An Ode to Igor – 2001-2016

1001 dog showCasey was an only child. Sometimes she pined for a sibling then changed her mind, preferring to get all the attention and possibly more Christmas presents for herself. Moon in Leo. But like so many kids she wanted her own pet who would be her loyal friend, who would never betray her and stick with her at her worst when she’d stomp off to her room to cry, scream and pound it out.

Erika and I stalled for time. We got her a pet rat named Banjo, but rats don’t live long. We had our cat Grimsby, but Casey looked at him as our cat. We got her a Tomogotchi digital pet. We went to dog shows and got her books on dogs which she devoured, falling in love with a half dozen breeds until she got to W – whippets. They’re sprinters bred to chase rabbits, 35 MPH couch potatoes, skinny, quiet and gentle.

EPSON scanner image

We got Igor from a gay couple in the East Bay who mostly bred boxers when they had a IMG_3706_2litter of 10 whippets from 2 champions from Ohio. Igor was born with a twisted foot, thus the name Igor, like Dr. Frankenstein’s crippled assistant. Casey was also reported to have been born with a twisted foot. But in both cases their feet were fine.

In our first month together Igor didn’t make a sound, and then he barked at something, a deep bark that surprised us all, probably over a squirrel. He loved going to the Mill Valley dog park where he’d goad the other dogs to play chase. They never caught him. One day he ran off to the far side of the park where a woman with fiery red hair and a white streak tended to her little dog. Casey ran after him and we saw her talking to the red haired woman. It was rock star Bonnie Raitt. But then Igor got attacked and bitten by other neighborhood dogs and he didn’t want to play chase anymore, preferring to stick to himself. Igor never ever bit or hurt a flea (well OK except for Sandra’s bird); he was a beta dog who loved to sleep under Casey’s covers up against her stinky feet.

Then one January morning Casey literally disappeared.

Igor became our prosthetic to survive. He endured injuries, more dog bites, heart disease and old age until his running days were over. He lost 10 pounds which would be like me losing 50 pounds. He labored for breath. Erika doted on him because she needed to dote on something. It’s so hard to read an animal in distress and Igor hung in there like a trooper until his enlarged heart and massive tumor in his abdomen made life too painful.

Igor July 29, 16Yesterday we sent him off to the dog park in heaven where he rejoined Casey, but also Grimsby, Lola, Ruby, Rosie, Dakota and Hunter, among others. He’s no longer in pain and can run to his whippet heart’s content.

As for Erika and me, we wake up to his empty bed and half finished food bowl. The house is still … again. We have to find new routines. And at least for now we can’t allow ourselves to fall in love with another pet only to endure the pain of loss again.




13 thoughts on “An Ode to Igor – 2001-2016

  1. John & Erika,

    Just went online for the first time in a while and I saw the sad news. You told me that it could happen soon but I never thought it would be this soon. Karen and I send send our condolences realizing that Igor was your last living link to Casey which makes it so much more heart-wrenching. I will cherish our little Minky even more because of this since we can never know when the end will be and don’t want any regrets. By the way, that is such a beautiful picture of Igor on the red couch.

    Sending our love, Phil & Karen

    • Thank you Phil and Karen. I was worried about telling you because I know hiw dearly you loved Igor and how you are part of his and our extended family. There was no way to spare you, during the difficult time you yourselves are going through. Just know that Iggy told me/ us that he was ready, and I even had to promise him that he would not have to suffer another 24 hrs.. That knowledge and that alone, makes me feel that we did the most loving and fair thing for him. His passing and the radical change that suddenly brings to our lives, is a head’s up to me, that for all of us and for everything physical, there is antime when there is a big transformation…and sometimes it takes the form of death. Iggy has been so slow and his movements were painful despite the Rimadyl he got to ease his aches and pains. Yet he was so focused on still enjoying as much as he could. He taught me more then ever, to slow down and appreciate each moment fully, especially those that include joy, happiness and pleasure…….and LOVE. I am going to hold onto that and always try to look at it from his vauable perspective. ” Live in the Moment”
      Sending hugs to Karen and You and a very special pet and nuzzle to sweet Minky. We will never forget our last visit to your house when Iggy and Minky were snuggled together on your deck…so heartwarming….

  2. So sorry to hear about Igor. Losing a pet is heartbreaking and for you, even more so. My thoughts are with you and Erika.

    • Thank you so very much, Pamela. It is making me think of the time-proven saying, ” It is better to have loved, and have ,lost……………then not to have loved at all”.
      The depth of the pain is totally related to how deepy we loved and love them. No getting away from that, and I will therefore, always have a tear in my eye, and a longing in my heart, for those who are no longer present in this physical world. I do know that Iggy was with us 24 hrs after he passed. He sent us a messenger, in the form of a lost dachshund puppy, who needed a little assistance from us to find her pet sitter, whom she had escaped. One of my pet name for Ig was always, ” Sausage doggie” …and he sent us an Oscar Meyer weiner dog…to let us kniw he was OK, and that there are and will always be, many creatures who will benefit from or help and care, or a hug……………………………….

  3. This was so beautiful to read–I love the 35 mph couch potato. Losing a dog is so hard. Keep writing. xox

    • Good advice for John, Anne ! Somehow I dont think tho, that I could ever prevent him from writing , lol.
      He’s always been big on writing, and especially on reading. Such a voracious reader. Casey too was that way, I used to tease her that she ” ate” books….or sometimes devoured them 😉 I loved that so much about her.

  4. I’m so sorry Igor has passed on! Dogs are such wonderful buddies, and I’m so glad Igor was there for you, and for Casey. Sweet, sweet Igor. My heart is so heavy. Big hugs to you and Erika.

    • Thank you so much, Lynn. I kniw you have experienced the loss of man ,woman, girl and boy’s best friend yourselves and know how hard it is.

  5. I love what you are doing to keep Casey’s memory alive, dear AB, and reach out to people, encouraging them to be real, and raw when necessary. Casey, and now Igor, are watching over us.
    Rip in Peace dear Boo-Boo, Sausage Doggie, Iggy… you deserve it. <3<3<3

  6. John, that was a lovely and touching tribute to your sweet dog. I’m sorry for your loss of Igor, and for the extra pain of experiencing another loss tied to Casey.

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