The Life and Death of Brownie


Irish setter dogAfter my parents’ divorce, a brown Irish setter started hanging around our house.  Lindy and I enjoyed him somewhat, but my mother adored that dog.  It was as though he were her new best friend.  She would drive him around in the front seat of her red convertible, and she would stop and buy him a treat at the Dairy Queen while they were out. (Needless to say, she purchased no treats for her two daughters who were at home.)

In her own very original way, she named the dog “Brownie” and set about doing everything she could for him.  He was a stray and so he was gone for days on end exploring the woods in back of our house. When he returned, Mary would coax him into the car and off they would go for another DQ treat or something equally delightful.

One Saturday morning, Mary came into my bedroom sobbing.  She woke me up but was sobbing so hard I couldn’t make out what was wrong.     She was able to choke out the word “Dead” several times.   I sat straight up, concerned that one of our close family members had died.

Finally I was able to determine she was talking about the dog Brownie.  I tried to get her to calm down by reminding her that pets die.  She was so distraught that she loaded the dead Brownie into her car and took him to a vet for an autopsy.  The vet said he had been poisoned but whether by eating something in the woods or by a human’s hand he could not determine.

For the rest of her life, Mary had no more pets.  Like many of her red hot interests, this one had run its course.

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