This morning my dog passed away. He was our second dog, and the last guardian of the house I grew in and where my parents currently live. My dad wrote the following eulogy in our native language, which I have translated to English:
After a long day in the crossfire at work, I arrived home, opened the gate, and parked my car in the two-car carport. While stepping out of my car, I heard the serious bark of a small, insulted dog who was shielding himself under my wife’s car. In the midst of his bursts of barks, I kneeled down to look at him and found a brave white puppy with a flat snout, displeased to the bone due to my presence in what he assumed was his house. We never found out how he got here. The most credible theory is that some evil breeder abandoned him for not being profitable (he was a mix of Labrador and Shar-Pei, you could imagine). From that moment on, he remained as the owner of our house, and it hurts to say, until today, when the canine angels from the heaven for dogs received him as a hero for his faithfulness to his assigned job on Earth.
When he first showed up at home, we searched for his owner in the neighborhood to return him. We found nobody; they all had dogs and some of them had many. There was no choice, he stayed with us. But we think that he never understood that the house was ours. Therefore, we decided to live on as guests in Zeus’ house. As his body grew, so did his voice, that of an African lion, which became the unfailing deterrent to the antisocials who roamed our neighborhood.
One day, Zeus awoke in a stretcher, leaving an operating room: dizzy, muzzled, and tied. The surgeon had soldered his fractured femur with a large platinum bar that remained with him or his entire life. It was due to a regrettable accident: my wife got in her car, turned it on, and set out to leave the carport when she herd a howl of pain that drove her to step on the brakes immediately. During the next few minutes, my nephews, who were living with us during that time, managed to subdue the ferocity of a hurt, 130-pound dog, and took him to the emergency room.
They say that dogs are loyal; Zeus went over the bar, and he proved it without a doubt during Hurricane Maria. As Maria approached our island, giving due credit to the forecasts, I moved my family to a safer house. I stayed back home with Zeus to face the hurricane, and if we succeeded, to defend the house from the antisocials who would take advantage of the imminent destruction. Man and dog, with no weapons other than our ears and sight, began to hear the hurricane’s growing and chilling roar, and to feel the bursts of wind and horizontal rain. Nearing its peak, we retreated to the main room’s closet, made of cement walls that offered safety amid the destruction. As water began to cover our tile floors, centimeter by centimeter, we climbed on a 4-inch tall wooden platform that we had brought in anticipation of this event. While silent, we waited for the hurricane’s fury to pass, looking at each other through the infernal darkness with the help of an LED penlight. After everything passed, with the clarity of daylight, we left our refuge to inspect the surrounding destruction. Nothing in sight was recognizable; everything that once stood vertically was now laying horizontally, mixed in a chaos of debris brought back from who knows where. I know that Zeus understood the same thing I did, because he sat next to me on the steps of the pool, which was full of floating and sunk debris. And I think that he cried with me, because he softly laid down his snout on my right thigh, as I could barely held my head up with my hands.
After the hurricane passed, and after weeks passing by without water, without electricity, without phone, without internet and without gas to survive, I sent my family to the United States. This time, Zeus would demonstrate the greatness that only dogs can have. We remained back once more, alone, but after a month of fighting to provide a life for my family with no concrete results, we had to separate. Zeus remained in Puerto Rico, taking care of the house as was his divine mandate, and I set out to the United States to find work to cover my family’s expenses. He was alone for more than a year, taken cared of by a person who was in charge of feeding him. I would visit him once a month. When we all returned from our diaspora, Zeus was there, waiting for us: noble, faithful, and without remorse, but with visible sequelae from the scourge of time to which he would one day have to yield. Painfully, that day was today.
As one without friends, I will miss him. Because in addition to being an energetic guardian, he was my inseparable companion during my morning walks every day through a cement path with abrupt slopes and many stairways with half-a-foot tall steps that meandered around our house. But should a dog’s heaven have any communication with ours, I am sure that Zeus will join us in eternity.