The Daily Digital Photo
Clayton, Spenser and Scooter: then and now.

May 28, 2009

Farewell My Beloved Spenser: from Phillip

We had the privilege of being with Spenser for 13 wonderful years. I have never loved a dog as I loved him. He clearly had a beagle's sense of wanderlust which led to many of his great adventures. I shall try to relive some of them for you.

We took Spenser in to keep Clayton company. At that time we would keep Clayton in the den while we were away. We put up a baby gate and it worked fine at keeping him in place. Then came Spenser. All 17+ inches of him. Every time we came home there he was on the other side of the gate leaving poor Clayton behind. Solution: We took down the gate and gave them both free run of the house.

We also found that some how our fenced in yard which held Clayton quite well was no obstacle to Spenser. By having Laurie take Clayton for a walk while I watched Spenser from the roof we saw that he was getting out over the deck rail. I added two feet to the height of the railing. When that didn't work I added another two. That stopped finally him.

Still in Baltimore, Laurie and I had planned a big trip to Jamaica. The night before silly us opened the front door for a second too long and out he went. For three hours in the dark I chased him. Finally I stood 2 miles from home, wet, dirty and tired. Then my cell phone rang. Yes, Laurie was calling to let me know he had found his way home and was waiting for me.

Our first few months with Spenser were a little rough. Soon after he came to stay he and Clayton had a fight. As would be repeated all too many times without variation Clayton started it, and Clayton lost. Laurie was afraid that Spenser would some day hurt Clayton. This continued until the day I was walking the two of them in our Baltimore neighborhood. Clayton, who was off leash, wondered into the property of Honey, a small but nasty german shepherd mix. Honey came out of nowhere and attacked Clayton pinning him to the ground. Spenser, on leash, saw this and before I could react not only pulled the leash out of my hand but he ran into Honey so hard she rolled along the ground head over heels twice and then took off to the hills followed by Spenser and me. After that Laurie had no more qualms about Spensers loyalty to Clayton and Honey kept her distance.

After we moved to New Jersey the fun really began. Soon after we moved in and put up a new fence several deer managed to get into the yard. Their first surprise was the fence they broke down to get into the yard. The second surprise was two beagles chasing them and the third surprise was the fence they hit on the way out as they were being chased. They hit the fence so hard they steel poles were bent like pipe cleaners. Three hours later Spenser came home limping, bloody, full of tics but smiling and wagging.

Other adventures included: swimming across a 30 foot wide canal to chase some deer only to be found 3 hours later by our neighbor sneaking into a dumpster; having his chest ripped open by barbed wire; and getting caught in a deer snare. Every time I found him, there was a big smile on his face and his tail was wagging.

One of my strategies for catching him was to wait for some deer to come running, then intersect their path behind them and wait 30 seconds. Sure enough, he showed up tired enough so that he'd stop when I got near him. And of course, he'd be smiling and wagging.

Oh yes and need I mention the night we were both gored by a deer. Coincidentally both our hospital bills were $671.

As he got older and calmer we were able to go on special walks together. I think that was when he was his happiest. Two weeks before he died we did a 1 hour walk. I didn't know then just how special a walk it really was.

Spenser was a walking oxymoron. He was big and powerful but also gentle. He never started a fight but never backed away from one (including his fight with cancer.) He was extremely aloof at times but then would get in your face and DEMAND attention. He was always sweet, loyal and brave, except when it came to lightning. Clayton and Scooter were real wimps in general but they couldn't care less about lightning. Spenser took on an eight point buck but would shake during a thunderstorm.

And was he smart. I always said if he had opposing thumbs he'd be running the planet. He was also strange, for instance he'd walk by two bowls of water to drink out of a toilet or a muddy puddle. When we would try to get him to drink he'd refuse unless you emptied the bowl and he saw you refill it.

But most of all he was my buddy. One night in Baltimore during a 22 inch snow storm he developed tail droop and was in terrible discomfort. We couldnt get to the vet. He wouldnt sleep in the bed but settled down in the living room. I took my blanket and pillow and slept next to him. That sealed a bond between us that was never broken. He was from then on completely faithful to me and I to him.

Spenser I love you and miss you more then you could know. I miss kissing your face and begging for a kiss in return. Your tenacity was my inspiration. I looked up to you and admired you. I did everything I could for you because to me knowing you was a privilege and receiving your love was an honor. I will always feel lucky that I knew you. Thank you for being my friend.

I'll always love you, Spenser.

Laurie, Phillip and Clayton