Tuesday, July 06, 2004

News I hoped would never come. Hobo died on July 3. He was 8 1/2. Diagnosed with bone cancer a year ago, the disease could not diminish his happy nature, or sunny disposition. He liked everyone, and everyone liked him, even people who do not much care for dogs. He often displayed his affection by backing up and sitting on your lap, with his front feet on the floor. He liked to play with toys, especially empty plastic soda and milk jugs, and plush squeaky toys, which he would promptly eviscerate. All dogs are wonderful to dog lovers, and everyone thinks their own dog is special, but some dogs are extra special. Hobo was one of the extra special ones, handsome both inside and out, and he will be very much missed by all who knew him.

There are a thousand stories, and here is just one. Rudy and Hobo were buddies. A few years ago, before we had a good fence, when Rudy was more active, he escaped, and was galloping around the big field. He does not "mind," which is a combination of my fault (I never taught him), life in a village (he never gets a chance to run in Castleton), and his hound ancestors. I was in a panic. Hobo was asleep on the grass nearby. He was a very obedient dog, always minded. Upon hearing the commotion, he stood up, all serious and observant like a soldier, and without waiting to be told, in a second he was off like a shot, running full tilt to Rudy, where he rounded him up and brought him back to safety, job proudly accomplished.

Before he got sick, he would take a two or three mile daily morning walk with my father. When Hobo could no longer go for long walks, my father would instead drive him to my house in the morning, where he would sniff around, go in the stream, and just generally be a dog. On the weekends, when we were there, he would come inside and visit us for a while too. Even before his illness, during their morning walks, they would stop by. We could always tell Hobo was on his way. In the past, my dogs would spot him coming down the road: prancing at the end of his leash, moving along at quite a pace, headed toward our house. More recently, we could hear him announcing his arrival, barking in excitement in the car, from a quarter mile down the road.

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