Cassius Clay was my purple ribbon pure-bred Staffordshire terrier who died at age 17. This is a section from the chapter about him in the book "Til Death Do Us Part?", available from Kindle or from the Store at www.ChristopherNyerges.com for far less than what you'd pay as a tip at a medium-priced restaurant.
You were always so happy to see me when I came to get you that it made me very happy too. When I briefly lived at my dad’s house, you were difficult at first, but then you could just come and go out the back yard at will, and you were always so happy to see me when I came in. I could tell you had some deep fear of being alone and you felt some deep inner relief that I was there.
You got me up early, and would bark to get me up and out. We walked every single day in the early mornings. In some ways, I feel that you kept me alive and going during those times. We’d walk in the rain or sun or dark, in the old neighborhood of Pasadena where I’d mentally review all my demons and old memories and I felt good and new having you with me.
When we walked near the intersection of Woodbury Road and Highland Avenue, there was this long row of bushes that you struggled to go to and to carefully sniff. “Let me see your picture,” I asked Cassie, thinking of the Leydecker book on animal communication. I felt it would make me closer to Cassie, understand him better, and make him feel good that he could share.
I just mentally asked him to share with me when we went by these bushes. Cassie always HAD to stop there and sniff and sniff and I’m sure it was the code of every dog that ever walked by there. It was a very important thing to Cassie to do this sniffing.
I asked him to share his picture, and I closed my eyes momentarily and I touched his head and I “saw” this wildly complicated picture of streams of what I would call molecules, or objects, in all geometric shapes, and all colored, and all in motion, and it all meant something to Cassie, but not much to me. When he sniffed, it was as if he was trying to make some order of the kaleidoscopic dynamic color of shapes, and determine what dogs came by, and when.
It was incomprehensible to me – but it occurred to me that that was in fact his mental picture of how he processed the information from his nose.
You were about 10 when I moved up to Altadena. I started to think and feel you would live forever. You were always there.
I was always afraid that you would get out and attack a horse, and one day, when I left the door open and was watering, I began to hear the horses making noise and sure enough, there you were down by the horses. I ran down the steps so fast, and my first sight was you flying through the air as a horse kicked you away. You got up and went back, and you got kicked again. I had to wait for the horse to move away before I could get your limp body out of there. I took you to the tub and washed you, and you were all swollen. I think you got kicked in the chest and in the head, not sure. But you didn’t do much for a few days and then you seemed to recover back to normal. I am certain that if a human received a kick like Cassie did, they’d be dead!
In these last five years, I realize that I structured my life around being able to be there for you and to care for you. I would rush home from the market on cold, rainy, overly hot, windy days to make sure you were OK. You just looked at me, and we went inside or walked. You then came in and slept.