We have been experiencing more than our share of the circle of life lately, at least it very much feels that way to me. As everyone knows my father recently passed away. Soon after that The Don was killed. We had to say goodbye to Fuzzy last week. This weekend we lost our coon hound, Bush, who had been pictured on this blog many times through the years.
Bush was born and raised on the farm. My dad was driving home from Memphis on I-40 and stopped to get gas. While filling up his car he noticed the skinniest looking dog he had ever seen hanging around the gas station. He went inside and inquired about the dog and was told she had showed up a few days ago. She was very friendly so my dad put her in the back of his SUV and she quietly rode in the car for a couple of hours until they made it home.
enjoying a good roll
My dad named the stray dog Dolly, and she was definitely the skinniest dog we had ever seen. It was amazing that she was alive. Dolly rapidly began gaining weight and my dad was very proud of his rehabilitation skills. My mom was looking at Dolly one day as my dad was proudly talking about how much weight she had gained. She walked all around Dolly and really studied her from every angle. Mom then announced that Dolly was, indeed, gaining weight but not just because of all the food she was eating but because she was pregnant. My dad laughed and completely dismissed this ridiculous notion, she was gaining weight because of her wonderful new home. A few weeks later, on September 13, 2001, Dolly had 13 puppies. Mom was right and Dad was definitely wrong.
riding in the back of the Gator
Since the puppies were born the day after the tragic events of 9/11 my parents named the puppies after the president, vice president, some generals, and other such names. It made it easy for them to produce 13 names. They were able to find homes for all of the puppies except Bush, so he became a family member.
Bush was definitely my dad's dog and they spent a lot of time together. The thing Bush loved to do more than anything in the world was to ride around in the back of my Dad's Gator. Anytime my dad was out and about the farm on his Gator Bush was riding along in the back. Bush did not like to sit on the passenger seat but always rode in the bed, standing up and taking in all the sights. Often if the Gator was parked in my parents' garage Bush would climb in the back and sleep in it, waiting for someone to come and drive him around. Whenever my parents were out of town Jason and I had to take make a point of taking Bush on Gator rides each day because he would stop eating if we didn't.
riding in the back of the Gator with my dad driving, Bugle in the passenger seat and Trooper sitting by the passenger seat. Sadly everyone in this picture is now deceased except Trooper.
The other thing in life that Bush loved was riding around in my Dad's truck. He didn't get to ride in either of my parents' cars but anytime the truck was being driven Bush went for a ride. Without exception he always chose to sit in the back seat. Bush made many, many trips to the co-op, the feed store, Tractor Supply, Home Depot, and even made the yearly trip to the vehicle inspection station. One time the truck had to be towed to the dealer because of a broken belt. The tow truck came and Bush's truck was winched onto the back. Then the tow truck began driving down the driveway with Bush's truck on board. Bush was beside himself. His truck was moving and he wasn't in it. Bush frantically ran after the tow truck with his truck on board. My dad ended up having to chase Bush down in the Gator, and Bush finally jumped into his customary spot in the bed of the Gator and allowed his truck to be towed.
There were also a few things Bush did not like in life. Even though he was a coon hound and therefore a hunting dog he was scared of gunfire. He hated 4th of July fireworks. However his biggest nemesis in life was thunderstorms. He was petrified of thunderstorms and his issues with thunderstorms only got worse over time. My Dad bought a Thunder Shirt for Bush and that helped a lot although he was still terrified. With his Thunder Shirt on he went from out of his mind terrified to scared and shaking but able to function. We always knew if there was a thunderstorm on the way because Bush could hear them long before he could and he would be frantic to get in my parents' house so he could go to his hiding place in the laundry room.
Bush in his Thunder Shirt
After my father's death Bush seemed to lose his enthusiasm for life. He lost interest in riding in the Gator. We would have to coax him in and we could tell the Gator rides just weren't the same for him anymore. He stopped eating well despite my mom trying to tempt him with various types of dog food as well as people food, and unsurprisingly he started losing weight. My mom took him to the vet but they could not find anything wrong with him. On Saturday morning my mom found Bush curled up in his dog bed with his head on his paws, sleeping in his favorite position. He was not alive, and had passed in his sleep sometime during the night.
Bush sleeping in the back of the Gator while waiting for a ride. Note there are two dog noses in this picture, one in the front in the passenger seat. That is Bugle, also waiting for my Dad to come drive them around.
All of us are taking the loss of Bush hard. He was our link to Dad in many ways as Bush was his constant companion. I try to take comfort in the thought that Bush and my Dad are together again along with their other companion Bugle. I imagine they are all in their usual positions in the Gator, my Dad driving, Bugle in the passenger seat, and Bush in the back. They all sat in the same spots in the truck as well. I can sometimes smile as I think about the three of them riding around together again. I wish them many more adventures together, I only wish they were having them here with us.
Bush and Cloudy
Bush always wore his blanket in cold weather.
Lighty and Africa
Sebastian, Murphy and Dutch
Hemi and Thomas
Zeus and Winston
Clayton and Bergie
Walden, O'Reilly and Noble
Trigger and Homer