Winter 1998 to Summer 2011
Back in ’97, Lori got her mind set on getting a dog. We’d just moved to the country with a yard big enough for one to run around in and she started talking. Every once in a while, Lori sets her mind to something that I just can’t get in the way of. No matter how much I resisted, she insisted that we were going to get a dog. I remember arguing about it at the dinner table one evening in the early winter of ’97 and it dawned on me that this was one of those moments where I needed to say ok.
But I didn’t.
At least, not right away.
Shortly thereafter, I remember installing Microsoft Dogs on my computer at work and running the ‘dog matching’ program. Lori wanted a lab or golden retriever. I wanted nothing to do with a crotch sniffing, 150 lb drooling child intimidator or a yippy loopy mutt that piddles on the floor when you walk into the room. The program asked all the right questions and narrowed down on a collie.
I believe it was only a few hours later (maybe the next day or two) when I got the phone call at work that she’d brought a full grown up – looking – puppy home. This thing had an adult face, big paws and a little puppy body. That flea bag got his first bath in the laundry room sink.
It didn’t take long before that designer dog got a designer name: Eddie Bauzer. Yep, named after the designer (Eddie Bauer). This tri-colored show dog came from a family of ribbon winners and he had a coat to match that calling. Yet, showing dogs wasn’t something we’d do, so he had to settle with just being a family member.
And so that’s what he did.
Every opportunity that he got, he spent his time with the kids. With his youthful energy, it fit in really well with the girls. Having a natural herding instinct, when the girls would run in the back yard, Eddie would chase after them and nip on their clothing or bump their heels. He’d bark in a playful way and even though kids would hold their hands over their ears, they’d learn quickly that Eddie had many different types of barks.
There was the welcome bark, which lasted about 30 seconds. There as the deer chasing bark that you’d hear when he was a few hundred yards about struggling to get through sticker bushes on the tail of a fresh scent. There was the ‘I’m scared let me in’ bark – which we’d hear late at night if we forgot to let him in. Then, there as the obsessive barking at ghosts that he developed as he got old. During holiday parties, that greeting bark became so out of control, that Eddie got to learn how a muzzle felt around his snout. He hated that thing. I’m sure he considered it a timeout and immediately after we took it off, he’d wipe his face on the wool rug. Lol.
Yet, we couldn’t have gotten a better fit for our family. He barked at reasonable times in a meaningful way (most of the time). He never growled, but in play. It was a non-aggressive growl.
One of the things that we all found very interesting about Eddie was that he learned to pet people back. In the above picture where Eddie and I are ‘wrestling’ he was pretending to pet me while petting his own leg. His way of petting was to put his snout up against you and ‘gum’ you. All the while, he’d be vocalizing ‘woo woo woo woo woo…” Like gently itching a flea bit.
Of all the dogs I’ve ever known, Eddie has the most gentle with his mouth. If you’d give him a scrap from the table, he’d gently lean forward, turn his head slightly and almost gum it out of your hand with his mouth. Until he got really old, you never had to worry about your fingers. Even if he did ‘get them’, it was never a bite, but rather a gumming.
Even though he loved going places, he had a hard time in the truck. From the moment we’d get rollin’ he’d get droolin’. You could say it was a form of motion sickness. If we rolled the window down for him (which he loved) the drool for fly out of his mouth leaving long sticky trails of slobber along the side windows. A friend once identified our common green expedition by the drool along the side. I’ll never forget having to wash that off.
One of his favorite places to go was the cabin. As a puppy, we’d let him out and within a few minutes, he’d be black from his toes to his chest. Even though he hated water and would – never – swim, he’d run in the creek. I remember someone throwing him in Lake Whatcom on a hot summer day. The look of terror in his eyes just that once was enough to get me to be his guardian for life. That long thick fur would hold so much water that he could barely keep his nose up to breathe. Unlike the big chested labs, this skinny guy learned to avoid the dock when anyone made a move to toss him in.
Yet he loved it in the woods. Every time the girls stepped out, you couldn’t hold him back. If they went to the pulley swing, he’d race after them trying to grab the rope to slow them down. If they went down to the big swing, he’d bark and get in the way enough to get clobbered by the kid on the swing on their return trip. You’d heard him “wolf wolf wolf, yip, yart” as he lowered his tailed and head to retreat. It got to the point where we had to tie him up for the few minutes that the kids would be on the swing.
I love this picture. One weekend years ago, we camped in the north cascades. We’d driven up the road to a waterfall, stopped and went to check it out. When we came back we found Eddie playing innocent behind the wheel. Never did get to find out where he went, yet, he never really went far.
On the inside, he was a real baby. I don’t know what got him on the chair during this ice storm, but when a thunder-head came over he always found his way into bed. He’d whine and try to bury his head in the covers. I saw him hide under tables and put his nose in the corner. That barking from above never set right with him.
In his younger years, he’d actually run and jump into our bed at night as we were getting ready to call it an evening. Lori would give his ears a rubbing and all the while, he’d keep his mouth shut. This didn’t last longer than a couple minutes before the bedding heated him up enough that he could no longer stand it and he’d jump off panting up a storm. To cool off, he’d lay against the base of the front door where the ground was cool. Must people fight with their dogs to get them to stay at the door. Eddie choose this as one of his favorite spots (the floor was always cold there).
He had a really big heart. Every time the girls would bring up a new critter (kittens, bunnies, hamsters and what not) Eddie would spend hours trying to figure out how to mother them. It was almost obsessive. He’d cry and want to nuzzle the critter, but it always scared the living daylights out of whatever it was. With most dogs, you have to prevent it from killing the critter, with this dog, we had to protect them from being overly mothered.
His real joy was the backyard. When he was a puppy, we put in an invisible fence to keep him from chasing the deer way back into the woods. This became the territory that he protected. If the deer walked by, he’d race to the edge of the property and bark. If the bunnies entered the yard, he’d race down and chase them back into the woods. After they’d moved on, he’d come back to the deck proud of his work
He was kind of a creature of habit. He’d walk the same trail along the yard and never poop in it. When looking to do his business, he’d place his nose down and venture off the trail until he found just the right spot to squat. But his squats where not like other dogs. Nope, he’d wattle forward in a half circle while pooping. It was like he was outlining the crescent moon every time he did his duty!
As he got older and lost his ability to bark, he’d ‘whaff’ in a horsed wide-mouth whisper at the critters that passed by, but he never lost his dedication to protecting his family and environment. If someone in the family got in a fight, he’d always find his way in between the two people. He’d just stand there, but it was his non-aggressive way of keeping people apart. Even though he couldn’t hear, he never lost his enthusiasm to wag his tail. Even though he could barely stand, he never lost his desire to want to go.
I’m going to miss Eddie. We’ll all miss Eddie. He was a sweet, loyal, curl up at your feet kind of dog that always wanted to do the right thing. I never saw him get angry. I saw him share. All the other dogs always wanted to play with him. Everyone that met Eddie loved him. Even the cats tolerated him.
There are lots of good memories and, as best as I can remember, no really bad ones. If he did something wrong, he knew it. If he did something right, he did it a number of times.
He lived to please.
You will be missed.