Tuesday, February 23, 2010


In the Spring of 1994, a new arrival joined our family.

Daisy was a small puppy who immediately fell onto hard times. She’d contracted parvo virus, and nearly died before she could take her first run in the field.

Over the years, she seemed to have a knack for mischief. Taken to Wyoming on a camping trip in 1995(despite the misgivings of an unidentified adult male member of the Caminsky Clan, who warned that taking a beagle into the wilderness probably wasn’t a very good idea), she ran off while on a hike. She was on the verge of supplying lunch to the local pack of coyotes, but we managed to lure her back before the entree was served. This was, I think, her one and only major camping trip.

Often wandering off at the Yanik Family Farm, she once went missing for days — most likely leading Skipper, her companion, along for the adventure — finally surfacing well down the road, miles away and completely lost.

Even her own back yard was a constant source of adventure: she spent much of her puppyhood confronting enemy invaders, chasing squirrels and barking angrily at distant, rounded objects...which looked like ordinary balls to us, but must have carried with them some alien life form to warrant such vigilance in the protection of her family. And one fine morning, we looked out to see that she’d impaled herself on a branch that had fallen from our maple tree — prompting a mad rush to the Vet by the human members of the family (one, a grumbling, bathrobe-clad male whom authorities declined to identify, was seen sighing harshly in the parking lot of Morris Veterinary Hospital while others went about their business).

But, through all the goofiness, wanderings, and barking, Daisy was a loyal and loving companion, whose tail always wagged when someone came home, and who loved her walks and her treats...and, most particularly, her meals, inhaling them with a gusto usually reserved for Olympic-level competitions. Her face always brightened when she started her walks...even in recent days, when her hindquarters were shriveling from old age, and she’d gone deaf (possibily from a lifetime of listening to ear-splitting barking at close range). Like our other dog --- Callie, whom we lost a year ago just before Christmas --- she gave her love unconditionally, asking nothing in return...except maybe an occasional treat, when she came inside from the backyard.

Lately her pace had slowed to a crawl and she seemed confused and bewildered, often wandering about aimlessly, as if searching for something that she couldn’t quite remember. But coming in from the back yard still excited her, and she still expected a treat. Though we kept putting off the inevitable, cleaning up after her when she couldn’t quite make it outside to conduct her business, we knew that our time together was growing short. And today, after giving her a lunch of chicken, her favorite thing in the whole world, and one final walk around the block she knew so well, we took her for her last ride.

Even though she’ll always be with us in our memories, it’s hard saying a last goodbye to a friend.

But these days I seem to be saying “goodbye” a lot.

JEFFREY CAMINSKY, a veteran public prosecutor in Detroit, Michigan, specializes in the appellate practice of criminal law and writes on a wide range of topics. His books include the science fiction adventure novel The Star Dancers, the exciting second volume in the Guardians of Peace-tm series, The Sonnets of William Shakespeare, and the acclaimed Referee’s Survival Guide, a book on soccer officiating. All are published by New Alexandria Press, and are available on Amazon, as well as directly from the publisher.

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