We got Robin on a dew-drenched morning in early spring some time around 2003 -- not sure because for some reason I don’t think we managed to write it down.
was Rafik, our shepherd mix dog that actually found him, by sniffing
the other side of the fence on the neighbor's side and acting all
Turns out, there was this great big fluffy
orange ball of "dog" that had gotten lost and wandered into our front
yard, and our neighbor's yard.
You really couldn’t tell
what it was, so hairy and fluffy and sort of like a teddy bear, but it
was a chow chow (and pretty much very likely a pure-bred with a nice
purple tongue, quite young -- no more than 4 years, said the vet), and
he was completely disoriented (and okay, a little dumb but in a lovable
way) and at first our neighbor wanted to take him to the pound, then
considered keeping him himself (he already had another chow, but an
older one). But my mom fell in love instantly and said we are keeping
him. So our nice neighbor caught the dog, put him in his side yard, and
then later in the day brought him over to our back yard.
chow chow ran around warily at first, checking us and our dogs out, but
since we left the back door open and just ignored him on purpose, he then
decided he was home, and just came inside as though it was all normal
and stuff. We all pretended it was.
And that was that.
So now we had ourselves yet another dog, and called him Robin.
we never really called him Robin except on his formal vet visit
paperwork -- he was Boba, Bob, Bobby, Bobsie, Baboolia, Baboolia-Babah,
and Roba (my dad's name for him).
Robin had a gorgeous
deep baritone bark, and he loved to run around our back yard and chase
and guard squirrels. He also herded cats occasionally and when they got
too close to his food dish, he defended it with his honor. He also
barked at passerby and "defended" his food dish thoroughly each time
someone walked by on the sidewalk. Okay, he was a lovable dummy.
are unpredictable, and Robin was lovable and without a mean bone in his
body but stubborn, so was not easy to get groomed (and scared both
groomers and some vets), and he definitely was his own dog. He was
never particularly greedy about food (except the "guard the food dish
from all visitors cause that's the sole reason they come here" thing
which was hilarious, cause afterwards he would always take a single bite
of the kibble very meaningfully, and then just walk away). And he got
along fine with the other dogs.
Robin also must have been
trained in a very strange way by whoever had him before us, because he
was not particularly obedient, but whenever my mom brandished the broom
he would come in. And also eventually later he apparently learned
Russian, because mom would say "palka" which meant "stick" in Russian,
and that was sufficient to get him to come inside when all else failed.
Not that anyone ever used "the palka" on him, we just spoke about it
and invoked it loudly.
Robin had a tendency to get outside
the gates by accident and sort of run off in the alley and Mom would
chase him (also hilarious), but yeah, he was really mom's beloved dog,
and you knew it. *grin*
He used to have hotspots, and we
would shave him so he looked like a lion with a big fluffy mane and a
naked body, which was just fine for California weather.
last years when foreclosure and other misfortunes overtook us, he was
getting up there in years, and as you know he and Charlie rode in the
car with us on the trip from California to Vermont.
we got here, and after Charlie died this Halloween, Robin must have
caught kennel cough or some kind of respiratory infection, because for
these last two months he had a horrible lung congestion, couldn't
breathe or sleep or eat properly, and we tried all kinds of things the
best we could at home, and we could not afford a vet visit
It was hell watching him suffer (my poor
mom especially took it so hard), and finally yesterday -- just as I
thought his lung congestion was down and he might be getting better --
we sadly realized he was choking on his food. Since he could not sleep
for days, it was additional hell (he was exhausted and spent all night
for about a three nights trying to sleep on his feet, staggering up and
So we contacted the local vet and they
could only see him today (the 24-hour vet was more expensive and too far
away). And so this morning, in a light snow, I loaded Robin in the
jeep, and drove him to the vet. And there, they said he had horribly
swollen lymph nodes that were blocking his airway, and putting him to
sleep was the right thing to do.
They gave him strong anesthesia
first, and he actually went to sleep literally, and stopped breathing
and passed away more gently before they even injected the actual
After two long months of suffering, and around
10 years of age, poor dear lovable dummy orange ball of fur Robin is
finally at peace.
It is hard to believe he is no longer
here, and the house is so quiet now. The last of our beloved dogs is
gone over the Rainbow Bridge...
We will miss you dearly, sweetheart, and see you on the other side.
And now, rest gently, sleep and breathe and dream easy, dear friend.
Until we meet again.