Robert Kirby: Pets and the marks they leave behind

(Photo courtesy of Christie Morgan) Daisy.

The world’s dumbest dog died Friday. Daisy, a 10-year-old yellow Lab, jumped up to bark at the guy who came to measure our countertops, had a massive seizure instead and fell over.

Two hours later, Daisy was helped over the Rainbow Bridge by the vet. It was the end of a yearlong battle with a host of medical problems, the worst being cancer. Anyway, she’s gone now and better for it.

Daisy lived a long, loving and incredibly dimwitted life. Her favorite activities were barking at guests, investigating dust motes, having her ears rubbed, and visiting the front yard to check her pee mail.

She didn’t have a mean bone in her body and loved us unconditionally. She shared our moods, our space, our fun and anything we didn’t want to eat.

Daisy wasn’t really ours. She belonged to our daughter’s family upstairs. But she preferred to be downstairs with us. My wife and I are always home, so that’s where Daisy could be found. If she needed attention, she would shove her big hairy head into our laps and gaze imploringly upward.

It was always “rub my ears so I know you still love me” and “it’s about time for another treat, don’t you think?”

She was also a liar. Frequently she would come to me with idiot news like, “I’ve seen that FedEx driver on the news before. He’s a serial killer,” or, “There’s a coyote in the front yard. No, I’m serious. Let me out and I’ll chase it away. I promise to come right back.”

(Photo courtesy of Christie Morgan) Daisy.

That last part was Daisy’s greatest failing. She was a smell addict. Her nose was her boss. It made her deaf, blind and dragged her all over the neighborhood, oblivious to traffic, shouts and whistles.

Don’t tell me it’s because she was older and therefore deaf. She could be upstairs and sound asleep, but if I so much as whispered to my wife about having chicken for dinner, there would be an immediate scratching of claws on the floor above us, followed by a noise like a bag of bowling balls being thrown down the stairs.

Daisy would burst in with her ears up, eyes wide and fixed expectantly on us.


Left to her own nose — which we never allowed — she would almost certainly snap out of it only when hunger set in, probably somewhere in Montana.

Now we’re quarantined with our void, left with the sad reminders of the world’s dumbest dog — her bed, bowl, the hated leash, drifting matts of hair, dog food, buried bones in the backyard and assorted carpet stains.

Pets become such an important part of our lives that a hole is left when they’re gone. There’s no getting over them anymore than we get over the loss of a person we love.

I still remember the name of every dog, snake and spider I brought into my life and loved. Lurch, Bob Valdez, Porky, Beau, Chomper, Pike Bishop, Shiloh, Snapper and Fang — they are just a few of the companions I’ve had.

On the wall above my desk is the collar of my first dog, Fontana. An adorable brown and white spaniel that my grandfather stole for me upon my family’s return from Europe when I was 9.

We were together for only three years, but she will always be with me. It’s been over half a century since she died. I sometimes use Google Earth to peer down at the tree under which she’s buried on Oleander Street in Fontana, Calif.

Pets. The ones we love never really leave us. The best parts of them stay on this side of the Rainbow Bridge.

Robert Kirby is The Salt Lake Tribune’s humor columnist. Follow Kirby on Facebook.

Robert Kirby