And Then There Was One

Jeff Powell
4 min readMay 10, 2024

It’s a sad day. We let Cruzer go yesterday afternoon.

He was 15 years old, and the last few months things had gotten gradually harder for him. It was time, though he disagreed. He was feisty right to the end, and hungry too. We’d doped him up with quite a bit of Gabapentin — which makes dogs calm, apparently — and took him to the vet’s office, but when the vet walked in he still barked at her, as if to say “keep your hands off me, lady!” The techs gave him some cheese whiz as a treat, and he gobbled that down. He’d have emptied the entire container if we’d let him.

Dogs differ in how big a presence they have in your life. Some are very independent. Not Cruzer. He was a demanding and clingy dog. He worried about everything, and never wanted to be left alone. If I got up, he followed. And if I went somewhere he could not go, he squeaked in worry. We called him a “dog shaped pile of neuroses” and he earned that name, though he came to us that way. We have no clue what happened to him during the first three years of his life

He was deeply attached to me. I was “dearest human” in a way that we’ve not seen with any other dog we’ve had. Anne was always “the spare” who just happened to feed him scraps while she was cooking. He appreciated that, but he did not trust her.

In fact, he never really relaxed at all. In 12 years he rarely only accepted a belly rub, and then only from me. Anne was only allowed to pet him when he asked for it. Unexpected pets from anyone other than me were met with growling. As I say, he had his issues.

But he loved his food. Any time you were trying to prepare a meal you had to deal with him standing in the kitchen — in the way! — waiting for his share. The more vegetables the better. That boy loved his broccoli. And woe to anyone who missed one of the appointed snack or meal times. You were told — in no uncertain terms — that was the case.

All this remained true even at the end, though the neural connection with his hips was failing and he had trouble standing, he ate with passion and told us about his concerns regularly.

There will be many times in the coming weeks when something reminds me of him. Some action that would have involved him in some way, or missing his presence when I do something totally normal. Last night it was during dinner. He wasn’t there telling us to hurry up and finish so he could lick “his” plate clean.

He’d been our constant companion for 12 years. Relationships like that leave a lasting mark.

He will be missed, and I will shed a few more tears in the coming days.

But life doesn’t stop for these events. Tinkerbelle is still with us, and just as loud and demanding as ever. She’s more independent than Cruzer though, and so far it’s hard to tell if she is mourning his passing. She might still be expecting his return.

But the big (and entirely unrelated) issue as I write this is our home electrical system. I’ve been worried about the wires that bring power into the house. They look as if the insulation was damaged by UV light, so I worked with our contractor and got an electrician to take a look. Uh-oh. He sees serious issues. Apparently the two hot conductors got really hot and the insulation on them fused together. He’s surprised it didn’t actually finish the job and short out completely.

The electrician thinks the connection between the wires from the pole and the wires in the house was done improperly 30 years ago, and at some point — possibly when the pole was replaced last year — an event (like the shaking of the wires) caused the problem we have. At the moment we’re waiting for the power company to arrive and take a look. This could go well or it could go poorly. “Well” would mean a brief outage and reconnection. “Poorly” could mean days or weeks without power while we pull permits with the District of North Vancouver for the repair. Only time will tell.

At least I have that to take my mind off Cruzer.

That’s the news this week. If you have a pet in your life, please give them some extra love from me. Their time with us is far too short.

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Jeff Powell

Sculptor/Artist. Former programmer. Former volunteer firefighter. Former fencer. Weirdest resume on the planet, I suspect.