Siggy came to me at one and a half, not quite a puppy, but not quite a dog. In a strange way he seemed to stay this way all the time I knew him, wise beyond years but with a youthful exuberance for life. Though incredibly photogenic he didn’t like having his picture taken, and in honoring his aversion it means I have few photos of him. But memories of him are intertwined with many of my pictures since he was my constant companion on our daily walks in the woods. In looking at my photos I remember him by my side, sharing the beauty I’m sure he saw in his own way.
It seemed unlikely that Siggy would die of natural causes. Not that going from a minor cough on Saturday to getting a call from my vet in surgery yesterday to say he had inoperable cancer seemed at all natural. But I think back on his sometimes-questionable judgment and that seems an amazing feat for him. He tried to make friends with snakes and bears, got into an argument with a luckily docile Saint Bernard, chased an icicle down a cliff, and dragged both of us down an impossibly steep and slippery slope. He had the same nine charmed lives as a cat, one for each of his nine years, and never got more than a wounded pride from his many misadventures. Though to be honest my shoulder has never been quite the same after our tandem slope slalom.
I have lost dogs and cats before, and it never gets easier. Their lives are relatively short, and new beginnings are haunted by the inevitability of loss. Still, their pure, uncomplicated and unconditional love is hard to resist. Siggy was a charmingly zany fur friend and I will miss him in too many ways to imagine. Yet I know this sadness is a fair trade for the thousands of happy days we shared. My only regret is that we didn’t have thousands more. So long, Siggy.