Posted by: cassymuronaka | January 16, 2012

The dog who ran with the desert pigs

One of the many sloppy sentimental behaviors that I have demonstrated towards my two dogs over the years has been to croon to either girl that she always has been the “dog of my dreams.”

Lola has just stared at me patiently, waiting for the moment to pass, but whenever I have gazed into Red Dog’s big brown eyes, she invariably has broken the mood violently by affectionately trying to lick my nose.

Yesterday morning, the unrelenting face-licker and most playful of dogs, died.  Up until her last night on earth, I was still wrestling Red Dog for possession of deteriorating tennis balls, still having to go re-roll the toilet paper in one of the bathrooms that she had gleefully spun off of  the holder, and still playing hide-and-seek with her up and down stairways.

She was probably 13-years-old.  We don’t really know her age because one of my best friends found her wandering hungry and thirsty on an Arizona highway when she was about 2 or 3. The dog became the third member of a canine pack allowed to wander unmolested through a 20-acre property in the desert.  However, she also created her own pack by befriending a group of wild javelinas with whom she ran on a regular basis (A javelina looks like something you get if you mated a Vietnamese pig with a Tasmanian Devil).

No one ever officially gave her a name.  Because this wasn’t the first dog to be rescued by the Arizona family, she remained without a monniker until a home could be found for her.  That had not happened after a year, and the family members just kept referring to her as the “Red Dog,” because of her stunning auburn coat.

Red Dog would have permanently remained in Arizona, but, unfortunately, she drove her adoptive family nuts.

“Do you want another dog?” queried my friend Martha somewhat desperately over the telephone more than once,  “This dog whines all the time. She needs too damn much attention.”

“Bring her to The House of High Need,” I finally said.

Red Dog and Martha both got what they craved.  After Red was deposited here, the dog instantly received 99.9 percent of the petting she sought.  If she howled because we had stopped scratching her or giving her our undivided attention, we simply laughed and howled right back at her, leaving her blinking and stupefied.

And quiet for a while.

We all absolutely adored her.

It was terrible to get up this morning and not find Red Dog parked beside my bed, her eyes springing open, her ears up, the minute she thought I was showing signs of alertness. My husband is lucky — for once — to be swamped with work this week, and my son university schoolwork, following his return to northern California after the long holiday season visit.

Lola and I, who remain at home,  are going to have to work a little harder at not missing our fallen friend.  I think we will use this opportunity to take some long walks, snorting and sniffing our way through the neighborhood with new fascination.



  1. Very sweet post Cassy, sorry for your loss. RIP Red Dog

    • Thanks so much, Jon. I am still wallowing in major boo-hoodom.

  2. My condolences and my thanks for a truly wonderful post and photos. For some reason that I can’t articulate, I love the fact that you called her Red and Red Dog.

  3. i have 2 dogs, and i can’t even think about life without them. I’m so sorry for you loss, may she rest in peace.

  4. You were all lucky to have found each other. It sounds like Red Dog had found her Nirvana.

  5. Your post had me smiling and tearing up at the same time. I am sorry for your loss. Red Dog seemed to be a good soul and who lived a happy life with you and your family.

  6. Well said Cassy. There is nothing more heart wrenching then when a dog leaves your life for the Big Doggie Star in the Sky. All of our dogs who are now in Doggie Heaven continue to supply us with hilarious moments as we reminisce about their antics. I am sorry about Red Dog and know that she will give you some wonderful memories.

  7. Hugs to you. Hard to lose a furry family member, I know.

  8. So sorry to hear of Red Dogs passing. Have been through this many times but it is always hard. I remember when our lab Mandy died at 4 from canine kidney failure and my last kid had left the nest. My son came home to do laundry to find me just sitting in a chair bawling. Now that I have a very full house again I am not lonesome.

  9. Thank you everyone for the condolences and good thoughts. It makes me feel good that so many many people have enjoyed the post.

  10. My condolences to you and your family Cassy. Our furry pets are part of the family and we feel the loss greatly when they leave us. Our girls have been gone for quite a while now, but we still miss them greatly. Red Dog was lucky to have been with you and no one can tell me that when it is our turn that they won’t be waiting for us. Just keep as busy as you can and go ahead and cry when you feel the need.

  11. So sorry, Cassy. I have named dogs planning on re-nameing them when they “grew” into their real names. Some were never re-named because their temporary names suited them well. Sounds like Red Dog may have been one of those who always knew her name.

  12. Very sorry to hear about the loss of Red Dog. They are family….

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