I have my household garbage picked up by the county once a week, but there are things I don’t toss in the garbage. Aluminum cans and other scrap metal get recycled, along with old batteries and plastic, so I stack that stuff inside the backyard fence behind a gardenia plant which seems to be growing faster than the national debt.
Today as I sat on my screened porch writing, I removed my glasses and rubbed the bridge of my nose with my thumb and index finger.
I find myself doing this from time to time not because my nose is bothering me, but it gives me a moment to reflect. That’s when I noticed the gnarly trash peeking from behind the gardenia.
In years past, I had a dump partner. Just mentioning the word dump put Ol’ Buddy in a state of excitement equaled only by the sound of bacon sizzling in the skillet.
Ol’ Buddy was a little mutt that we had for over 10 years, and during that time, he was my constant companion.
Most people find the smell and the grunge of a dump bordering on disgusting, but to Buddy, it was like a banquet.
The first time I took him, I made the unfortunate decision to let him out to stretch his legs. By the time I got the trash unloaded from the back of my pickup, he’d found a pile of something just a little south of rancid fish, wrapped in a dirty baby diaper.
I pulled my gloves from behind my seat, picked him up and tossed him in the bed for the ride home. I wasn’t sure how he would like riding in the back, but when I looked in the mirror, he was standing on the fender well looking off the side of the truck with his ears flapping like kites on short strings. He was in heaven.
We lost Ol’ Buddy last fall to cancer, and I haven’t been to the dump since.
In the 40 years we’ve been married, we’ve never been without a dog.
Most have been mutts with questionable linage, but by chance, a thoroughbred collie wandered up to our house just before Ol’ Buddy died, and adopted us as his new parents.
We named him Caillou after a childhood cartoon character.
As a bonus we found that we liked the way the name sounds when we call him in each evening. He is a regal animal with fur as soft as an expensive sable coat.
He has an accusing aristocratic nose that he looks down each time I try to pet him when I’m sweaty after working outside.
Each morning he waits until the dew dries from the grass before going outside to use the bathroom because he doesn’t like getting his paws wet.
Let’s just say, Caillou is not a dump dog. In fact, if given a choice, he’d probably prefer to go the vet to be neutered than go to the dump. I have a feeling he thinks going to the dump is for peasants.
So this will be the first time in years I’ll make a dog-less dump run. It won’t be the same without Ol’ Buddy.
Rick Watson is a columnist and author. His latest book Life Happens is available on Amazon.com. You can contact him via email: email@example.com