A Silent Musician

A Free Form Column that rarely has a point or a purpose other than to amuse

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Location: Portland, OR, United States

Monday, October 08, 2007

Copper Requiem

Thursday October 4th 2007, my dog Copper was put to sleep. He is a Chow Chow that broke the mold of Chows it seems. Way back in the fall of 1995, I believe, we went and got Copper from a breeder. Supposedly he is a pure breed with full documents, though we never got any. Whether he is an heir of the royal dogs of China or not, our house was his domain and he had to pass judgment on guests. When we first got Copper everyone told us horror stories of mean overprotective Chows. In the beginning we rethought our getting him a few times. Though as time went on we found that our "lion dog", as kids called him, was very gentle and even tempered. Only the Meter Reader and my uncle Warren ever got consistent barks and growls. Whenever the Meter Reader would come around our house Copper would stand his ground and not let strangers in the yard. Many days mom was awaken by a knock on the door and a request to bring Copper inside.

A few years ago, it's been to long ago, Copper went blind in one eye. Mom took him to the vet and found that Glaucoma is hereditary in Chows because of the in-set eyes. Sadly, a couple years later the other eye went bad too. Mom tried to save Copper's sight but Glaucoma is too fast moving in dogs to be saved much more than 12 hours from initial onset. Some how though, Copper could see shadows and managed to get a round quite well for a few more years. Then one Autumn something unforgettable happened, especially unforgettable for a blind house dog.

I believe it was around October. No one was going to be home for a couple days or a week so Mom/Angela (I don't remember) took Copper out to the Farm. When Copper had his sight he loved to hang out at the Farm with the other dogs. If we were to be gone Copper would stay at the farm and live free for a few days. Apparently Copper had heard of the movie Homeward Bound because he disappeared. 2 days, 4 days, a week, 2 weeks went by and no Copper. We accepted that Copper had gone off into the wild to die with dignity. Little did we know Copper was not one to lay down and die. 30 days after we found him gone we got a call. A dog had wandered on to the farm of someone we rent pasture from. This farm was 30 miles west of were Copper began this epic journey. Mom drove to the family's farm and picked up a very skinny very ratty Copper. Half his fur was matted with burs and twigs, one of his blind bulging eyes was back to normal size and his stout frame was bony. He was alive though.

This journey happened over 4 years ago. Since then, just as humans do, Copper got older and slower and a little more selective in his hearing. The only thing that got more useful over time was his nose. Robbed of sight and most of his hearing, Coppers nose became his walking cane. Copper would bump into things and people as he made his way around the house. He spent a lot of time outside amongst the birds and squirrels. Come rain or snow copper would be outside and come in dripping or full of pine needles. During the winter Copper would blend into the snowdrifts and sometimes you couldn't find him in the yard initially. If you were on the floor, you were fair game to sit on in his mind. Also, if he was sprawled on the floor he was fair game to use as a pillow. Oh the fur and fluff that is known as a Chow.

Goodbye Copper, you are missed and loved. Chase rabbits and squirrels and soak up the sun.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Home away from home

I don't know how many of you have seen or heard the report but I wanted to share it. For the last 4 years a group of artist have been living in an apartment that they built and furnished in the parking garage of a Rhodes Island mall. Just this week security guards found the apartment and have evicted the occupants. This living space was not their full time home but they did stay there for up to 3 weeks at a time. The idea behind it all is really neat and the instigator says no harm was meant. For more information follow this link to the Trummer Kind website and the Living in the Mall section. This incident has spark some neat responses all over the globe. Sadly, the mall didn't take the covert apartment lightly. No charges have been pressed but the artists are banned from the mall. I hope they don't destroy the apartment because it is a testament of coexistence and minimalism. Would you live in a mall?