God Bless You, Rufie — We Will Miss You

Big Red Car here.  A very sad, sad, sad day in the ATX.  Rufus the Shih Tzu drowned today.  Rufie is dead and buried.  Oh, what a sad day indeed.

The Boss discovered him floating in the pool and tried to revive him but Rufus was gone.

The Boss dug a grave and buried Rufie under the Perfect Daughter’s and Son’s windows so he can safeguard the house for the rest of time.  It was sad duty indeed.

You had to know Rufie to really appreciate what it meant to be truly independent.  He was an independent and confident little son of a bitch.  He had real grit and character.  Fearless in the face of much bigger dogs.

In his prime, he would fearlessly boss around the Poodles around the corner and tell Bella, the Labrador, how the cow was going to eat the cabbage.  He would tangle with possums and coons and get the best of them.  He was a fierce little guy who lived the adage that it is not the dog in the fight, it is the fight in the dog.  Rufie was full of fight.  You had no choice but to respect that.

If you screwed with him, he would unapologetically bite you.  One night a drunken 20-something thought it would be a good idea to shake the little Shih Tzu.  Rufie almost bit his nose off and said:  “How does that feel, bitch?  Want to play shake the Shih Tzu again?  Yeah, I didn’t think so.”

He was old and had lost an eye and was hard of hearing and was getting a bit arthritic.  But he deserved a better death than just drowning.  What a shitty way to die.

He  had recently taken to just walking into the swimming pool by accident — his eyesight was failing — and then swimming to the side and climbing out on the steps or waiting until The Boss would come get him.  Today, he didn’t make it out of the pool and he drowned.

Rufus enters our lives

Rufus came into our lives as an auction prize from the Helping Hand Debutante Gala.  The Perfect Daughter was about 8 years old and she wanted that cute little Shih Tzu.  A woman was also bidding on Rufie and it took some real resolve to win that bid, but that was God’s plan.  It was a good one, an expensive one.

Little did anyone know what a tyrant he would become.  So, The Boss paid whatever it took and got him.  The bidding was spirited.  Rufie came at a dear price.  But it would turn out to be one of the best bargains ever.

Rufie takes over

So Rufie was not going to be trained or any other nonsense.  He was going to train you.

He was as cute as a dog could be and if I were a single young man looking to meet some lovely lasses, I would have taken that Shih Tzu with me everywhere.  He was the original chick magnet.

Rufie was full of fight and energy and would come running into a room and leap into the air and glide like Superman.  He particularly loved to run into the kitchen, Superman it and slide on the little rug in front of the sink.  He was a hoot.

Here is Rufus when he was supervising the new pool construction.  He loved to growl at the workmen who quickly realized that Rufie was all growl.

There was nothing more fun than taking Rufie out to the lakehouse where he curiously used to love to roll in deer shit.  Go figure.

Rufie’s troubles

Rufie was a healthy dog for most of his life until he encountered an eye problem which culminated in his losing an eye.  He was about 16 years old, about 96 in people years.

The Boss tried to save that eye and it is one of the most miserable failures of The Boss’s life that he was not successful.  He stayed up through a couple of nights administering drops and salves until finally the eye hemorrhaged and the eye was lost forever.

The Boss had it removed and thereafter, Rufie had a “comb over” and The Boss would give detailed instructions as to how Rufie was to be groomed to provide maximum eyesight from the good eye and to camouflage the missing eye.

The Boss always felt bad about that eye and so when the other eye became infected, The Boss turned over Heaven and Earth to save it.  It became a contest between The Boss and the world and the forces of evil and aging to save that remaining eye.

Rufie rallied and the eye was saved.  The Boss and Rufie both knew it did not make up for losing the first eye but Rufie cut The Boss some slack.  Though sometimes he would look at The Boss out of his one good remaining eye as if to say — “Hey, stupid, not such a good job on that first eye, eh?”

Rufie and The Boss liked nothing better than hanging out in The Boss’s office.  They had their ritual wherein Rufie would climb the stairs and come scooting into the office and sniff around until finally The Boss would give him a couple of cookies and Rufie would settle in for a nice long nap.

The Boss bought him a luxurious bed and would put it under the window and shutters so on a sunny day, Rufie could sleep in the sunlight.

The Boss loved that dog more than 75% of the people he knows.  Hell, he was smarter than about 90% of them anyway.

