I don’t mean to be that guy that milks every bit of sympathy from a tragic situation in a cry for attention. But I’m also that guy that rides around the country with a dog on a motorcycle and routinely tells personal details that should definitely not be told, so it’s pretty obvious that I’m already half a bubble off of level. And besides, Ajax deserves a better send off than he has received, and I owe him that much at the very least.
Ajax was meant to be a traveling dog to fill the spot left by the death of Bull Taco. The Humane Society must have been smoking crack that day, as they told me that they had a litter of chihuahua newborns that had been dumped on their doorstep. As you know, Ajax turned out to have as much Chihuahuan lineage as I do Samoan, and in one of those weird twists of life, turned out to be physical replacement for Mad Max the terrier instead of Bull the Taco. Max also had tragically lost his life shortly before Bull, and l life at the Casa progressed onwards.
As it always does.
I used to think that there could never be a more loyal dog than Max until Ajax. Even Charlie has her moments, usually before bedtime, where she wants a little separation before making her way to the bedroom to commandeer the real estate, but never Ajax. Even if I got up in the middle of the night and the other dogs, realizing that a trip to the kitchen was not in the cards remained inert, Ajax was always right there behind me. A true example of his insane loyalty was most evident when it was time to go for a ride; although absolutely terrified of riding in a car, he still wanted to go. I knew it wasn’t a good idea, as he would pant, whine, and shake the entire time, but I’m a pushover for bushy eyebrows and the hairy little knucklehead would usually get his way. I would then have to endure an Oscar-worthy performance of canine angst for the duration, but he would always be ready when it was time to go again.
But he was incredibly stealthy as well, a fat little ninja. In the wee hours, I would feel the lightest footfall on my chest, then another, like I wasn’t aware, until he would have his hairy maw directly in my grill. I didn’t dare to open my mouth to tell him to get his porky butt back under the covers, as he always had his lizard-like tongue poised to strike at my uvula. I probably shouldn’t admit that I have inadvertently had the roof of my mouth licked by a dog more times than I care to recount, but there you have it.
And his tenacity was legendary amongst the inmates of the Casa del Whackos. Although a quarter of the size of the other dogs, I can’t remember a single time that he was not declared victor in the Battle of the Precious Stick. What he lacked in size, he made up for in determination and laser-like focus; the saying “it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog” was scripted directly for him.
And now he’s gone. There’s an empty space behind my knees where he used to sleep that is dwarfed in size by the empty hole in my heart. I’m pretty sure the mass from those two black holes has moved both upwards and downwards and combined into the boulder that has taken up residence in my gut.
But eventually the pain will leave and only the memories will remain. As long as a man’s or dog’s stories are remembered and recounted, then he is immortal.
Ajax the Invincible, inscrutable to the last.
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