The Most Important Things...

The most important things are the hardest things to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them--words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they’re brought out. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? The most important things lie too close to where your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you’ve said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That’s the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a teller, but for want of an understanding ear.

~Stephen King~

The Mighty Baxter

It's strange how things happen sometimes. I am tempted to say that things are even unfair... arbitrarily so it seems. But I really know better, and I know somewhere deep down that there are reasons for the things that happen.

Sometimes though, even that knowledge is a hard pill to swallow.

Sheri and I looked at some beagle pups a few weeks ago when Jessica and Brandon (my daughter and son-in-law) were here visiting. The owner said she didn't think she would want to part with any of them, but she would think about it. Last week, she asked if I was still interested, and I told her that I would check with Sheri and let her know.

I was doing some maintenance work on her bathroom earlier today and she asked again, so I decided right then and there that Baxter needed a running pal. I loaded the little beagle in the car and brought her home. After a few growls to establish dominance, Baxter took to her and my dad and I could tell right away that they'd be good for each other.

As Dad and I went to run some errands in town and we started talking about dogs in general. He said that I should have some kind of dog like a Brittany Spaniel that I could train to hunt quail. We talked about that for a few minutes and then I stated that some people like to have dogs purely for companionship... and nothing more. Sure, a good hunting dog is of value to me, but I brought Baxter home after Danog disappeared just to have a dog to pal around with. Our new beagle is the same.

My heart aches tonight.

Baxter was killed by a truck coming to see me after I got home this evening. The new beagle was with him, but she was a few steps behind and escaped unharmed. Baxter was killed almost instantly. There was no yelp as he got hit, no movement or struggling as he lay in the road... just a couple of deep breaths as I had my hand on his ribs, and then he was gone.

The driver turned around and came back and was just sick about hitting him. I tried to ease his heart as mine was hurting. There was just no way to avoid hitting him... he darted into the road too fast. The driver never even got to hit the brakes.

Baxter once helped me find and kill a skunk that had taken up residence under our house. He always was ready for rib bones when we were done with them. Sheri started working with him on being a frisbee dog, and he was ok at it. He would follow the hay guys all around the whole 50 acres all day long. Last night, we were picking up some 600 bales of hay to store in the barn and he was right there with us all the way.

When he first came home, he would come upstairs with me and sleep right at the foot of the bed where I had laid out a blanket for him. He would be here in the office with me as I wrote most of my posts, laying on the floor next to me. He spent more time outdoors running lately when he started bringing in fleas with him and what a fiasco that turned out to be. He was better as an outside dog anyway.

Some friends came over a couple weeks ago for dinner, and I took their four children out to the back of our property to gather some blackberries, and we all got to watch Baxter tree not one, but two raccoons.

He was fun to be around, fun to watch, he loved people, and I'll miss his companionship.

Baxter is laying in the back field close to the blackberry patch under a nice tree now. I carried him back there and told him how sorry I was that this happened.

As the new beagle walked beside me, I cried on the way back to the house.

Good bye my friend, I'll miss you.

And I'm so sorry.