Wonka ‘Low 4’ Rivard

We said goodbye to Wonka this morning.

He wasn’t the mischievous one. That was his little brother Chief. Wonka was above it all. He was aloof. He never begged, but he always gave a ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ when getting puppy treats. He was always down for whatever. Never over the top excited, but never shied away from an adventure.

S and I were talking last week and it was almost like we were his guardians. The family he lived with, but he wasn’t our fur baby like Chief. We adopted him in New Mexico. He was a res dog. Australian Cattle Dog. He was deaf and had short little legs. Legs that could take him anywhere – going one speed. Slow and steady.

I’m going to miss him most at night after everyone goes to bed. We spent a lot of time together after 8pm. Years. Just the two of us hanging out passing the time.

The past couple of months weren’t that much fun for him. His legs were starting to go and he was having trouble standing up. We’d wake up at night and hear him spinning around having trouble standing. The past weeks we had been carrying him outside and then back inside. Setting him down in front of his bowl so he could get a drink of water, then helping him walk straight back to a spot in the living room so he could lie down in a good vantage point.

His lack of hearing never bothered us or him. I don’t know if dogs can sense the tone of your voice when you speak to them – with Wonka we just gave him lots of pets, lots of hugs, lots of scratches to let him know we were there. Last night I laid down next to him on the floor and spooned him so he could feel me breathing. I just rubbed his side and we fell asleep for a while.

He was my wing man.

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