For the past 12 years (one Jupiter cycle), my Catahoula Leopard Dog Jupiter has been my companion—neither faithful, nor particularly loving, but nonetheless, much loved. He’s been one of the great teachers of my life, opening me to wider patience and compassion, and initiating me into secrets of the heart I couldn’t have touched any other way.
Bodies age and die, but to the end, Jupiter’s spirit was still kicking, keen for the pleasures of peanut butter balls, raw meat, stolen scraps from the trash, cookies, bones, apples, and chews. He was a handsome boy. My greatest pleasure was watching him run big loping circles around a field, especially one with cows. True to the god he was named for, he loved freedom. I was never sure when I called him that he’d agree to come back, though he mostly did. On one of his great solo adventures he startled a crowd at a Saturday morning Little League game, oblivious to the many posted signs warning “No Dogs Allowed.”
He was a lordly fellow to the last. In the final weeks of his life when he could still take walks in his doggie wheel chair, he loved to roll past the dog park and shout imperially at any dog who might be unaware that Jupiter was still King. On his last morning, he wagged his bent tail when I touched him awake, was patient as I meditated, gobbled a breakfast of raw steak, and then for the first time in a week, dragged himself around the backyard without any help, taking his last poop on his own terms. Good boy! He had cookies throughout the morning, big gulps of water, a juicy ham bone in the afternoon, another raw steak for dinner, and of course, lots of kisses and hugs. I have it on good celestial authority that the goddess Diana was waiting for Jupiter when he passed. Tonight they’ll be running together in the forest under an almost Full Moon.
With much gratitude for the support of many–my vets, those who made the seizure, thyroid and pain medications, the doggie diapers, and the “walking wheels” that kept Jupiter going for several years past his original expiration date.