Monday, December 5, 2022

His Name Was Mason

{Note to my followers:  The following is lengthy and it is not my expectation that you read it, nor do I expect comments should you decide to read it.  I wrote this for remember and perhaps even heal a little.  (Thank you to the blog pal who suggested least in concept.  And thank you to everyone who reached out to me by message or email and all of you who left comments on my last post.  I treasure them more than I can express in words.)  I did not intend to go MIA (again), but the pain and loss was deeper than I even thought it could be.  And immediately after I lost him, I got COVID and had some other medical (and non-medical) issues come up. Hopefully this exercise will be a step back to blogging and the world that is far kinder and caring than my "other" world.}

His name was Mason...

I do not know why my son chose to name him that, but he did...and he was, after all, my son's dog...technically.  (Why have you never heard me call him anything other than "Snowdog"?  Well, back when this whole blogging journey began (forever ago), the mistrustful skeptical dubious cynical wary (overly) cautious "attorney" me used pseudonyms for family members.  After a while, he was always just Snowdog to me.)

Except he was never, ever, "just" Snowdog.  He was something someone wonderfully extraordinary from the onset.  But I got ahead of myself...back to being my son's dog.  When my son was 16 or 17, his friend got a Siberian Husky pup.  My son went with his friend to pick the pup up and learned there was one pup left in the litter that had not been adopted...and my son was smitten.  He called me at work and asked/begged/pleaded for me to say he could have it.  I said no for some very legitimate reasons:  We already had a dog (yes, Gazoo was a small dog...a little Shih Tzu...but a dog nonetheless) and two cats and one very small teeny tiny house.  My son was not particularly helpful in caring for those pets (nor was my husband) and I was stretched beyond my limits the way it was (for many reasons) and, somehow, I knew a new dog would, ultimately, also become my responsibility.  Not just feeding...but the training, attention, grooming, vet trips, etc. In addition, I wasn't particularly a "dog" person.  I was a cat person.  (Don't misinterpret that - I adored our little Gazoo...he was absolutely precious and one could not ask for a better behaved dog (and he was shed-less and hypo-allergenic) to boot. But cats aren't quite as needy and they are soft and cuddly...or maybe it was just a genetic thing on my part, who knows.)  My answer was no.

My son kept pleading.  He felt sorry for this remaining pup and suggested that it wasn't likely to get the best of care if it remained with its owner.  (Yes, there is a bit of attorney in him too I fear.)  I had a court appearance looming and didn't have time for this.  I finally asked him what kind of dog?  His answer: A Siberian Husky.  That sealed it.  I said absolutely not - they were runners, chewers and shedders.  (When my husband and I were first married, we had a Siberian we named Meisha..and Meisha was all three of those.... She got hit on the road in front of our house one night and, of course, I was alone to deal with it as my "husband" was hours away.)  And, lastly, and perhaps the real reason I was so adamant about no more dogs...I bond too deeply with my pets and cannot heal from losing them.  So my answer was still no and a resounding no at that.  And that was the end of it.

Only it wasn't.

When I finally got home from work that night, my husband said something about our son and dinner that night.  I responded that I didn't think our son would be talking to me for a while and told him about our conversation.  "Husband" became awkwardly quiet...and eventually confessed that he told our son he could have the dog...and, yes...he KNEW our son had already asked me and I had already said no.  I had been completely undermined as a parent and I was completely livid.

The puppy made his appearance a short while later and so life with Mason did the bond.  He was impossibly adorable.  Of course...what puppy isn't? Especially a Siberian pup?? (Where are the puppy photos Robin??  I don't know.  The ones on the phone I had at the time disappeared and were irretrievable when the phone malfunctioned and died...and if I had any printed photos, they disappeared during WWR.)    He was timid and shy as far as puppies go - his favorite place to sleep was curled up in the pile of shoes that accumulated by the front door.  (Don't judge...our house was small, really small...remember?)

The days slipped by as they tend to do and Mason grew.  In hindsight, he was almost impossibly good.  He was potty-trained almost effortlessly, and did not chew anything.  About the only shenanigan I can pin on him is that one time (while under my son's watch) he got into my bags of wool strips. I don't remember anything other than the bags the strips were in being damaged but I realize many things are remembered more kindly than they were in reality.  It did, however, take some time to break him from trying to cross the road to get to the field on the other side; but eventually he learned.  He would often go to visit the next farm down when they got a little dog he liked to play with, and up until his passing, he would wander the wooded area to the east side of our property (his path is still visible) but somehow he learned to not cross the road and stay on our side.  

When my son bought his own house, we discussed "custody and placement" of Mason.  At that point, I was no longer working full time (I was teaching law at the university, but certainly not on a full-time basis) and my son was working more than full time.  Mason had gotten accustomed to going out when he pleased and had never been kenneled or chained.  (No judging please...that's the way it is done in very rural woebegone areas like Nod).   In addition, the house my son purchased was on a road that was much more highly trafficked than our little lane here in Nod.  We decided that it would be in Mason's best interest to stay with me and, truth be told, he was, at that point, more my dog than my son's.  And stay with me he did.

Much had changed in my life up to that point, and not always for the better.  But Mason was always there.  My son moved further away, my "husband" checked (further) out, I stopped  teaching and, always an introvert, my life unintentionally morphed more into that of a hermit's.  But Mason was always there. Always.

There's a reason that dogs are considered man's best friend - and no one took his commission more seriously than Mason.  He loved people with all his heart and even people who weren't dog - or even pet - people had a change of heart when they came to know Mason.  UPS and Fed Ex drivers loved him, brought him treats, and always took time to spend a few precious minutes petting him.  One day, however, there was a new and, apparently, skittish, UPS driver.  When he saw Mason making toward his truck, he ran back in.  Mason jumped in the truck with him wondering where his treat was.

  (During WWR, Mason would sit on this large rock waiting for the contractors to arrive.  Eventually the landscapers decided to landscape around it and officially dubbed it "Mason's Rock.")

One of those non-pet "converts," was a neighbor I had met a few years ago.  Despite my hermitage, she would venture over on occasion and Mason, who was starved, by this time, for human company other than mine, could hardly contain his excitement when she visited.  She started bringing him a new toy most every time she visited - sometimes, not even a dog toy - just a small stuffed toy.  He was gentle with his toys and if stuffing ever came out of any, it was a poorly sewn seam so, eventually, he accumulated an impressive collection.  When the neighbor visited, however, he would go and find the exact toy she had brought the last time - even if had been months prior -  and bring it to her.  Once he got it wrong and I told him so...and he went back and found the right one.

I know every one who loves their pet in the manner which they deserve to be loved believes them to be human-ish...and special in ways no other pet is.  I know this to be true...but Mason...ahhh, sweet Mason was smarter and more human than any dog should be.  I guess after years of it being just him and me and us being together 24/7 for the most part, he learned to understand things that dogs shouldn't understand.  What a bittersweet blessing - it made losing him an all-consuming, heart-wrenching, sorrow.

His name was Mason.

I did not even call him by his proper name in my last post.

He was so many things to me...and I called him by many names:

Snowdog, Mason Malone, Baby Boy, Puppy, and, yes, Mason.

His name was Mason.