Oscar was a fine, fine dog. At 17 years old, he passed over the rainbow bridge today. I am honored to write a few words about him.
Oscar was a shelter dog, a terrier mix; stray dogs knew him as a terriorist. We called Oscar many things, thanks to Curtis’s humor. He was Mr. Waggy Tail, Mr. Dawdle Dog, Mr. Snorty Pig, Mr. Wiggle Waggle. While Curtis grilled outside after church, Oscar lolled by the tree as The Lord of the Yard. When visitors came, there was Dogdemonium. “Life is exciting when you’re a little dog,” Curtis would say. Oscar’s girlfriend was Jimmy’s little powderpuff dog across the street, Maggie, who barked at him like “You better come over here and see me!” In the house, Curtis and I kept a regular call-and-response down the hall: “He’s Not a Big Dog…” “He’s a Little Dog…” to roust him out of Curtis’s closet where only a nose stuck out from under the hanging clothes.
When we traveled the Little Dog Care Plan took him to Willow Run’s kennel, where they cared well for him and always commented on how healthy he was physically for an old dog. It was because of Curtis’s many daily walks with him over the years, as neither our house in North Carolina nor our house in Virginia had a fence. “To do a little dog walk, we must first start with a little dog,” Curtis would say, putting on his well-worn leash. Oscar was definitely a writer’s companion and figures in my journals and poetry, such as “Requiem for a Recliner.” I will always remember the day Carrie, Jamie, Curtis and I brought him home from the shelter 15 years ago – how could anyone abandon him! Because they did, we are forever grateful for our many years with him.
It’s hard to say goodbye. Oscar, like Cooper, the big red hound, before him, was family. We loved that our Episcopal churches in Manassas VA and Smithfield NC both invited pets into their sacred places with their “Blessing of the Animals” services. We are people of faith, and believe we will sense and know his presence again one day. Maggie, we are certain, has already welcomed him.
Bless, O Lord, your creature, Oscar, and fill our hearts with thanksgiving for his being. Rest in peace, faithful and well-loved little dog.