RIP, Abby


My beloved chocolate lab, Abby, died today.  She was almost 8 years old.  She was diagnosed with a very aggressive bone cancer for which there was no real treatment.

I’ll admit that Abby was the kind of dog that only a real dog lover could love.  She was not, to be honest, the best trained dog the world had ever seen.  She had what I called a “greeting disorder” (she jumped up on people).  And she loved human food and routinely jumped up to get it.  (Though, as the persistent Abby apologist, I insist that she was trained into this by having 3 kids, as babies, take great glee in feeding her from their high chairs).

All of that said, I tend to distrust people who do not embrace such loving, if a bit rambunctious, dogs.  Abby was always happy, she always greeted everyone with a big wag of the tail and a wet kiss.  To refuse her love was a sign, I think, of a pitiable hard-heartedness.  Her genuine tenderness was hard to miss.  It was particularly evident with our children when they were babies.  Despite how wild she could be, she was always so careful and tender around the babies.  She frequently slept next to their crib, as if to stand guard.

For me personally, she was a dear and loyal friend.  Abby ran with me on almost every one of my runs over the last 8 years (I say almost because 14 miles was her limit, so any runs longer than 14 miles I went alone).  She joined me on every hike I have been on since I have lived in Utah.  She has climbed every mountain I have climbed in this state, camped with me on every camping trip.  She was, for me, an ever present companion.

I have always thought that dogs were a sign of God’s great generosity.  The world need not have had animals that could be domesticated into loyal companions, but it is a better world for it.  Abby taught me a great deal about loyalty.  Hers was the loyalty that suffered to be together.  She was the kind of dog who would get up and move with you whenever you moved rooms, even if you told her not to since you would be right back.  She’d ignore it, groan as she got up from her nap, and follow you there and back.  And she taught me a lot about simple joy.  When she was let off leash up in the mountains, it was and will always be for me an enduring image of pure and simple joy.

I will miss Abby terribly and am sad, perhaps even embarrassingly sad, over her death.  But I am hopeful (contra Aquinas but with CS Lewis) that I will see her again in heaven for a very long trail run.

Requiescat in Pacem, Abby

Abigail (“Abby” / “Monkey”) Kleiner: August 19, 2004 – June 28, 2012

 

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About Kleiner

Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Utah State University. I teach across the curriculum, but am most interested in continental philosophy, ancient and medieval philosophy as well as Catholic thought, all of which might be summed up as an interest in the ressourcement tradition (returning in order to make progress). I also enjoy spending time thinking about liberal education and its ends.
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3 Responses to RIP, Abby

  1. Hunt says:

    Very sorry to hear it. Pets affect us far more than is publicly acknowledged. There is no need to be embarrassed. Veterinarians routinely loathe having pet owners present when euthanasia becomes necessary for the understandable reason that people often become utterly distraught over the loss of someone (and I mean that word and no other) whom they love.. We love them, they’re part of our life and world. They’re family, what else need be said?

  2. Kleiner says:

    A friend sent me this article by Charles Krauthammer called “Of Dogs and Men.” Worth a read.
    http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,557681,00.html

  3. Amy Enloe says:

    This is very sad news! I loved that dog. I now have a 6 year old chocolate lab myself who is very similar. He follows me from room to room, we never go anywhere without him, he is not perfectly well behaved (barks when put outside because he wants to be with you) but is tender and loves EVERYONE, including young nieces and nephews. We recently got a puppy (now 1 year old) who is rambunctious and has the “greeting disorder”. But her older brother is teaching her to be just as loyal and good. You know the dog in the movie “UP” that says (cause he can talk with the voice box, and its a cartoon), “I just met you, and I LOVE you!!”? We use that to describe Buckshot (the chocolate lab). But I think that fits Abby as well. Because I watched your kids as babes, I can attest to her tenderness, protectiveness and love towards them. I was alway impressed with how she let them just climb all over her, pull her or sleep on her and I knew I never had to worry about her lashing out. I tried to discourage the highchair feeding, 🙂 but I don’t think it can ever be completely avoided. It is just natural and part of growing up with them. She made me feel safe and not alone in your house when the kiddos were sleeping. And I know Amanda LOVED to house sit for her. I can’t imagine losing one of my doggies, or maybe I don’t want to. So I send prayers to your family, as you grieve a lost member.
    ~Amy (Montuoro) Enloe

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