Dogs live too short a life

A dogbituary

Cali (June 9, 2009- August 4, 2020)

She came to our home as a warm puppy; tender, frightened, and curious

We called her Cali, homage to her maternal grandfather’s birthplace

She loved us instantly, pouring out love with no restraint, never holding back

She grew up to have a clear perronality[1]

She despised boats, those intruders of nature, and always barked at them

Fishermen too she disliked, the idea of removing fish from the water offended her

She could spend the entire day out in nature, admiring the river’s horizon, diving for stones

She hated shopping centres, train stations, and other signs of our civilization

Through her mindfulness, she helped her father be a better philosopher

Stubborn and capricious she was

She’d lie flat on the ground and stare at you like a jaded teenager if you tried to walk in the “wrong” direction

We’d end up pulling on her leash like a carry-on bag, to the amusement of onlookers

She resisted all education, and never understood the concept of retrieve, wasn’t she a golden retriever?

Throw a ball, she’d look at you with contempt, “go fetch it yourself, you threw it, not me”

Like her mother, she too, preferred bread over meat

She loved a scratch on the throat, and always asked her siblings for more

She preferred Bern to Geneva looking cross when we packed to return home from her Grandmother’s house

She never understood how we could leave the old woman alone in Bern

She loved the Aare and the Rhône

When she gave birth to four delightful puppies, she ignored them blissfully

Motherhood was not her thing, she had never been consulted, had she?

She stared at them with a look of, “Who are these kids and why are they calling me Mom?”

We spread liquid honey over the puppies’ minuscule bodies, Cali licked the honey off, this got their blood flowing, sometimes you have to kickstart “maternal instinct”

She learnt to love her offspring and was sad to see them leave

She hated thunderstorms and fireworks

Patriotic festivities were her nightmare, what nonsense of humans to pollute the air in celebration of nationhood, what is that anyway?

Her favorite place was in everyone’s path, whether in the kitchen, the living room or the dining room, “Cali, Du bist immer im Weg,” her Grandmother complained, “Cali, you’re always in the way”

She never uttered a word in her eleven years of life, but what need?

She was our master, our teacher, our best friend

Today, at eleven, she has left forever

Dogs live faster than we do

She lived so fast she outpaced us by a full generation, went from being our baby, to a mother, and turning into an old lady at the end of her life

Dogs are wiser than humans

They come to this world to teach us how to be good and contemplate nature

We are slow learners, their stint on earth is shorter, they need to act fast

Cali, thanks for the wisdom spread, the love shared

Rest in peace, you lovely four-legged sage

To her children, Lulo, Saga, Leika and Lola, know that your mother’s body will rest under the Ginkgo tree, in the garden she refused to leave

As for her soul, it’s in the voice of the tree, the touch of the wind, the beat of the ground, the scent of dawn

[1] noun /ˌpeřonˈæl.ə.ti/ Character of a dog shown by the way it behaves, feels and acts. From the Spanish word perro, dog, and the English word personality. Source: Ximena’s Private Collection of Meanings in Search of Words

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