Eulogy for Iris

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

IrisMy 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.