Farewell Turbo
by Gary Torres
Jul 07, 2010 | 3050 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Turbo.  Gary Torres photo
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I just finished driving 850 miles so that I could be by Turbo’s side when he was put to sleep. 

There are few people that have liked me and stuck by me as much as Turbo.  He used to run with me; then he and I slowed down some and we could only go for a walk, lately, he mostly moved between his bed and the grass.  

My too kind and loving wife is worried that I might put her down when she gets old, because she knows how much I liked Turbo and when it was time; well, it really had to be done.

This is more than a sad day for me.  I knew this day would come.  Turbo had a large tumor removed several months ago and we have been giving him doggy-asprin so that he could have a few more good months, but it was time. 

I thought about some of the lives he touched.   He loved  kids and seemed to have a perfect disposition to calm even the most timid child.  He once saved our kids from a bear, that’s another story for a different time.  He was a gentle giant.  He was like a big shag carpet with legs.

Some of the neighborhood ladies liked to think of Turbo as a canine vacuum cleaner, the Hoover-Turbo.  They would simply let him in their sliding door and he would “hoover” their floor better than the Hoover salesman every could; and, added bonus, he would leave when asked to.   

He used to walk with the neighborhood ladies and one even claimed that his mere presence deterred an attack from a rather rabid coyote, wolf, or bear… she wasn’t sure but saw something move in the bushes.  I doubted his bravery, as he was once chased off of our front porch by a hissing-spitting baby kitten.

You know you learn most of life’s lessons from dogs.  My good friend said that the key to a happy marriage is to treat your husband like a dog, “Feed him lots of meat, house train him, scratch his belly once in a while, take him to the vet to get fixed and he will be much less worrisome, and once in awhile whack him with a two-by-four to make sure he knows you’re the boss.” 

At the time it all sounded like pretty sage advice but I haven’t passed it on to my too kind and loving wife.

Turbo said that you should never pass up a chance to go for a long walk or for a joy ride, even if you have to sit in the back of the truck. And you should always enjoy the experience of fresh air blowing in your face. 

When Turbo was young enough to have uncontrolled exuberance, he ensured that when a loved one came home he would run to greet them and let them know that he missed them and that this would be a good time for a treat or a scratch of his ears. 

This is good advice for most relationships.  He made it a point to wag his tail; nothing says welcome home to a man like a little wag of his spouse’s tail.

Turbo had been trying to teach me how to live a full and happy life since he was a puppy.  Lessons, such as romp and play each and every day, take naps in the sun, be loyal and bond with your pack because someday you’ll need them to survive were his mantra.

He kept telling me, “Don’t pretend to be something you are not and eat with gusto and enthusiasm.” 

I tried to follow some of his advice.  I probably should have done less of both.  Once he had a bone buried in the front flower garden and my too kind and loving wife caught him digging a hole the size of a compact car.

He looked up with eyes that said, “Hey, if you want what lies buried... dig until you find it.”  He always knew when I was having a bad day so he would nuzzle me until eventually I would feel better.  That is probably good advice for all of us.

I can’t tell you how many times Turbo reminded me that when you are having a bad day, avoid biting, when a growl will do.  And no matter how many times you are scolded, run right back and make friends.  On cold nights curl up close to someone you love.  And never forget that when you are happy, dance like nobody is watching.

I don’t know where dogs go when they die, but I hope Turbo goes somewhere that has kids to play with and a friendly neighborhood that can appreciate his demeanor.  Honestly, he edited most of my newspaper columns and any wit or wisdom that you may have found here was put there by him. 

I will miss having someone to listen to me that isn’t so judgmental or trying to convert me to their philosophical point of view or sell me something.  I think I will be at a loss without him.  My Cave seems a little darker and colder this day.  

Mark Twain said, “Live your life so that even the undertaker is sad when you die.”  You know, even our cat is walking around missing him.  So if I look like I have a sad face, it’s because I just lost my best friend. 

And we all know that if you have been fortunate enough to have a few good friends in a life time; you have lived an abundant life.
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