Eulogy for Iris

Iris My mother’s dog Iris was killed by a coy­ote today in the fall rains. I remem­ber when we got her, eleven or twelve years ago, not long after my parent’s divorce. We drove quite a dis­tance to find the dachs­hund pup­pies and I picked the lone black & tan one from the lit­ter. I kept her in my coat on the way home and she whim­pered and yelped for hours on end. I said I was going to keep her with me through the night, but her yip­ing was such that I passed her off to mom that same night, and she was hers from then on. I told mom that’s how I knew that I wasn’t ready to have a child.

She had sev­en nip­ples. I called her Iris Under­foot because she was always around my feet, and I acci­den­tal­ly stepped on her a few times when she was a pup­py sit­ting right behind me as I washed dish­es. She grew extra bowl-legged because of this. She was a princess of a dog, and my mom would nev­er pun­ish her for get­ting into the trash or chew­ing through just about any­thing. When we had to start caging her, mom bought the largest cage for a lit­tle minia­ture dachs­hund. If ever my mom and I went to hug each oth­er she’d grow indig­nant and bark and bark until we stopped. She was indig­nant about a lot of dif­fer­ent things, a gal­lon of fuss and both­er in a pint of dog. She would run and run and run and patrol the acres of yard we had and it was hilar­i­ous to watch her tear across the yard after some­thing or some­one.

She used to front on the hors­es in the field next door and one day Beau the horse decid­ed to mess with her, he gal­loped toward her, Iris was frozen in fear, slowed and stopped in front of her and then just nudged her with his nose. She yiped and skedad­dled. I’m pret­ty sure she nev­er act­ed uppi­ty to the hors­es ever again, instead choos­ing to reg­u­lar­ly cor­ner [and get sprayed by] a skunk under the deck. She wouldn’t eat, drink or poop if mom wasn’t around.

Her full name was The Lady Coun­ty Blue Iris Jean McAfee Mac­Dou­gal Onas­sis von Barnard Jean Har­vey III, Esq. Berghein-Leer; and though I gave her a lot of shit, I’ll miss her.