Yesterday marked ninth anniversary of the day that my Briggsy Bubba Border Collie was recycled back into the Universe.
That means almost 20 years ago my adventures in red doggedness began. It’s strange to look at the pack now and see no red border collies gazing back at me (I’m really going to have to do something about that one of these days). There’s just Woo, who in his orangeness is not quite red … and not quite a border collie.
I volunteer as tribute.
I was feeling a bit melancholy about the anniversary of his passing, and missing Tweedles too, and had planned to a little post honouring his memory. But yesterday became a very sad day in its own right.
Yesterday, the gates of Hell opened up and swallowed back one of its minions when the legendary Tempus Fugit passed away suddenly. He developed a blood clot at the diverticula where the aortic vessels branches off into the two femoral arteries. His hind quarters stopped receiving blood flow and he was paralyzed. His kidneys stopped receiving blood flow and were shutting down. And his body was not able to dissolve the clot. And after 24 hours of hoping for progress, his humans made the kindest decision and released him from his pain.
Right now, Tempus is looking up at us (because he surely went to Hell) and smugly gloating that he didn’t give up his fatal blood clot and managed to resource guard it bitterly to the end, and he won. For this is the only way that a dog like Tempus could go out; he would get something fatally strange, and he’d keep it because damn it, it’s his and he’d bite anyone who tried to take it away.
Does it sound like I’m making light of the passing of a dog I loved very much, and who was loved very much by my best friend? I’m sure it does, but I’m really not. Tempus was an extremely disturbed little dog with a myriad of behavioural issues that would have worn down most owners – I certainly could not have lived with him. He was a Terrier with a Capital T. He was a consummate resource guarder, he had severe barrier frustration, he had all kinds of intensely bizarre quirks and you’d need a really big sack in which to stuff all the triggers that would send him into FURY. He’d bite you as soon as look at you if you rubbed him the wrong way, and his entire life he tried to bite (and sometimes was successful) Fiona when she put him in a crate in the car. And he *loved* Fiona – but was an equal opportunity biter. He could hold a grudge like you wouldn’t believe – way back in the day when we all played flyball, one time Tweed got all excited and nipped Tempus when he passed him in the lane. Tem waited for A WHOLE OTHER TOURNAMENT to get his revenge; he sped toward the first hurdle, stopped and turned around, came racing back and bit ME in the ankle, then resumed his run. Because I belonged to Tweed and by doG, someone was going to pay for that nip A MONTH AGO. He was truly a terrible, vindictive little animal.
He was also an amazing flyball dog, and a successful agility dog. And he could be freakin’ adorable when the mood struck him. He could be amazingly cuddly. He loved puppies. He head humped Peetie with gusto. And he was always so happy to see his friends. He lived his life hard and he was hard to live with. He also lived an AMAZING life, because his human accepted him for who and what he was (demon spawn) and worked not against him but rather around him. I don’t think she and her hubby have been on more than one vacation in 13 years because you certainly couldn’t leave Temmy with someone else; you’d have come home to a dead dog sitter and Tem resource guarding the corpse. They worked with him on what they could, and accepted what they couldn’t, and gave him a life that 99% of people in this world could never have offered the shifty little bastard. They saved him from himself countless times and set him up for safety and success over and over and over. He was possibly the luckiest dog in the world.
It’s the truly stand out dogs that make the deepest impressions on our soul (though Tempus probably stole some of our souls and ate them). Every one of our dogs leaves their mark and leaves sadness in their place when they go. But it’s the truly remarkable dogs, the really good ones, and the REALLY bad ones, that depart this mortal coil as legends. And Tempus was nothing if not legendary.
I went to see him yesterday at critical care and said my goodbyes to that fine little shithead of a dog. My world is a little emptier without him. Fiona’s is a whole lot emptier. But he’s still with us, because there are dozen, thousands, countless tales of his veracity, his antics and his temper. There will never be another Tempus, which is a good thing – but there will never be an end to the stories about him we could tell, and will tell, over and over again.
So raise a glass tonight in his honour, and tell someone you love a tale of a dog that you loved deeply, in Temmy’s honour.
The Terrier Minions compel you.
Wendy Marsh says
That was a wonderful tribute to a VERY lucky dog. Love to hear of dogs that get such an amazing chance at a good life!
Can you tell me what kind of terrier is on the right in your “terrier minions” picture at the end of this post?
p.s. congratulations on the new home and property!
The Food Lady says
That’s a picture of Spring and Winter! I assume they are borderjacks, but don’t know for sure – they both came from the same animal control shelter in the same small town about 2 years apart, so pretty sure they are siblings. Spring is a little more whippety looking than Winter, who looks very borderjack.
Laura in California says
I remember that picture of Briggs, made my heart skip a beat. And then the news about Tempus. You’ve written about that little devil for a long time, he’s the reason why I know what a borderjack is and why I’ll never, ever have one :-)
What a great tribute you wrote and what a loss for your Fiona and everyone that knew him.
My sympathies to all.
PS Please do something about not having a red border collie!
Well, Sheena. If your new dog-adventure endeavor doesn’t take off, you’ve got a bright future ahead of you writing obituaries, because THAT was a spectacular obit for what sounds like a legendary dog. Please give our condolences to Fiona. Way to love a dog!
Wendy Marsh says
We have just adopted a little girl who’s face and body look EXTREMELY similar to Winter. I never thought of a Borderjack, but it sure makes sense for our Ella now that you’ve said it! Thanks!
I remember Briggs!! Seems like forever ago. Sigh.
Sorry to hear about Tempus. Sounds like he was one of a kind…
I found your blog years ago and remember Red. I remember being so sad to hear about his passing…and kept up with your blog for quite awhile, and then kind of fell out of the loop. When I checked back today this is the post I stumbled upon. I love seeing your pics and reading the funny commentary that comes along with it!!