Tao of the Dog: Sitting Pretty

Years ago when we were taking both Cheyenne and Jetson to Sit Means Sit here in Austin, we were told by one of the instructors that dogs have two ways to sit. One is the straight-forward one leg on either side position that most dogs do, while the other is more relaxed, where the dog has both hind legs to one side and is leaning essentially on their hip. The relaxation distinction was important to the lessons at Sit Means Sit, because they were all about trying to keep your reactive dogs calm and whatnot. These days, Cheyenne only sits with both legs out to one side, but I don’t think it’s because she’s relaxed… she’s just old.

Cheyenne is getting on in years… nine by our count. She had ACL surgery a while back, and though she loves to play fetch, it’s not great for her legs. We have to limit her to a handful of throws and make sure we throw it in such a way that she won’t be spinning around or changing direction quickly.

She sleeps a lot more these days, and if she thinks we don’t notice, she’s wrong. Recently, she has taken to sleeping in El Matador’s room, especially if we’ve still got lights on the bedroom and she wants somewhere dark to put down. It’s important to stop and think about your pets from time to time. Before you know it, you’ll be writing their quasi-obituary and trying to capture everything that was wonderful about them.

She’s grown more demanding in her old age. Breakfast is at six, but don’t think for a second she won’t be sitting by your side of the bed at 5:30 a.m. just waiting for you to wake up. Dare to get up late? She’ll yip and bark after 30 seconds past 6:00 a.m. She’ll yip and bark at the door to go out. She’ll yip and bark at a French fry that has fallen under the table that she’s too scared to reach for. These yips and barks will pierce the otherwise silent house and often make you pee a little. So at least she’s keeping us on our toes.

Anyway, just wanted to share some pics.

Mind Your Burrito, Jesus

It is one of the great tragedies of our age that, outside of myself, Dom, and a few trainers, no one else truly understands the joy and wonder that was Jetson Hamish Pharrell Butthole Verastiqui. He was more than man’s best friend; he was a brother, protector, snuggler, and most often, food-stealer. He had a growl that could frighten the devil and a face you couldn’t help but love. He is family, and now our family is a little less in his absence.

We met Jetson only seven years ago. He came from a shelter in San Antonio, both underweight and sick. Unlike Cheyenne, who is often aloof to our presence, Jetson welcomed the love and attention. Once he learned that he was part of the pack, that we would love and protect him, and most importantly, that we would feed him on a regular basis, he began giving love back to us.

I’ve sometimes referred to Jetson as my writing partner, but it’s not in a cutesy way in which I imply he puts his paws on the keyboard and smashes out a few sentences. Whether it was the early morning or late at night, Jetson was always by my side when I was writing. If I hit a wall, I’d turn and pet him for a while. I’d bounce ideas off him. And when I finished a chapter, he would be there to look at me as if I were the most amazing person in the world.

Jetson was diagnosed with lymphoma in July of 2020. The vet wasn’t sure how much time he had, but in the months that followed, we tried to be respectful and thankful for each additional day. The cancer attacked his system, the steroids made him ravenous, but Jetson did his best to take it all in stride and still be his natural goofy self.

He began to counter surf a lot, but we looked the other way. He ate cookies, M&Ms (full bags, both varieties), loaves of bread, raw ground sausage still in the styrofoam tray, bags of popcorn, sandwiches, blocks of cheese, an entire chicken drumstick, bone and all, etc., etc… We tried to be more careful, but that just made him sneakier. Aside from being concerned for his safety (seriously, an entire bone), we couldn’t really be mad at him.

I could tell you every Jetson story I have, but according to science, there is only a finite amount of space on the internet. So I’ll just tell you this: he was the absolute best.

He was love in dog form.

Jetson went to sleep on January 12, 2021 in his home, surrounded by his family, and with a belly full of McNuggets.

He will be missed forever.

Our hope is that he is lounging on the grass in the hot sun in Heaven, just waiting for Jesus to get distracted so he can steal his burrito.

You get that burrito, Jetson.

Good boy.