Argus (October 1999 – December 2009)
Argus, our funny boy, left this world a week before Christmas in December 2009 from Lymphoma – less than a year after his best friend and beloved partner, Caribou, also passed away. Argus was never quite the same after Caribou left him and I like to think they are back together again, racing through the fields of heaven with smiles upon their faces.
Argus brought laughter into our home. Life was definitely not something to be taken seriously. He loved draping his towel over his head while he laid on his back with his paws waving in the air. He thought the tub was the perfect place to sleep…even if it did not have any water in it. If Argus was doing something funny and we laughed, he would wag his tail furiously and do it all the more. He loved an audience. He was also happiest when he was in our laps having his ears rubbed – he was definitely a glutton for affection.
- Certified Search and Rescue Dog – Air Scent (July 31, 2004) – California Rescue Dog Association
In The Tub
(First published on my blog in June 2005)
A sure sign of summer in our household is dog “sign” in the bathtub: muddy paw prints, a bit of red fur. When Kip lived in Redding, he had a porcelain tub. Argus discovered that the porcelain stayed cool on hot days. He enjoyed climbing into the tub at night to sleep. (Personally, I think he was also motivated by the wish that the water would magically turn on and create a tub-size swimming pool for him).
Our home in Shingletown lacks the coolness of porcelain. Instead, we have an ugly fiberglass tub. Even still, Argus puts himself to bed in the tub on hot nights; and lately, when I get home from work on sweltering days I discover he has been in there.
On some evenings, Argus disappears from the living room.
“Where’s Argus?” I ask, and Caribou leaps to her feet and races to the bathroom where she noses away the shower curtain to find Argus curled in a ball. He lifts his head and blinks.
“Is it really cooler in there?” I ask him
He lays his head back down and closes his eyes. I guess it is.
Argus and His Towel
(First published on my blog March 2005)
Some things come from our childhood and stay with us all our lives. That’s how Argus feels about his towel. As a puppy, Kip tucked a warm towel into his crate to comfort him; after baths Argus was wrapped in a big, fluffy bath towel to dry him. And to this day, Argus becomes animated and excited at the sight of a towel. He has one of his own, of course. He likes to wrap it around a favorite toy, making an individualized soft toy that he clamps between his paws and chews. He likes to thread a towel through the hole in his frisbee so that he can than shake it furiously while holding onto the soft fabric. He rolls onto his back, holding his towel toys between big feet and grunts and growls in mock battle. When the battle is done, he lumps the towel beneath his head and slips into a satisfied sleep.
The Cousins’ Visit
(First Published on my blog in March 2005)
Argus had a difficult weekend. His cousins came for a visit, and the youngest one (a fluffy mix of golden retriever and chow) has a bark that can break glass and an annoying way of standing directly in front of Argus’ face when he does it. Argus gathered up his toys and fled to a far corner of the yard, leaving Caribou to entertain and discipline Buster.
Argus worries about his toys, especially his towel, when the cousins come. The oldest cousin pays little mind to dog toys, but Buster is devoted to destroying them with his razor sharp juvenile teeth. And Buster knows where they are kept; piled high in a basket inside the house. So Argus lay in the corner of the yard, with the outside toys protected beneath his paws, and worried about the frisbee, and the turtle, and the rope, and his beloved towel; all laying unprotected inside the house.
It was some time before we notice the worry in our boy’s eyes.
“He’s shaking,” Kip said.
We brought him inside where he gathered up his belongings and parked himself next to my leg, trembling. When hours later the cousins left, Argus laid his head on his towel, gave a long sigh and fell into a deep sleep. Peace at last.