Goodbye, Desert Dog

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.

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He was the only one of us who never lived anywhere else. T got him from a local shelter, and that’s all I know about where he came from. He came from the desert.

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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.

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But I remember him as the only real desert dog. All the others were transplants, and showed it. But Ghost belonged here.

He wasn’t always nice about it.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Rest in peace, buddy.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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17 Responses to Goodbye, Desert Dog

  1. GregT says:

    RIP, Ghost. Rest easy, ya old dog you.
    All of them that we get to know are certainly characters in this play, every one memorable. Thanks for the shenanigans, Ghost, and thanks Joel for introducing him to the world at large. Immortality of a sort, I guess.

  2. DT says:

    Awesome eulogy

  3. free.and.true says:

    Godspeed, Ghost old boy. You were one lucky dog whether you knew it or not.

    {sobs}

  4. Mike says:

    Right up until the end Ghost was loved, even with all his faults. He was cared for and loved as well as any friend could be which is all any dog could ever ask. I know from reading the blog that Ghost wasn’t in the best of health these past few months, but now the suffering is done and the poor old fella can rest easy.

  5. Claire says:

    What a great tribute, Joel. And thank you for the photos.

    I’d remembered Robbie hiding under the trailer and refusing to come out. That was typical Robbie — a bully, then a coward (though I loved him for his ridiculousness). But I’d forgotten Ghost giving himself a shiner in the process. Oh man. That’s funny in retrospect. It wasn’t particularly at the time. For all we knew, Robbie was under there bleeding out because Ghost had chewed him up. Actually only his pride was hurt.

    Ghost wasn’t Mr. Lovable, but you’ve summed him up well. He was the ultimate independent desert dog and for all his complaints about having to put up with other dogs, he had a happy life.

  6. Tennessee Budd says:

    Well done, Joel.
    RIP, Ghost, you incorrigible bastard.

  7. Matt says:

    Safe Travels, Ghost!

  8. Phil says:

    Damn Joel that is quite the write up for the Ol’ Feller.
    I’ve been reading your stuff and following your exploits for several years at this point so I remember quite a few Ghost stories.
    I’m sure you will never forget him.

  9. Klaus says:

    Nicely said Joel. It’s getting dusty in here.

  10. coloradohermit says:

    Thanks for sharing Ghost with us Joel.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Just have to thank my great neighbor Joel for helping me with our boy Squeeks last hours. He meant the world to me because well, he loved me to. As difficult as it was to let him go, as Joel has said. It was time. Putting him in his grave site next to all of his long lost buddies was both bitter and sweet. Glad he is right here where I can still go visit him. A friend sent me a copy of the “Rainbow Bridge” in short, I will see him again. Goodbye my dear old friend…from your mama.

  12. vorkosigan says:

    Thank you Joel. Best eulogy for an ornery dog I’ve ever read Rest easy, Ghost and know that you will be remembered. Damn. getting dusty in here… ,

  13. feralfae says:

    That’a a lovely eulogy, Joel. And my condolences to you on the loss of a friend. Maybe a curmudgeonly old crabby (and sometimes even downright mean) friend, but nonetheless, a friend. There’s an empty place in the chain of life in the desert now. RIP, Ghost.

  14. John says:

    Magnificent eulogy. RIP desert dog.

  15. Steve Diaz says:

    it is rare that you encounter an Independent dog. Most of the breed turn themself inside out becoming your best friend..And we love them for it.
    But having a dog that pretty much can take you or leave you is a whole nother deal. you almost have to treat them as an equal.
    good way to learn about different personalities. The lessons learned from both types of dogs can be applied to humans.
    Great eulogy for a God Damn Independent, as they use to say in college…( non – frat member)

  16. Jeff says:

    RIP Ghost. Thank you for the write up, Joel. That little guy was loved well.

  17. Dang. Who wouldn’t trade a year of their life for a dog that lasted as long as we do…
    Thanks for posting this up, Joel.

To the stake with the heretic!