R.I.P. Meano: Best Dog Ever 2000-2011
He aggravated me in the mornings whistling for outdoor freedom.
Awaiting the tiniest bit of scrappy crumbs, he impolitely stared hard as I ate anything.
Even foods that wouldn't interest him like chocolate, fruits, and vegetables.
Only once had I seen him ever consume an orange carrot.
He strangely howled along with the ambulance trucks, gnawed nosily at the fleas on his back and tail, and at times he barked for no reason at all.
But he was a very good buddy.
The friendliest, most sweetest, most lovable pal anyone could ask for, especially from a woman who feared dogs her entire life.
When I first met Meano, a huge, gorgeous, mixed breed dog, six years ago, I pleaded for him to be put outside every time I came over.
Gradually, after a few hesitant pets on the head and the occasional lap humping that male dogs love to do, we became good friends.
In the vast, opened backyard where the big protector roamed free with lively, exuberant energy, I would watch him growl and chase strangers, run after the neighbors' small white dogs, beg for scraps of food, and sit underneath huge tree shades to catch his breath.
Panting with his long pink tongue out and smiling, he was easily the happiest dog in the world.
We would go on wonderful journeys together around the neighborhood and beyond, star gaze on the roof, and sit in front of the fireplace on wintry nights, his head nestled in my lap as I stroked his fur.
At restaurants, he was boxed actual doggy bags- favorite most likely a big Styrofoam container of Tanks Bar and Grill French fries, rippled potato chips, and leftover burger platters.
A great, patient sitter, he was a perfect subject for many artworks over the years too.
Two months ago, on a late afternoon at Riverscape was one of the last times I ever saw him.
He rudely placed himself into my lap, scaring me away from typing.
Before I could ask why this dog was being bothersome, I looked up, exclaimed, "Meano!" and petted him with heady enthusiasm. Happy to see his marble cake face- yes, I always thought he reminded me of yellow and chocolate cake- his soft, velvety fur all rich browns and golden undertones.
I thought he would live forever.
Well, at least a longer time.
Though a bit lazy in house, seeing him in the yard, his haven, he ruled with fiery, abundant spirit.
I recall every adventure walking, skipping, running, and laughing.
He enjoyed smelling every tree, jumping in crushed leaves with me, treading through white, fallen snow, encountering stray dogs, watching birds, even a little duck that slowed down traffic for crossing the street, and that one rare moment we saw a red fox underneath the highway.
I have missed him, but it's even more painful now that he's truly gone.
On Sunday night, he left the earth.
And it hurts so much.
It cuts like a knife to the heart when someone you love has passed away.
I hope that he knew that I did love him.
That I still do.
And I find myself crying at the oddest moments and places, staring at saved pictures and wishing that I had taken more.
He was the best dog ever.
One of the truest friends I ever had the pleasure of meeting.