Summer 2012 Magazine

Do Not Delete

By Deborah Schildkraut, Ph.D.

The subject line in the email says: "Elderly corgi needs home."

"Delete it, " your inner voice warns. You don't read the email, hoping you'll forget about it. But you don't delete it either.

You know what it's going to say. "Urgent. Elderly corgi needs home. If not adopted, will be euthanized in five days." Or four days or tomorrow. Always urgent.

"Dammit," you say aloud. "I don't need another dog." Who are you kidding? You need dogs like you need air. People annoy you and patience is not your virtue - except when it comes to dogs.

You move away from the computer and look in the foyer mirror. Yep, "Sucker" is still tattooed on your forehead.

Back at the desk, you open the email. "Urgent. 11 yr old corgi needs home immediately. Owner in hospice care. Call Carrie for more information. "

You write down the phone number and hide the slip of paper in your back pocket so you can pretend it isn't there. Ten minutes later you're punching Carrie's number into the phone.

She tells you about the corgi. He's a genuine curmudgeon, that Reggie. Been looked after by hospice workers for almost two years. Fed, walked, watered but not much time for attention. He's a tough old guy, standoffish now, maybe even depressed.

You like challenges, you say.

Then Carrie tells you about Raymond. Raymond is dying from AIDS. He's had Reggie since he was a puppy. Raymond is not as concerned about dying as he is about what is going to happen to Reggie afterward. The dog is his best friend, soul mate, child. Raymond is consumed with worry. Carrie tells you she has tried for months to place Reggie but no one wants a grouchy, antisocial 11-year-old dog. She has promised Raymond she will try one last time. Raymond's time is measured in days. You are Reggie's last chance. She isn't consciously trying to guilt you into taking the dog, but she's doing a pretty good job.

Even though she doesn't ask, you tell Carrie about your qualifications. You're an experienced dog person and have a fondness for hard-luck cases. You have three dogs and a large back yard. You are trying to impress Carrie, though you realize that she would give Reggie to just about anybody right now.

"So you'll take Reggie?" she asks. "Probably," you say, as if you had a choice.

The relief in her voice is apparent by a great exhalation of air, and she hurries off the phone before you change your mind.

Two days later, you're tooling up the interstate on your way to adopt a dog you haven't even met. You don't know if you'll like each other, or if he'll get along with the rest of your dogs. No matter. Raymond adores Reggie, and that's a good sign.

When you arrive, Carrie is waiting at the door. You sense immediately that something is wrong. She speaks in a hushed tone. Raymond died during the night.

Several people are milling about the house, waiting for Raymond's family to arrive. Reggie is curled up in a corner of the kitchen. He ignores you, his one last chance. Carrie has already packed his bag, eleven years of doggy possessions: bowl, leash, food, a baggie of treats, two squeaky toys and a pillow that belonged to Raymond. You try to coax the dog with a biscuit. But Reggie is above a bribe. He does not move.

Carrie says that Reggie's been lethargic all morning, and hopes he isn't getting sick. He is grieving you tell her and ask if he has been allowed to see Raymond. No one thought to do that. Raymond's body has not been removed, and you ask her to take Reggie to see him. He needs to see Raymond for closure, you explain. She seems to understand and doesn't look at you as if you're a nut case.

Reggie and Carrie disappear into Raymond's bedroom. When they come back to the kitchen, Reggie heads to the door and waits to be taken out. Carrie says that she placed Reggie on the bed with Raymond. The dog sniffed him from head to toe. Then Reggie lay beside his friend, the length of his furry body tight against Raymond's body. Eyes closed and head tucked in the crook of Raymond's arm, Reggie remained still for almost ten minutes before he stood and jumped off the bed.

Carrie hands you the leash and bag. She rubs Reggie's head as if it were a genie's lamp and wishes him well.

One thing you have to ask. "Did Raymond know that Reggie found a new home?" "Yes," she replies. "He did."

Reggie hops into the truck on the floor of the passenger side. He curls up into a ball. The old truck purrs when you turn it on. Sam Cook croons from the Oldies station and you sing along.

"You you you you send me."

Reggie looks up from the floor.

"Honest you, honest you do, honest you do."

Reggie jumps onto the front seat

"At first I thought it was infatuation but woo it lasted so long."

He circles three times before he settles next to you. Not his head, mind you, but his furry little butt against your hip. You smile, but not so that Reggie can see.

"Now I find myself wanting to marry you and take you home."

You have to chuckle, almost perfect lyrics for the occasion, except for the marrying part.

"Whoa -oh -oh -oh- oh- oh." You're really crooning now.

You reach over to pat Reggie. He growls, but he doesn't move. You withdraw your hand. "Okay, pal. When you're ready," you tell him, "When you're ready."

Deborah Schildkraut, Ph.D. is a writer and columnist for PETroglyphs and an author of children's books about dogs. She lives with her husband and her two canine companions, Gus and Etta.

Search PETroglyphs


Browse our Archives...

Magazine & Animal Lovers' Resource Guide

Check out our Magazine and Animal Lovers' Resource Guide!


New Mexico Animal Resource Directory

A resource listing of New Mexico organizations involved in rescue, rehabilitation, and adoption of animals.



Regional Events and News

Annual Calendar of animal-related special days.

Pet Memorials

Pet Memorials honor an animal's life and/or celebrate an adoption into a forever home.


Friends & Fans

Book Reviews

Get The Scoop on the latest animal books!


Support Petroglyphs!

Shop Petroglyphs

Wear it, carry it, or roll your mouse over it, we are offering you a new way to show off your PETroglyphs spirit. Visit the PETroglyphs Cafe Press Store.

Support PETroglyphs when you surf the web!

GoodSearch cause banner

Use GoodSearch to search the Internet.

in the News!

Check us out in the News!