#1149 Created Updated 12/02/2019
We found her at the pound in Boulder, leaning against the cage door and watching us intently. We'd been dog shopping several times to the humane shelters in both Boulder and Longmont, looking for "just the right dog."
We tried living without a dog after spending 14 years with Mr. Faucho and Rocket J. Raccoon ("Coon Dog"). Father and son and inseparable pals, they died with six months, leaving a very quiet spot in our house. We thought that amazing dogs such as those could never be replaced.
But there we were, at the Pound again, walking the rows of cages, sizing up the dogs. And there was Clawdia, leaning against the cage door, sizing up the humans.
She was amazing from the beginning. When we walked out of the pound door, she led us to our car. When we arrived at home, she was greeted in a very friendly manner by the cat, Mildew, who seemed to say, "Where have you been?" First time in the house, she dashed inside and curled up on the couch.
It took a while, but it slowly occurred to us that Clawdia was a truly remarkable dog. She never had to be trained, always seeming to know what we wanTed her to do before we could voice the command. She was a delight on camping trips, working the perimeter, always between us and whatever dangers she judged lurked in the trees. She was the queen of the yard, fiercely keeping out the bad guys, but always greeting our friends with a wag and a gentle kiss. She played "fence" with a passion, turning so hard at each end of the fence that she eventually pushed up dirt banks 15 inches high.
When Kodi Bear joined our pack a few years ago, she welcomed him into her world, and promptly put him in his place. She took the perimeter, as usual, and Kodi was assigned to stick close and guard our heels. And when Pearl Spunky Faye Trampolina was recruited to be her understudy a year ago, Clawdia took her in without hesitation, and immediately began training her to take over the pack.
It was an amazing show. Always the dominant alpha female, Clawdia would intentionally hang back and force Faye to take the lead on walks. She pulled her around the forest on camping trips, showing her how to sniff out mouse holes and where to lie to get the best view of the forest.
In the last few days before her death, Clawdia seemed unusually alive -- highly energized on walks, super affectionate around the house to Dennis and Jude and Theira, unusually playful for a dog of almost 14 years. Almost, Jude said later, like she knew he days were numbered, and was joyous in the opportunity to say some "good byes" in her own, snugly way.
She slipped out of the yard one night, amidst the coming and goings of the three of us. She hadn't run loose for years, and we just didn't expect it. We didn't even know she was loose until a stranger called to tell about the speeding teenager, the squeal of brakes, and the fatal impact in the street alongside our house.
"Don't make too much fuss over losing a dog," someone said to us afterwards. "It's not like she was a person."
Yeah, right. Thanks for the advice. Swallow hard. Blink back the tears.
She was a great friend, and sleeps now with Mr. Faucho and Coon Dog, in the backyard on Martin Street. She received condolence messages from China, Willy, Whistle, Cedar, Galileo, Spiro, Mac, Negra, Skeezix, Cuba, Reno, Jenny, Katy Skye, Spyder, Poppy, and Sparky.