Tuesday, July 9, 2013

ISO Flying Dog Ale or The Last Ride for the Great White

Always enjoyed a ride.  Summer 2006.

The climb up SE 14th sucked.  94F with a sissy index of 104F.  I swear it could not been more than 92F/101F.  I put it in granny and shifted the chain to a smaller cog on the cassette.  The 44T middle ring is not ideal for long grinds on narrow sidewalk next to busy rush hour traffic.  Need to spare legs, need ability to get around cars that block the way.  The MTB that jumped out in front of me was still ahead but not gaining.  As for myself, I was in no hurry.  I was on a trip I'd rather not have had to ride.

It was an urban downhill to the store.  All sidewalk on a touring bike running 700x28s.  Good test for the tires.  watch out for broken glass.  Watch for traffic.  Remind myself to purchase an airhorn for drivers that do not rotate their heads.  300+ decibels gets attention quickly. Eye contact saves skin and lives.  At last I am where I want to be.  Lean the 520 against the building an enter through the "Wine & Spirits" door.  This will be quick, keep helmet on.

I was looking for a 6 pack of Flying Dog Ale.  Specifically, In Heat Wheat.  Cold.  The first scan came up negative.  The clerk said hello.  Second scan was a fail.  Plan B.  Purchase 6 pack of any beer named after a dog.  Walk up and down the aisle twice and spot nothing.  The clerk asks me if I need help.  Well dude, if it ain't in the cold section then I do not need it, I said to myself.  Instead, I told him I was fine and settled for Plan C, any 6 pack with a dog on the packaging.  Then I found it.  Abita Turbodog.  Perfect.  I gave the clerk something to do when I asked where the bottle openers were.  Another story.

Why all this fuss.  Needed a quiet moment on the trail with my dog.  Before the great beer hunt I stopped and picked up the cremations of out beloved pet Heidi.  She in the form of ashes was going for a ride on the 520.  I thought I'd pick up a beer and then ride to the bridge on the Des Moines River Trail and see what was in the box.

OK, enough photography of your latest haul.  Let me inside!

I'd received the text a few hours before.  Heidi's ashes were ready to be picked up.  I said I would pick her up.  I drove the van to Belle Plain and brought her home as a puppy and drove her in my truck for her final heart beat.  Once, when she wandered off and was arrested by ARL, I walked her and the 520 home together, $134 poorer.  Seemed fitting.  We'd take the trail along the river where over a decade ago her predecessor and I would explore on MTB and paw.  Final voyage home.

Amazing that we had a period of silence on that bridge.  No phones, no trail users no nothing.  Turbodog went down fast.  One and done.  people were waiting.  I pulled the box out of the pannier.  Could not finish reading the sappy last words of a pet to its owner.  Dora read it aloud later on without crying.

Yeah, we think we are all that.  The summation of the universe.  Our iPhones, hybrid SUVs, personal trainers, the flags of causes that we chase, carbon fiber shifters and cranks, t-shirts from the 5Ks we run, our sunrise yoga stretches at the park ect ect till we push every inconvenience out of our lives because we don't need the bother.  Don't need God.  Don't need opposing opinions.  DEon't need a democratic process because that that oppose you and yours are always wrong.

Then one day you are placed on the mound and told to play God.  Forced to make a decision over someone else.  It's one thing to pull a trigger or release an arrow on some woodland creature for the purpose of obtaining food.  I've done that with remorse or hesitation.  But on a beloved family pet.

A dog always knows when the camera is set on "flower" or "mountain" . Christmas 2008

Heidi was almost 13 and half years old.  Quite aged for a dog, remarkably so for a large breed.  Her rear legs would give out from time to time.  It was getting worse weekly.  Control of bladder and bowels diminishing daily.  For over a year she would wake Mary and I up 3 times in the middle of the night to let her out.  Had to be quick about it.  Ignore her and she would go upstairs to do business by the kids' rooms.

So the time came.  24 hours without walking.  Of course she roared back to life when we tried to get her into the truck.  She fought hard against those attempting to lift her rear end.  Quin was bitten and mary too. Finally Quin lifted her up and put her in the bed of the truck.  We had a blanket for her.  The children opted to ride in back with her.  Heidi looked happy.  No clue where she was going.  Just glad to be part of it.

I carried her into the examination room.  74 lbs.  That's 50 less from her prime.  My "no table scraps" policy worked!  Mary had to do all the talking.  I could not speak.  And when they left to settle the bill Heidi got up and walked.  Damn it dog, why now??

Two shots.  One was to drug her up.  The other to stop the heart.  I held her large paw. watched her blood mingle in the syringe of the final solution.  Dark red cloud mixing with pink only to be pushed out into her system.  And when he said her heart stopped I closed her eyes and left.  Never want to be here again.  Never want to make this decision again. I do not envy those that play God.  Having tasted that power I am repulsed.

Now back to the good times.  Beer, dog's ashes, bridge and bike.  Despite the heat it was a good ride home.

Winter was her favorite season.

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