.” They tried fencing, sound machines, and chemical treatment to the lawns. They used floating “terror eyes,” large floating eye balls to scare the geese away. All to no avail.
At one time this campus was so fouled up that you couldn’t find a place to sit on the grass without being soiled by goose droppings. The walkways were minefields of wasabi – unsightly, unhealthy, and smelly!
Then, along came Dell, a southern belle, who hailed from North Carolina, and was full of grit and determination. Within two months we had the campus in much better shape. In the beginning, people would cast dispersions on our efforts. They laughed at the folly of one thirty-five pound black and white dog. One lunatic trainer called out, “Come by, Dell… Away to me, Dell,” and ended with “That will do, Dell. Good dog.” Dell was thirty-five lbs. of heart and love. I don’t know if dogs are really man’s best friends but I do know that Dell was mine.
I knew for the last few years that this day was coming. To the dismay of many, I had prepared a grave a month in advance for my friend because I knew when the time came, things had to be ready.
The night before the fateful day we played on the lawn; Dell had her dinner and was let out for the night with her friends Abby and Emma.
When Dell returned she looked wobbly and I thought she was going to have a seizure. She looked up at me in a confused way and immediately had a stroke. I had no sleep that night. I just kept petting her and telling her what a good girl she was and waited to make that dreaded phone call.
Dell is buried in her favorite spot – the pasture where she loved to work the sheep. One of my friends said that we made “some team” – and we did.