Once ten years or so ago I drove slowly down a hurricane ravaged road toward my double wide in the country with a heavy heart. I was worried about the damage of course but mostly I was anxious because I feared our beloved Lab Spazz had bolted before the storm and was left behind. I feared the worst but when I drove down the storm devastated back country road I was greeted with a wonderful sight. Not only was the house mostly intact Spazz was there on the relatively undamaged porch wagging his tail _ happy and ready to be fed. This incredible animal, this friend and family member we adopted from a neighbor in the east Texas bayou country was with us for years through two cross country moves and adventures. He survived illnesses and whipped the ass of dogs who outweighed him by 20 pounds.Spazz survived the hurricanes mysterious skin ailments, assorted animal attacks and multiple health scares but last week old age and kidney failure proved to be an enemy even a fearless canine warrior like Spazz could not overcome.
Spazz, (Spasmo, Spazzi, the Spazz and numerous other nicknames) passed away Thursday at a Vets office in Las Vegas. He was 14, (95 in human years.)
This morning I was feeding lour two young rambunctious canines and by accident happened on a unused bowl sitting in the same spot it had always occupied. It was underneath the two others tucked away for future use.. I was overcome by a wave of sadness because I knew the bowl’s owner would never use it again. Spazz was gone and would not be coming back.
The house seems a little emptier now.. . . . Like something vital is missing _ something that cannot be replaced or copied..
So Long Spazzmo, Spazzi Spazz ..I will miss you were one tremendous furry pain in the ass and I will miss you everyday.
Here are a couple of blogs I wrote about Spazz awhile back
My best friend is an ahole
In light of recent events I come to the inevitable conclusion that my loveable beloved hairy best friend is not the lovable nice guy I thought he was.
Spazz the black Lab , our best friend
He is in fact quite simply a huge, fat, unrepentant short haired asshole.
For the record I am talking about my dog, Spazz a fat old black lab with an unhealthy love of stale, sun hardened hotdog buns, an impish spoiled childlike disposition and more than questionable lineage. The neighbor we obtained him from in my native SE Texas swore he was a pure blooded native born huntin’ dawg
We, however, have always believed that his spotted tongue betrays a Chow somewhere in his genetic heritage and incidentally the way I understand it Labs were originally bred in Canada to help fisherman haul their nets out of the frigid Canadian waters. So it is likely that although he was whelped in the East Texas bayou country and is undeniably a country “dawg” he is in reality Canadian/Chinese canine redneck. (Can you say Y’all want to play hockey eyyy or study Kung Fu.)
Spazz or Spazzmo as we have taken to calling him is a sweet heart. He loves people, attention, female dogs and any food he is not supposed to have, particularly things people have thrown away.
Often on walks he pounces on a dried out hotdog like he is a lion pouncing on a gazelle he had dragged down after a long chase in the wilds of Africa. Like any spoiled child, after each mischief he smiles diabolically, clearly expecting praise for his great hotdog hunting skills and like any spoiled child instinctively realizing that all he has to do is look cute, flash his big soulful Lab eyes and suck up to us for an hour and he will be forgiven most transgressions.
He once snagged the chocolate muffin my wife had set aside for breakfast and gulped it down paper and all before she could even turn around and realize it was gone. Another time he was rough housing with our other dog and broke some old pottery that was on a nearby shelf.
After that my wife swore she was going to trade Spazz to the nearest postal worker’s family for a poodle, two goldfish and a utility infielder to be named later but once again he flashed those soulful eyes, exercised his doggie Jedi mind powers and was again the sweetheart of the house.
Spazzmo loves people we never worry about him biting any of our neighbors because we know that “the Spazzmo” (kind of like the Donald) loves attention to much to harm those who lavish it on him. We joke sometimes that if someone ever breaks into the house while we are gone all the burglar would have to do is offer Spazzmo a stale ham sandwich or hotdog and pat him on the head and he would have an instant friend.
Spazz’s one problem in the world is that he is absolutely fearless and like many attention loving territorial prima donnas he does not like competition and therefore does not like other dogs. He sees it as his mission in life to fight any other dog that would challenge his ownership of the world he has peed on, plans to pee on or sees other dogs pee on. He will struggle to escape his leash even to the point of nearly choking himself. He has broken, chewed in half or snapped seven leashes and chains even breaking the dollar store choke chain he bought to keep him under control. We are investigating training techniques and we bought a “gentle leader” and double leash him on his walks and only walk him when other dogs are absent but it seems unlikely that at his age he will change.
Especially those who are worthy of friendship, love and loyalty on the most basic instinctive of levels….
Imagine John Travolta is a dog named Spazz, and is strutting down the streets of the city just like in one of those awful disco movie sequels he made eons ago. “Staying alive, staying alive…” the pooch would sing as he strutted the avenue in his famously fashionable polyester leisure suit, gold chains flapping up and down as he announced to the world that he was indeed the world’s gift to females and the baddest boogie king on the block.
Now reverse that image and imagine my 100 pound lab appropriately named Spazz has adopted the “Tony Manetti” strut and is strolling down the streets of your city singing his version of that infamous Bee Gees song “Peeing on things“
“Peein’ on things …peein’ on things…peeeeeiin on thhhiiiiinnnngggs yeah”
If you can picture this you have some idea of what I see everyday in some form or another. I believe all pets have different theme songs that make you compare them to different movie stars and celebrities. I once had a doog nameGomer who we swore talked like a gay version of Eddie Murphy and sang walk this way while another huge female dog my daughter named Lisa with a happy disposition was like a big muscular hairy version of Marylin Monroe.
As I have already said in previous columns my dog Spazz is a simple creature. He likes to pee on things and is very territorial…He likes to walk around our apartment complex and marking his territory as he goes peeing on whatever he can get his leg near strutting with every step, head up doing the Tony Manetti stroll daring anyone to prove that he isn’t the baddest boogie king on the block.
Today I took him for his usual late night walk and as usual he walked head up stiff as a board strutting like a Kentucky show horse desperately straining at the leash to fight dogs hundreds of feet away and sometimes ones he couldn’t even see. As usual he pooped pawing the ground to proclaim his poop the most masterful in the world and then strutted as we walked back to our apartment. As we approached the corner of our block a car stopped and waited for us to move to one side or the other and I attempted to pull Spazz out of the way so the car could pass. The theme song changed from Saturday Night Fever , from Staying Alive to the theme form Dirty Harry….“Go ahead make my day” he seemed to say resisting my efforts to pull him away either eager to challenge the late model passenger car to a fight or ask for a ride to the park where all the cool lady dogs hung out.