I’m writing this post mainly for myself, as well as the many other humans who loved my boy, Rigs. He passed away 1-24-15 from a serious heart issue that arose immediately and required us to put him to sleep in order to avoid undue pain. If you’re not a dog person, you probably won’t want to read this, and if you are, you may shed a tear.
I’ve had two past dogs die before, and while it was incredibly sad, it didn’t hit me nearly as hard as Rigs’ death has. It makes me a bit sad that I can’t remember all of my first two dogs’ mannerisms or the details of their personalities that have been smoothed over by time, so I’ve decided to create a memorial for Rigs that I can read and look through whenever I find myself forgetting about what an incredible animal he was. May I always remember each little quirk of his, and how his entire, hilarious body looked, felt, and smelled.
Rigs was a good boy. The best. I’ve never in my life met a dog with more personality, and I’ve often said to friends and family that there’s no one on Earth who makes me laugh as much as Rigs, even post-mortem as I look through old pics. My life is now filled with a bit less laughter each day, and I continue to look to my right out of habit while I work, to the spot on my bed where Rigs would sleep all day long, exhausted from a long night of dreaming, waiting for me to ask if he wanted to go for a hike, at which point he would immediately be wide awake, wagging, huffing and puffing. I miss him.
He and his brother (not by blood), Buddy, were my fraternity dogs when I was in college. It so happened that because I was “Keeper of the Dogs”, I ended up taking Buddy when he and I graduated. Rigs was still in school (majoring in geology with a focus on rock formations), and after a month or so I took Buddy back up for a weekend to visit and hang out. When Rigs saw Buddy, he was so excited that he lay down on his side, whining, and peed everywhere. This memory still makes me laugh. His involuntary lying-down urination was just one testament to the bond the two dogs shared. And if I could, one more time, hold Rigs’ head in my hands, massage his ears, and kiss him between the eyes as I did many times each day while telling him what a good boy he was, I would probably pee myself with happiness as well.
Rigs graduated a year after Buddy and me, and since no one was able to take him, I had the pleasure and the privilege of taking him and once again joining him with his best friend in the world, Buddy.
The class before me bought Buddy (Buddy XI is his full name) from a show dog breeder. Top of the line pedigree, $1,200.00. Everything about him is beautiful, not just physically, but his demeanor and mannerisms are as regal as you can imagine. A happy, beautiful, clean boy who never even needs a bath.
Rigs, on the other hand, was $250.00, last of the litter from a dairy farmer in Upstate New York. That means every person who bought a dog from that litter saw Rigs and said, “I don’t want that one.” And boy, did they miss out. While his appearance and behavior could never be described as refined, everything about him was hilarious and cute. He lived life with gusto in a way only Rigs could.
It was an unlikely friendship between Buddy and Rigs, a homosexual Beauty and the Beast story, Rigs with his constant smell, unruly fur, and numerous ailments from skin problems to mouth warts to hot spots to eye boogers to fatty deposits and many others, and Buddy with his pretty-boy perfection. But they were inseparable, as you will easily see from some of the photos below.
Rigs could, at times, be a bit aggressive with other dogs, especially poodles for some reason. He didn’t listen all that well, was a pig when it came to dinner time (or any time), and had a real propensity for making himself absolutely disgusting, whether it was by rolling in a pile of shit, rolling in a rotting carcass, or finding the only mud hole in an entire field and completely submerging himself in it. While at those times I was angry with him, especially during the ride home when the stench was directly in my face, all of his past transgressions are completely forgiven, and I would gladly hose the shit off of him if it meant spending a few more minutes with the smelly beast.
He had terrible mouth-eye coordination and failed to catch his treats 99% of the time, hilariously snapping his mouth open and shut as his head tilted backward and the treat bounced off of his head.
Put him near a body of water and he was immediately in it, dunking his head and upper body under water for up to 15 seconds at a time, grabbing any rocks he could find, and piling them up on shore. If it could be said that a dog could possibly have a purpose in life, Rigs’ purpose was undoubtedly rock diving, as we called it.
He couldn’t properly dry himself when he shook, and the standing water on his skin had caused a few skin problems, one of which caused a patch of skin literally to rot. He smelled like a rotting carcass before we fixed him up.
He ran with his head close to the ground, an awkward but hilarious look.
When he’d see another dog in the distance, he’d slow down, become intense, crouch, and slowly stalk the dog before breaking out into a run.
He whimpered and barked while he was dreaming, multiple times per day. A few times a year I’d get a nice treat I dubbed “The Siren”, which started low, then crescendoed to a high pitch before lowering again. This lasted a full 5-10 seconds and sounded just like an ambulance.
When he became overly excited, he would try to hump me, often soiling my clothes with his ever present dirt and mud. He just couldn’t control himself.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg. What a character.
Here are some pics of him from over the years, with captions. He was a few months shy of 11 when he died last weekend. His death was highly symbolic for me. Ever since I quit my job in September of 2013, I’ve been quite stressed financially. Just this month I’ve finally started to make good money on my own, which has alleviated a lot of the stress. I believe that Rigs was here, in part, to help me deal with the stress and to give me some much needed relief in the form of laughter and love, and when he saw his job was done, he decided his time here was up.
It’s a similar story for others close to me and him. Rigs fulfilled his purpose, so he moved on to someone else who needs him more.
Rest in peace, my Rigs. You’re such a good boy. Such a good boy. I love you and miss you like crazy. My days aren’t quite as fun without you.
Wait for me on the other side, and when I join you, I promise we’ll go for a hike that’s literally out of this world.
Wanna go for a hike!?