The lion sleeps tonight...

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Blog entry by KnickKnack posted 02-11-2012 04:09 PM 2102 reads 0 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

On thursday night, February 9th 2012, our dog, Leão (portuguese for lion), died.

They suspected that he had liver cancer, but, even so, the exploratory operation shouldn’t have killed him.
But it did.

The life of a dog in Portugal is not always a happy one – we acquired him from our neighbours (from whom we bought our house), when they wouldn’t assure us that, if we didn’t take him, he wouldn’t be put down.
They say that, about 10 years ago, he just walked into their garden one day, and just never left.

He wasn’t very good at being a dog – no-one had taught him to fetch sticks, to play with balls, or to walk around the fields with you.
He wasn’t very good at being a guard-dog – he often slept through people arriving, and he was scared of Land Rovers. I have a sneaking suspicion that, had we been in danger, he’d have done what was required to protect us – but, thankfully, he never had to.
He wasn’t very good at doing what he was told, no matter what language you used. I suspected he understood a lot more than he let on, but, basically, if he didn’t want to get up, he simply wouldn’t. And, at 60kg, he usually got his way.
Whilst his understanding of us was open to question, we got to understand him pretty well – his eyes would say “it’s time to go for a walk”, and we would – as soon as he saw the lead he’d dance around in circles, and run up and down, and his tail would wag furiously, and then he’d go and sit at the gate, waiting patiently while we got ourselves together. It wasn’t the exercise he craved, but the smells – I swear he could tell just with a few sniffs who had been past, when they’d been past, their age, sex, and quite possibly, what they’d had for breakfast.

When we got him, about 4 years ago now, he’d never been inside a house – but when the hot weather set in, we would let him inside downstairs (we live upstairs) – but, unlike the other dog, he always asked if it was OK. And, whenever we went to the toilet (which is downstairs), he’d flash a look as if to say “is it OK if I stay here?”
He had several withering looks – if he was near my workshop and I fired up a power tool, he’d flash a “do you really have to? – people are trying to sleep here” look – he loved to sleep.
To sleep and to think.
But I know not of what he thought, just that he spent a lot of time thinking.

We’ve buried him in the garden where he spent most of his life – I’ve hung his collar over the grave on an olive branch – the small amount of work I did I did with hand-tools – he wouldn’t have liked the noise – we’re going to plant a tree, but it’s not the season. It’s finished only with tears.

It will be many moons before the pain passes – everywhere in the garden are the patches he made for sleeping – under the pampas grass in the winter – under the hydrangea in the summer – and the patch out in the fields, where he’d wait, staring at the road, for our return.

He had, I think, a decent life, but not a good end.

R.I.P Leão – ? → February 9th 2012.

-- "Do not speak – unless it improves on silence." --- "Following the rules and protecting the regulations is binding oneself without rope."

15 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117721 posts in 4083 days

#1 posted 02-11-2012 04:11 PM

They become much loved family members ,sorry for your loss.

View ~Julie~'s profile


617 posts in 3540 days

#2 posted 02-11-2012 04:35 PM

What a beautiful friend you lost, you certainly will miss his presence in the garden. My dogs are my family and are much loved as I’m sure your Leão was.

-- ~Julie~

View ShopTinker's profile


884 posts in 3274 days

#3 posted 02-11-2012 04:52 PM

I had dog like that years ago. She wasn’t good for anything except being a friend. She was however a very good friend! It hurts when their gone, but the memories live on.

Sorry for your loss.

-- Dan - Valparaiso, Indiana, "A smart man changes his mind, a fool never does."

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3679 days

#4 posted 02-11-2012 05:37 PM

I’m so sorry.

He was a stately, handsome fella’. I’m quite certain I would have enjoyed knowing him.

May your pain pass quickly, but your happy memories be permanent.

-- -- Neil

View BigTiny's profile


1676 posts in 3394 days

#5 posted 02-11-2012 06:04 PM

If they don’t let dogs into Heaven, I don’t want to go.

Your friend is in good company, my Shadow, D.J. and Harley, all rescued from troubled pasts and all gentle, loving members of our family. Shadow we lost to Kidney cancer so I know a little of how you feel.