Rufie’s end

Rufie had been evidencing more and more aging.  He had the bad eye and his good one was not all that good.  He was clearly going blind.

He could not run around like he had when he was younger.  No more Superman though he would rally from time to time.  He could still give you a damn good bite when you merited one.

He was hard of hearing and he was arthritic.  He was clearly limping around and it took him some time to warm up for the day.

Still The Boss and Rufie liked hanging out together and The Boss could not really get down to work until Rufie was comfortable.

It looks like Rufie wandered off the edge of the patio and fell into the pool

The Boss seems to recall hearing Rufie barking and Bella, the Labrador, barking but that was not a totally unusual happenstance.  In any event, one has to think that Rufie had fallen into the pool and was calling for help.  The Boss failed to respond.  Damn it!

In some ways, it is a blessing as Rufie’s quality of life was diminishing and it was sad to see his decline.  He was always such a feisty little fellow.  Small comfort.

When The Boss finally looked out the window, he saw Rufie floating head down in the pool.  One of the saddest sights one can ever see.  He rushed downstairs and waded into the pool fully clothed.  He tried to revive the little fellow, but alas, he was gone.

The Boss laid Rufie out on a chaise and went about digging his grave.  It was a sad duty but it was necessary.  The Boss was not about to let anyone else dig that grave.

The Boss dug him a fine grave — straight, sharp corners and just the right depth.  He dug it under the windows of the Perfect Daughter and Son — next to some azaleas — so that Rufie would be able to stand guard for the rest of time.

Then The Boss cried like a baby and honored that damn good dog.  You honored us with your presence.  If only we could have been the people you thought we were.  Thank you, Rufie.

I will miss you, Rufie.  The Boss will miss you.  Godspeed, Rufie.


17 thoughts on “God Bless You, Rufie — We Will Miss You

  1. Really sad news indeed. Very sorry for your loss. Last summer my dog was very sick for several weeks. He almost didn’t make it. Terrible time.

    Don’t blame yourself. Dogs are temerarily careless and happy. That makes them what they are. But also prone to accidents. I’m fully sure that Rufie could not have asked for a better friend than you.

  2. Sorry to hear about Rufie. I’m reminded me of the story of Reagan when his favorite horse died. When asked why he was smiling during the burial, he replied, “I’m thinking about all the good times we had together.”

    Hope your day has been one of smiles as well.

  3. sorry for your loss. very long life, and productive in dog speak. I am amazed at how attached we get to dogs. I miss my buddy Satchmo whenever I read stories like this.

  4. JLM, I can relate to you more than you’ll ever imagine.

    We almost lost our 14 1/2 yr old Bichon Frise, Pasha last week, and it’s a miracle he’s still with us for God knows how much longer.

    Last week, on Friday I sat down and wrote Pasha’s obituary while he was still fighting for his life in the ICU. Luckily, he made it and I published a website and blog for him http://pashagivesback.com/ and a little fundraising to help his cause.

    We are being realistic about his prognosis, but when the time comes, I’m going to whisper in his ear to go find Rufie and hang around with him in Dog Heaven. Really sorry for your loss. It’s a terrible thing to lose a dog. Really sad.

    • .
      Funny thing is that our Lab seems to be in mourning also. She seems very sad and misses Rufie.

      I guess dogs are way smarter than we think. I know Rufie was smarter than 90% of the people I know.

      Thanks, William.


      • I read that people plant something on top of a pet’s home grave,- a little tree or perennial plant. That way, when the roots reach down there, the decomposition is a good fertilizer, and you’ll have part of him back on the tree.

  5. I am sorry, Jeffrey. I never really had a personal dog for that long, so I can’t say I know how you feel, but i can imagine. Well, you have good memories of the time you had together, and that’s something that can’t be taken away from you.

  6. Sorry for your loss. Hounds are an essential part of our family lives. We had an Irish Setter for over 17 years and was one of the oldest the vet had ever seen. He was nuts but everyone loved him dearly especially our guys when they were younger. We still raise a glass in his honor.

    He will always be with you though.

    • .
      Thanks, Tom.

      I have never met a good man who was bad to a dog. Just like I never met anyone who cheated at golf who played straight in life.

      If I could have one wish — be the man that my dogs think I am.


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