I named him Ghost for the blog, because his original owner was briefly (and with regret) prominent in certain Libertarian circles and wanted no attention inadvertently drawn through association. Ghost was a better name – he was quiet until he didn’t want to be, and then he was noisy.
He was a little over a year old when I met him, and already in the habit of weekending over at S&L’s when he could sneak away. He was the youngest in a pack of four dogs and didn’t like it. All his life he wanted to be THE dog, and at the end he finally made it.
He wasn’t always nice about it.
He got that shiner in a fight with Claire’s pit bull Robbie. For the record Robbie didn’t give him the shiner, he got it when he drove Robbie broadside into Ian’s truck, and then face-planted into the left front wheel hub. Robbie wouldn’t come out from under Claire’s trailer for days; Ghost strutted around like he’d just won Olympic gold in boxing.
Oh, he loved to cause trouble. If he could get a rise out of a cow with a new calf he would drive her to stomping, slobbering madness – without ever paying the slightest attention to the calf. He wasn’t a ratter like Dharma and Magnus, he wasn’t a rabbit dog like LB. He’d chase anything that ran, but food came from bags and cans. Otherwise what were people for? He just liked to fight. He was a truck chaser and a tire biter, and quick enough to get away with both unsquashed. Nothing ever taught him humility.
I don’t know who started it, but he one time got into a fight with a big bobcat just down hill from the Interim Lair. I couldn’t shoot because they were both weaving around so much and the light was going. When the cat saw the big dogs and me rushing down the hill it ran away. Ghost chased, but I’ve seen him run faster. That was one of the few times he seemed to acknowledge a mistake.
We lived together for most of eight years, and he was never my dog. We got along okay most of the time but everything was a negotiation. He loved Landlady more than me, and he loved Neighbor L more than anybody.
Spent most of his life waiting for the chance to move in with her, and wasted not a moment once it finally came. In the end he got about a year and a half with her, and I’m glad. By then he was getting fat and slow. His prosperous retirement might or might not have hastened his end, I don’t know. But I’m quite certain he wouldn’t have had it any other way.
This morning he got a big turkey breakfast with all the trimmings. In full fine Ghost style he gave the vet a hard time about that first shot. But in the end he died in L’s arms, which is just as it should be. He’s buried on Boot Hill now with his first master – if he ever had a master – and the rest of his pack.