Sunday, May 12, 2013

Farewell to Our Darling

July 4, 1999-May 11, 2013
Ramsey always propped his head on the armrest of "his" chair

This is a letter to God from our daughter, Becky, about Ramsey. Although Ramsey belonged to Becky, he's been living with us since our grandson was born, five years ago. The tiny house already contained husband and wife, two large dogs and two cats when Nate arrived. By the time they moved to a larger house, Ramsey had developed arthritis. The steps were difficult for him, so he continued to live with us.

Dear God,

Yesterday afternoon, you may have noticed Ramsey Chase Fowler, a creature of uncommon beauty, as he passed through your gates (which we hope are not electric – he doesn’t do well with electric gates). Violet Rice, Sophie Fowler, and Arlo Chase, among others, would have been there to greet him.

If you missed Ramsey for some reason, I hope you will go look for him today. I promise you it will be worth it! You may be especially interested in his uncanny knack for bringing out the very best in people. Anyway, here are some tips on how to find him…

First of all, Ramsey will be as far as possible from any Arabbers* you might have with you, so don’t start there.

If you see a circle of angels, half kneeling, oooh-ing and ahh-ing, check to see what’s at the center. It’s probably Ramsey, his soft fur, velvety ears, and soulful gaze just discovered by adoring new companions.

You should also check for him in the kitchen, if you have something like that there, or beneath the dining room table. His love for us was nearly matched by his love for snacks. And as you’ll probably come to appreciate, Ramsey is a sublimely patient dog. He will wait as long as it takes.

Do you have any comfortable old chairs there, with wide seats and low armrests and yummy upholstery? If so, it’s a safe bet Ramsey will soon find his favorite among them. And from that point forward, it will be much, much easier to locate him at any given moment.

And finally, having come fully into his own before he left us, Ramsey may even be where the children play. With them, his sublime patience served again, slowly replacing his fear of their quick movements and high-pitched voices with gentle love.

Good luck in your search and know that if you see that a pillow is missing from your couch, you’re hot on his trail. And when you find our Ramsey, please make sure he knows how much we love him and will miss him. Most important, please, please let him on your lap and enjoy him, fulfilling his heart’s simple desire, for all eternity. Please take care of our Ramsey for us!

Thank you and Amen,

p.s. Also, if it’s not against the rules there, he’d love a good game of “pull” every now and then. 

*"Arabbers" are men who sell fresh produce on the streets of Baltimore from horse-drawn carts. Ramsey would get nervous if he encountered an arabber during a daytime walk, but the mere glimpse of the silhouette of a distant cart after sundown unhinged him. He would hightail it back to their rowhouse, dragging his mistress by his leash, as if they were being  pursued by a pack of wolves. 

Ramsey was either all or part pit-bull. Opinions varied. When he moved from Baltimore to Prince George's County, MD, where owning a pitbull is illegal, he was transformed into a "terrier mix" overnight.