Eulogy for Iris

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

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.