I'm going to go off topic for a short post in memory of Akila. I feel he deserves at least that much.
Akila was never a good dog. He was always a little too clever and spirited to be good. I remember sitting at the Humane Society in the visiting room with him. He wasn’t the dog we came to see. That dog had already been adopted.
We were strangely hesitant to commit to Akila. There was some whispered warning there that we probably should have heeded, but what fun would that have been?
We eventually decided that if he ate the annoying fly buzzing around us we would take him home. Yes, really. That was our deciding point. As if on cue, he did exactly that. I do believe it was the first and last insect he ever ate.
Shortly thereafter, I put him through obedience classes, which generally went something like this:
Hmm. Mom wants me. I suppose I should… Did you smell that! I have to go check that out! Don’t worry, Mom, I’ll be right back!
He never really learned to come when called, but the instructor graduated us. I still suspect it was out of pity.
Akila’s independent streak continued, leading us on many wild chases through the woods and down the street and even into neighbor’s houses. He would behave for several months, coming when called and lulling us into complacency, then he’d catch wind of something and sprint off while we called frantically after him. Now and then he would even pause and give me that ‘Don’t worry, Mom, I’ll be right back’ look before loping off into the trees with his goofy long-legged lope. Of course, right back with Akila could mean anything from half an hour to four hours later.
Interestingly, this behavior led to the development of a super power. Specifically, my hag voice, which has been known freeze people in their tracks. It is the only thing that could ever drag him back early from one of these adventures. I am sure my neighbors will have nightmares about it for years to come.
Like the cat’s he always got on with so well, Akila never felt the need to please us. He liked us, he thought a nice round of Frisbee catching followed by a milk bone was the best, and he slept by the bed every night in silent appreciation of our care.
Over the last few years, some of that changed. He started losing nerve function in his back end and losing his mind a bit, but even when he was reduced to wobbling around the house and falling a lot, he would occasionally sprint off into the trees, using his hind legs together more like a pogo stick to propel him forward.
Then the bone cancer came. It was clear that his spirit would never give in, but his body had. It was time to help him go. To the last minute, he still wanted his milk bones and he loved the gourmet hamburger we made him for lunch. Then the vet came and he reluctantly moved on. Living with him was never easy. Losing him was harder still.
His body rests on the hill behind the house. Wherever his indomitable spirit is now, I hope he can eat all the popcorn he wants, steal hamburger from the counters, and have many adventures. He will be missed.