Monday, December 6, 2010

Farewell, Sweet Tractor.

Just after Thanksgiving last year, our family's precious, longtime doggie died.

Tractor was loyal, sweet, fun and energetic (up until a couple of years ago, at least). To boot, she was a trick-lovin', squirrel-chasin', talkative loyalist to my Daddy, most of all, since he saved her life as a little bitty puppy.

Even though Tractor was getting older and obviously not as spry as she had been in years past, it was still pretty hard to hear the news that she was gone.

Since my nephew started talking, he would refer to her as Tractor the Dog, because he also carries a huge fascination for my Daddy's machinery-type tractors, and talks about them a good bit. Have to keep those hugely fun things straight, you know. :-)

Another fun Tractor memory was getting to gauge expressions when I told her name, and the origin of her name, and the looks I received when I said, "Oh, yeah, and she's a girl."

Tractor came to our family uniquely -- just after my childhood dog, Spunky, died. And I mean literally just after. My daddy woke up really early one rainy, dreary, Saturday morning to go bury Spunky in the back field, and apparently Tractor came up to him out of the woods while he was digging Spunky's grave. He had no interest in the malnourished, not-so-pretty wormy puppy, but as he tells it, she looked him in the eye, and that impressed him. He told her if she could stay on the back of the tractor (bushhog), she could come home with him & he'd find her a family.

It probably goes without saying that she fell off several times on the way home. And that although we were all still really attached to Spunky, it didn't take us very long to be charmed by sweet Tractor, with her eager-to-please willingness and sweet tilt of the head.

There were ups and downs that, like with anything, I think we've chosen to forget. Tractor in my mom's flowerbeds...a lot. Tractor chewing up wires under the body of a van my daddy was working on. Tractor torturizing a kitten till it finally gave up and ran away.

But that special, sweet dog who came to us in the most unusual way also holds the most unique place in our hearts. She worshipped (and trotted on) the ground my daddy walked on. She talked to me every time I came home -- especially  when I rubbed the sweet spot behind her ears. She went crazy when she smelled my shampoo in my mom's grocery bag, or when my parents would say my name around her.

A very precious puppy, indeed.
My mom did a great job of letting my sister and me know she had died. It was a work day, and we received an emal titled "Tractor's Reward." I just knew she'd gotten another squirrel or learned some new trick, but my mom detailed in the email that Tractor's reward was her good, faithful life, and her peaceful, not-too-invasive death (in my mom's words, of course). 

I held it together ok until my work friends & I walked to B&N for coffee. Then I burst into tears and choked out, "Tractor died."  They were so sweet and understanding -- we probably all know how hard it is to imagine the loss of a loyal, furry friend.

So I started writing this post a year ago, but decided to wait until I was more emotionally stable to finish it up. I do miss that sweet puppy -- she went from an unhealthy, mangy puppy to a fun, loveable dog who above all, was loyal to my daddy. She loved to learn, and in the process made us laugh a lot.

My parents have gotten a new dog now (post to come later), and while she's not Tractor, she is equally sweet and eager to please.

So a really belated farewell, Tractor. You were a good, sweet puppy, and you were a constant in my life during a crucial coming-of-age time when I needed it most.

Much love from one of the redheads. :-)

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