This month fourteen years ago I came upon a golden retriever abandoned a short distance from here. I found him standing in the middle of the muddy road, emaciated and bleeding from the left side of his face. It was raining and cold. He was a miserable sight.
After helping him up into the truck we drove the last quarter mile to the house where I set him up with food and water. While he drank and ate his fill, Paddy politely sniffed at him from a respectful distance before they both settled down for a long sleep beside the wood stove. I didn’t expect him to live through the night. The next day I cleaned his wound and took him in to the local vet who cleaned it some more and gave him a shot of antibiotic. His recovery was rapid in some ways and slow in others. His energy and stamina ramped up quickly but his coat of blonde fur remained dull and dry for several months. Several weeks after that first night I was combing the fur of his neck and heard a click as the metal comb struck something hard and the object fell to the floor beside us. It was a 22 caliber slug. He had been shot in the face and left for dead on the road. The slug had traveled from his left cheek to the right side of his neck and slowly worked its way out. He and Paddy became solid Pals. I never saw either get cross with the other, but did observe them both expressing deep concern for the other when they were sick or injured. We roamed the canyons and surrounding forest together on long treks lasting days at a time and bonded well as a team.
When Quinn died suddenly after eating dog treats made from imported Chinese chicken tainted with melamine Paddy grieved deeply and never really recovered from the loss. Neither have I.