Let me tell you about a dog named Loki. Loki was a big, black-lab-mix. He was also one of the most annoying dogs ever.
Loki was stubborn, hard-headed, obstinate, and sometimes just plain dumb. He was virtually untrainable, and completely undisciplineable – it didn't matter how much trouble he was in, 5 minutes later his big smiling face and wagging tail would be right back in front of you.
Loki was neurotic, and rarely slept at night. Early in his life, he would pace around our bed, from side to side, over and over again, panting the entire time. Later in his life, he would wheeze, hack, cough, run in place in his sleep, and make whatever other strange noises he could.
Loki was abandoned as a puppy; we brought him home after he had been found, tired and malnourished, in a parking lot. He must have kept that memory with him, because he was a relentless scavenger for food. He would regularly knock over the trash can to have a snack, or steal food right out of the kids' hands. And he circled the dinner table like a vulture eyeing a wounded zebra.
Loki had a doggie version of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. (enough said on this one.) And he had a habit of walking while pooping, which meant A) more land mines for the kids to potentially step in, and B) we had to pick up more individual pieces instead of scooping up a single pile.. yuck.
Loki had a ferocious bark, which was great for home security. But he barked at EVERYBODY – friend and foe – and it would take a long time before he would trust you. Often, he would stop barking at somebody, but if they left the room and then came back in, he would start all over again. And our pest control serviceman, forget about it – he barks himself hoarse the entire time the home's being serviced.
Loki had thick black hair, which shed constantly and in clumps. He is the reason we own a Dyson vacuum cleaner.
Loki was always underfoot, especially in the kitchen (that scavenger thing again.) Step from the stove to the island, with a boiling pot of anything, and tripping over him was a real possibility.
And finally, Loki was old. He was gray-faced. He was deaf. He had arthritic hips, and his back legs didn't work – but that didn't stop him from climbing up, and sometimes falling down, the stairs. He couldn't walk down the street without falling down. He had large fatty lumps on his sides. And his stomach was getting worse. He would have been 13 next month, which is quite old for a 100lb dog.
But although he was annoying, he was a member of our family for 13 years. This afternoon we all said goodbye, and I took Loki to the vet to be put to sleep. It wasn't until after he was gone that I wept and blubbered like a little kid...
Goodbye, Lok. Sweet dreams.