Today we have a cat named Smokey, another rescued friend who needed a home. She was brought home Christmas eve by my wife, who has such a large heart that we’ve had the little one for over nine years now, and for nine years she has had to take pills to help her with her allergy; to cats. She knew it before she brought Smokey home, but the little one needed a home. I love her so much for things like that. (and for putting up with me)


Requiem in pace

-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

View Jim Rowe's profile

Jim Rowe

1095 posts in 2818 days

#6 posted 02-11-2012 06:37 PM

We lived with two Burmese cats for almost 17 years and when they left us it was a huge loss. I know how you must be feeling. Take consolation from the fact that you brought some sunshine into his life.

-- It always looks better when it's finished!

View SouthpawCA's profile


273 posts in 3739 days

#7 posted 02-11-2012 07:44 PM

When I lost my Golden rescue, I thought I was through. Nobody wanted him because he didn’t care for kids all that much. But he knew more of what I needed than I did which resulted in, not 1, but 2 rescues – another Golden and a Setter/Lab mix who were best buddies and didn’t want to be separated. After 6 years they too passed. However, it was only a month and 2 more rescues entered our life – little Chihuahua mixes. I received this in my email today and thought I’d pass it on. It holds true for me.

-- Don

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3196 days

#8 posted 02-12-2012 02:49 AM

I am so sorry for your loss. Dogs just have a way of making our lives better and I know you made his life better as well. Don, That is a great poem that brought a tear to this tough old cowboy’s eyes.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Will Mego's profile

Will Mego

307 posts in 4218 days

#9 posted 02-12-2012 04:51 PM

I’m very sorry for your loss, and the pain you’re going through. You gave him so much, and like others before me said, you did improve his life so very much, and I know he was thankful and grateful in the way that only animals can so purely be.

-- "That which has in itself the greatest use, possesses the greatest beauty." -

View Bertha's profile


13567 posts in 3199 days

#10 posted 02-12-2012 04:55 PM

I had a really difficult time reading that. Terribly sorry for your loss.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View AaronK's profile


1508 posts in 3970 days

#11 posted 02-13-2012 02:44 PM

im sorry for your loss roger. poor guy, but it looks like you gave him the best life you could, which is the main thing. my dog is the same way – a rescue too. he’s not stupid either, just very disobedient. I swear, that 3rd picture on the stairs? I know that look very well!

View superstretch's profile


1531 posts in 3199 days

#12 posted 02-13-2012 02:50 PM

Tears me up just reading your story.. Sounds like you gave him the best life he could’ve asked for.

-- Dan, Rochester, NY

View KnickKnack's profile


1098 posts in 4072 days

#13 posted 12-20-2013 01:01 PM

Farrusca, ??? → Dec 18, 2013, RIP

The neighbours “donated” her to us when they saw that life running free on our little farm was a lot better than life attached to a chain. She adjusted well to the change, as you might expect.
She could be fearsome, as any good guard dog should be, as well as lovely, as any good family dog should be.
She’d been fighting cancer of everywhere for about a year.
It was inoperable.
The day before we took her for a long walk – progress was slow, but she enjoyed every sniff.
The next morning she was dead.
We’ve buried her near Leão.

-- "Do not speak – unless it improves on silence." --- "Following the rules and protecting the regulations is binding oneself without rope."

View ~Julie~'s profile


617 posts in 3540 days

#14 posted 12-20-2013 03:48 PM

How sad that you have lost another beloved dog. I, too, lost one this year and she is missed but never forgotten. You should be content in the thought that you gave Farrusca a life she wouldn’t have had without you.

-- ~Julie~

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3372 days

#15 posted 12-20-2013 05:50 PM

I’m sorry about the passing of your dog. It sounds like he was a fine dog in everything that really matters. I’ve had a good many dogs over the years but hanging on my mirror in my truck are three dog collars. One is Dusty’s collar, one is Sassy’s, and one is Guiness’. I loved all three of them more than I can say and I understand how you feel.

Actually, I’ve never met a dog I didn’t like except for Hank who was the dog from hell. I can’t hardly blame him for being ornery. Some man had shot his back leg off with a shotgun and I guess that he took exception to that fact and never got over it. You just couldn’t negotiate with Hank. It was just plain going to go his way or it wasn’t going to go at all.

You can usually negotiate with most dogs. It sounds like Leoa was a dog that you could always negotiate with. He gave you a whole lot of love in return for a good home but you you loved him back also. You can own a dog but you can’t own a cat. More than likely it’s the cat that owns you.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

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