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The wonder dog who knew she was a wonder dog – SouthCoastToday.com

The Wonder Dog, aged 12, died yesterday and I want you to know that Dory really and truly was a wonder. She couldn’t really talk, I must confess. But she communicated perfectly… with her eyes, her tail, her Mother Superior bark, her frenetic Labradoran energy. And she never got old… until she did.
Dory had political instincts and she was a major Patriots fan. She was serious fun. She didn’t like Trump and walked out of the room when he was on TV. I think she sensed he disliked dogs. She camped by the TV for every Pats game, awaiting Brady’s TDs, and a deluge of treats from friends and family.
Grandchildren rollicked as they watched Dory cavort in the snow carving puppy snow angels with her paws or leaping into the bay in relentless pursuit of balls thrown toward Portugal; she’d head there too if she had to. She wasn’t easily stopped. Once, frantic, I had to scream her name to get her back to shore as she neared the horizon. She picked up on human panic.
She adored my wife, Helena, and followed her everywhere, like the lamb who followed Mary. A lamblike sweetness enveloped her in puppyhood. She showed her affection for special friends with love bites bestowed with gentle but persistent nibbles on the ankles. She made an impression at two months of age.
I can’t remember once hearing her snarl or growl or seeing her snap. Aggression was not her game. She was a bird dog but the birds she liked were either stuffed with wool or roasted. She loved chicken and turkey and duck with a little gravy tossed in. Live birds had nothing to fear from her.
She loved children, especially children in groups in school yards or playgrounds and wanted desperately to play basketball or kickball. Dory loved life. She loved people, especially people with food. She never forgot people who took time to play with her, or pet her, or feed her. Years might go by but when she saw them again, she couldn’t contain her enthusiasm
Dory had a great nose and used it to revel in the outdoors. The smells of Buttonwood Park or Fort Taber delighted her. The scent of fellow creatures she found most alluring but she loved the sea smell and the fragrance of grass and flowers, the abundant assault on all her senses provided by nature and the great outdoors.
On quiet days, she ran and ran and ran, God’s creature on God’s green earth, running and exultant and one with the universe, ever without an existential dread or misgiving, without the slightest whiff of doubt of her identity or purposes. Her moral imperative was clear — be a dog — and she embraced it wholeheartedly.
In the last six weeks, she could no longer walk around the neighborhood let alone run in the park. In the last two weeks she lost the ability to stand unassisted or even walk without wobbling or falling down. In the last few days, she lost interest in food, except for sliced turkey.
She passed in Helena’s arms quietly after eating the last bit of sliced turkey.
She leaves a gaping hole in our lives. When I think of her I think how much better our world would be if we embraced our reality the way she embraced hers.
Ken Hartnett is a retired editor of The Standard-Times and SouthCoastToday. He lives in New Bedford.


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