The Old Guard Has Fallen

You never know what you have until it’s gone. The old adage is so true for me, and another family as we mourn the loss of a dear great friend.

George and Vega taking a break
on the patio.

George wasn’t like anyone else. He marched to the beat of his own drum. He loved hard and played harder. When he ran the very ground thundered under his feet. He was a giant! His size intimidating many. He had a huge heart though, a teddy bear in a big body. And he loved kids the most. George was a jewel in a crown; that’s priceless and can’t be replaced. And the hole he left in his passing, leaves a huge vacant space in that crown that can’t be filled with anything else. 

The space that he held is now an empty vacuum of space; where now the enemy at the gate has breached. 

That’s why I can’t hold back my grief pouring out of my soul today.  The empty place where he daily sat is so vacant and void of his passive quiet strength. 

You see George was a Great Dane. And the space he held as a quiet sentinel, keeping watch over my yard and protecting my ducks; has been filled with rogue dogs who now stand ready to fill that void with their malice attempts to make a meal of my livestock. 

For four years, George would get up early every morning and travel down the path he wore into the grass between his own home and my house. 

He would greet me at the duck’s coop as I let them out from their protective cage into their run. He would circle my property and then play with the other small neighbor dog who also comes into my yard for daily for her breakfast. She’s a chipper chiweenie dog with a sassy attitude. They were the odd couple. George lived for the chase that she gave. He would gallop all over my yard face pressed back in a Great Dane smile as he ran from Vega. 

She lived to chase him and nip at his legs, then they would settle down in my driveway as George took up his old post. 

It’s was a very strange relationship. Much like an old married couple where the wife nagging at her husband causes him to retreat to his favorite chair; where he was content to just sit and watch her scurrying around chasing bugs and fetching sticks. George loved Vega, and Vega loved George. Yesterday I watched her as she stood at the top of my driveway looking at his house; and looking back at me with questioning eyes. 

His large body has made an indentation in the ground where he laid day after day, his nose pointing to the houses down the road where a German Shepherd named Chase lives, as well as other interlopers who tried to wonder up our dead end road. 

And when any stray or uninvited animal tried to cross the field into my yard, George would halt them by standing up. He stood his ground unless he was forced to advance towards his foe. His massive size was enough to deter anyone or anything from entering.

The postal workers never left their vehicles if they saw George. They would rather honk their horn, if I was home, and I would retrieve my package.  I would always assure them that he was a gentle giant. But they didn’t buy it!

On the occasion that someone was brave enough to enter my perimeter, they were pleasantly surprised by George’s sanguine greeting; as he leaned his massive black body into their hip begging for a good pet on his head and rump. His old eyes looking up and his mouth open in a smile when he was obliged. 

But George never let unauthorized dogs near my yard. And when Vega invited them; he shook his head at her and chased them off again and again. 

His sweet loyalty was affirmed twice when something happened to two of my ducks while he was off duty at his own home. 

He helped me find the body of one of my drakes. We determined that the duck had gotten out and was molested by a neighbor dog. When George had seen my distress as I was searching for my Barney duck, he took me to the spot where Barney had  passed away. 

Another night while George was at his own home, something chewed into my duck coop. I had missed putting the ducks up that particular night. The matron hen gave her life to save her family. I found the others huddled in a mass at the other end of the coop the next morning. My hen was missing. 

That afternoon George brought her body back to me. 

George paid himself for his consistent and attentive service; with my duck eggs. They were just in reach for him to sneak his snout through a hole to snag and make a quick snack out of them. 

I just laughed when I caught him, as he reminded me of a mob boss who made arrangements with me for payment. The eggs were part of our deal.  

George was larger than life. And his loss is a deep wound! He can’t be replaced. 

He will be missed every day. Especially now that I have to chase off the dogs,  that didn’t wait long after George left, to make their own mark in my yard and go after my ducks. 

George in his wisdom knew the character of these dogs, and kept them at bay.

I don’t know what to do without him!

 He was a Great Dog!!  

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