He was not a bad dog, he wasn't a monster nor was he an angel. He was a dog nearing the end of his days and while he had a good, long life, it doesn't ease the acceptance of what transpired. I mourn for the loss of the dog who greeted me with smiles every morning, the heater in my bed when the outside freeze proved too much for the both of us, and for the canine who essentially brought DU and I together. I mourn that another family lost their best friend too, in the most terrible of circumstances. I mourn for DU, who lost his best friend. I mourn for Avery, who searched for her big brother for hours until I brought her to where he rests. She cried softly next to his dirt-filled bed then retreated for home. I mourn for Titus who has started to bark for the first time, picking up where his guard dog brother left off.
I've spent days blaming myself for what happened, I shouldn't have gone hunting or made someone sit with them until we got back. But the truth of the matter is that thoughts such as these go nowhere and only make my tear ducts deplete once more. Dogs, like people, are smart. They enjoy the company of some dogs, whereas they detest others, just like their human counterparts. Terrifying occurrences alter one's perspective on life, changing their personalities forever; this can happen whether the subject is human or canine. People get in fights, no matter who they are. Likewise, any dog can get into a fight with any other dog, their breed and temperament aside. Oscar was severely beaten when a robber broke into DU's home in Indiana. After this, DU says, his dog wasn't the same. Gone was the happy pooch who adored other dogs and every person, in its place became a wary, scared dog whose mistrust of the world overcame everything. Did this have a hand in what Oscar did on Sunday? Did he think that he was protecting his family? Did he break out only to make sure his home was safe? I'll never know and as of now, I'm done speculating.
The only thought that is getting me through is that Oscar, after choosing his own way out of this world, went home. God, in his infinite wisdom, knew that it was Oscar's time, that it was a part of his master plan that I dare not to question. And Oscar, upon arriving to his Twinkie-filled paradise, requested that God do something to make us rejoice, to make us see beauty through tragedy, and to force Huntography to continue. I believed myself praying to my granddad for a deer to poke its antler-laden dome through the brush but it seems now that our protector, our guard dog, our heater refused to allow his exit from this world to completely crush us.
I'll save the details of my hunt because Rudy's camera can tell the tale far better than I. All I will say now is that it was one of the most amazing moments in my life, from the harvest, to the way the event unfolded to the audience at hand. The best part of the entire shebang is my reaction to the shot, the immediate aftermath of allowing my arrow to be released from my bow; that moment made my entire Huntography experience worth it. Again, I would say more but we'll all just patiently wait for the DVD's release.
Without even meaning to, I have once again fallen into Oscar's divine plan. My tears have dried, a smile plays upon my face and I shake my head at the wisdom of Oscar's departing wish. Over and over I have tripped into this cycle of crying about the terrible night that passed only to smile about the harvest of my first buck only to cry once more at the selflessness exhibited by our dear departed pooch.
Tomorrow is my interview for the game warden job I have been drooling over since the first letter was laid in the mailbox. Tomorrow, I will pull myself up by my bootstraps, dry my eyes and do my best. I know Oscar, the ever-present protector will trot along in my wake, refusing to allow me to walk alone. But today, I will mourn a little, cry a little less, hug my dynamic duo a little longer, and remember Oscar, my smiling baby boy.
Please note: Huntography, for a moment, almost ceased its 2011 tour. The whole story, post, and crying video can be viewed here. We never wanted Rudy to stop his efforts just because of what happened and we expressed this in the best way possible, that Oscar would not have wanted his actions to stop such a momentous adventure. Rudy has dedicated the entirety of the tour to Oscar, a proclamation that means the world to us. We hope that Rudy can visit again, as he has become part of the HLYH clan forever.