Small Realities

Inside the mind of Lance Schonberg

Farewell, Mr. Plug

I had intended for this post to be something political or cultural, both of which I’ve been giving a lot of thought to lately.  Other easy topics might be that I finally finished “Heroes Inc” today, to a grand total of 61,106 words or something about Halloween and my children, but I’m not going to write or rant about any of these things.

My neighbours have a Pug, an energetic, lovable little meatball of a dog my children adored, with the unlikely name of Mr. Plug.  Whenever he slipped his harness, he’d usually find his way into our back yard looking for my kids.  My daughters played with him regularly after school, fed him sticks, gave him treats that he would only take from them, chased him around and let him chase them.  On our big vacation this summer, they found a stuffed Pug they had to have, and named it after him.  My son occasionally took Mr. Plug for walks, with the blessing of his owners and they ran more than walked, great exercise for both.  They’re all very fond of him.

Yesterday, as Mr. Plug’s owner was snapping the leash to his harness for a walk, he spied another dog he knew and slipped free.  That other dog was on the far side of the street a car hit Mr. Plug before he got half way across.  I live in a 40 km/h zone where the only people who do 40 seem to be the ones who live here.  Everyone else goes too fast, but for a Pug, there’s only one winner with a car moving almost any speed.

I should have said, my neighbours had a Pug.  The kids are taking it hard.  My girls spent large parts of yesterday afternoon and evening crying and my son tried his best not to.  Today was a little better, but there have still been a few tears.  Tomorrow, they’re planning to make a card for Mr. Plug’s owners.  I don’t know that it could be worse for them if Mr. Plug had been our dog, and it’s hard not to join in when you’re children are grieving so openly., but you need to help them see through the tears.

I delayed going to work this morning to stop in at the house and talk for a few minutes.  My neighbour seemed almost on the edge of tears.  Their children are grown, and they’d had the little guy since he was a puppy, only two years.  I have to admit to being fond of him, too, in a more distant way, mostly for the joy he brought to my children.  He didn’t really pay much attention to me, anyway – they were the ones with the treats or who took him for a walk while I just scratched his back once in a while.

It’s funny, though, how a pet can become such an important part of your life, even indirectly, even when it’s not your own.  Small lives can make a big impact on our supposedly larger ones.

Farewell, Mr. Plug.  If there is a dog heaven, I hope it comes with all the sticks you can eat.


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