Wiengarten starts off the book with a 13-page tribute to his dog, Harry. It clearly illustrates his love of animals and his affinity to the subject. The remainder of the book contains one-page, heart-tugging tributes to dozens of aging canines, each with a photo of the beloved pet on the opposite page. The photos make the book. They capture the unique personality of each grey-muzzled, glossy-eyed pet. Your eyes will swell as you read, study the sad-eyed photos, and slowly turn to the next page.
I, too, have an aging dog, or more accurately, he has me. Deacon is a 12-year-old Sheltie, who's always at my side - always. After reading Old Dogs are the Best Dogs, I thought that Deacon was more than worthy of a similar tribute. If Mr. Weingarten is accepting new contributions, here is mine about my dear companion, Deacon.
DEACON (1/23/2001 to hopefully, forever)
Deacon used to run like the wind, cutting corners like an Indy car, his back legs flying out behind him as he turned and sped the opposite direction. He could herd soccer balls, squirrels and kids as well as any Sheltie or Border Collie.
Long strolls in woods and the open fields of North Carolina became more common as he reached midlife. There wasn't a pinecone or tree stump that would go unattended or the slightest noise unnoticed as we walked for hours and hours with Deacon always yards ahead, but constantly looking back for reassurance.
His aging body and creaking joints forced him closer to home as he approached 10, but he didn't mind. He'd just sit and watch the world go by. His hearing was beginning to fail, but his eyes remained sharp and his nose constantly tested the breeze for anything new. On weary legs, he still couldn't resist forcing squirrels back up a tree.
Now over 12, he carefully calculates each movement. He spends his days mostly inside, but begs regularly to get out to survey the front yard, or maybe even venture, ever so slowly, across the street to the woods where he used to stroll for hours. He's always been a lap dog, and as he approaches his final days, he asks for a lap more often. I don't mind. He's been a constant and unwavering friend. I will always love and remember him, long after he's gone. . . But I won't think about that now.