An Ode To Noah

Noah came to live with us when he was about 10 months old; we rescued him from taking the long walk at the Humane Society kennel in Santa Rosa. It was my son’s fifteenth birthday, and he wanted a dog, swearing up & down that he would take responsibility for its’ care. Pets were always part of family life when I grew up, and our last dog had been gone for a bit over a year, so it was time to expand the family once again.

As Cory and I walked down the aisle between cages at the kennel, a large variety of dogs started a welcoming cacophony of different barks; shrill tiny ones, deep booming ones, polite yips, all blended together in an almost desperate frenzy, as each animal, many of them almost frantic, tried to get our attention. Some pawed at the gate, some jumped up, some looked nervous, others looked friendly, and all of them, it seemed, were making noise. As we drew near the last cage in the aisle, we saw a medium-sized black and white dog, not barking, not jumping, just sitting down, leaning against the wall by the gate. He was looking me right in the eyes with an expression on his face that just said, “get me out of here, please!”. What could we do? He was obviously our dog, and he realized it too. We told him we’d be right back, and went back to announce our choice, and complete the paperwork.

The attendant brought Noah in to us just as I finished. He still looked a bit nervous, but calm. That is, he was calm until I clasped his new collar around his neck and hooked on his leash. All of a sudden, he realized he wasn’t going back into the kennel, and he was immediately a new dog, wagging his tail furiously, looking at us with his eyes shining, almost dancing and vibrating in his eagerness to go. As we walked back to the van, he walked proudly in front of us, looking back every few steps to make sure we were still there, tail and ears up, a very happy dog…..

Noah settled into the family immediately. He proved to be very well-mannered, both with people, and in his habits. When on walks, he would stop to sniff, and lift his leg, on every interesting bush and tree, just like any other male dog. But when he had to do his secondary business, he made it clear he preferred to go behind a bush, or somewhere out of the way, and preferably out of sight. He would assume a very embarrassed expression when not sufficiently hidden from sight, and would turn away, as if he felt guilty. A very private, discreet individual, to say the least. If he had been overlong between walks, and was so much in a hurry that he made a mistake on the sidewalk, he would act just like a cat, and pretend that it had not happened. What mess? Who me? I don’t know what you’re talking about…..
Noah was an extremely intellingent dog; I’ve known a great many animals in my time on this old planet, and he’s one of the smartest I’ve ever been around. When he came to live with us, he already knew how to sit on command (both voice and hand), to lie down, and to stay. Actually, he had a little trouble with the whole concept of stay; he didn’t like being left alone, and would often follow after a minute or two; it’s like he just didn’t want to believe we really MEANT for him to stay. He figured he should be with us so he could do his job. As long as he could see us, he’d stay where he was; if he couldn’t, he believed it was his place to find us, and we just couldn’t come to terms; on this point he was firm.

We also never had to teach Noah any tricks, as he seemed to have figured stuff out on his own, and his way was definitely cool….the first time I ever gave him a treat (a milk bone), I showed it to him and told him to sit. He sat. I told him to speak, and he gave one quick howl. I held out my hand, & he offered his own to shake. I straightened up, tossed the treat in the air, and watched him not just catch it, but after making the in-air snag, he tossed it back up into the air. He watched it hit the floor, whereupon he dove on top of it, rolled over, and did a happy dance, by twisting his back and hips as if scratching his back on the floor. I swear, he looked just like Snoopy doing the Dance of Joy. When he was done dancing on his back, he rolled over and proceeded to enjoy his milk bone, with a big twinkle in his eye. I always wanted to video the move to submit it for Stupid Pet Tricks on the Letterman Show, but never had a camera handy when he performed his feat, so Noah missed his chance for stardom.

Noah’s gotten old now; we just observed his 17th birthday in February of this year, so in dog years, he’s going on 120 or so. He can’t hear anything but very loud noises, and can’t see more than a few feet, and I suspect that is mostly shadows and moving light. I’m afraid he will be passing on soon, as he can no longer get up without assistance, and cannot control his bodily functions. I sometimes feel like I should have him put down, to ease his pains, but he doesn’t act as if he is hurting, and I can tell he enjoys just lying around and sleeping, as long as he knows I am near. For his entire life with us, over 16 and a half years, he has been a true and loyal companion, and observed with honor the pact that was made between man and dog many thousands of generations ago, and taking care of him in his declining years is both a privilege, and an honor. In my entire life, I have never known anyone more loyal, more compassionate, and more courageous in standing up to life. He is by far the best friend that any man could hope for, and by far the best person I’ve ever known……

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6 thoughts on “An Ode To Noah

    • Jon….thanks, I’m glad you enjoyed it. Noah is amazingly still hanging in there, but is getting pretty frail. I’m glad I had a chance to share him with other folks; he’s been a boon companion. I only hope I can pass with as much dignity when my time comes…..

  1. Reblogged this on gigoid and commented:

    Ffolkes,

    Good morrow, mes amis…. The good news, for me, is the pain is getting better; the tissues injured have calmed themselves, and proper alignment seems to preclude further episodes. This is good. It’s also not consistent, nor finished, and sitting still gets hard after a few moments. So, I’m working on a fresh Pearl, which should be good to go soon.

    Today, I received the notice from WP of my five year anniversary of blogging here. Since it won’t take long, I’ll celebrate, by re-posting the first two blogs I ever posted here. One is an ode I wrote for my former dog, Noah, who died in 2011, right before beginning this site. I’m also reposting the second day’s Pearl, to give y’all a look at how it used to be, prior to my learning more of how to write well, & before I had refined my ranting skills…. It’s a good one, showing just how this all has evolved, from what it was, to what it is…

    I hope you enjoy it, and I’ll be back fresh in a day, or possibly two….

    Y’all take care, & blessed be….

    gigoid

  2. WeLL.. my FriEnd gigoid..
    when i first read this one..
    titled an Ode to Noah..
    juSt by title
    at first..
    hmm.. thOught
    you were going all
    Old Testament on us..
    but yes.. i quickly remembered
    it was about your beloved Dog Noah..
    as any Dog is God enough for me.. sMiLes..
    and glad you are doing better mY friEnd.. noW..:)

  3. Gorgeous!
    Dogs are wonderful creatures. Indeed, as you said, Ned – ” by far the best person I’ve ever known……”
    Must have been a wonderful thing for Cory to experience, too; kids (and adults) learn so much from pets; especially well behaved/disciplined ones…. I still think very fondly about two, one cat, one dog, who especially made life more pleasant!
    Wonderful post, Ned…
    xoxoxo

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