The Winkels family dog, Nash, passed away last past week. Nash came into our lives as a present to me on my seventeenth birthday. Ostensibly he was my dog, but the following year I left home to go to college in Minneapolis, so he became the steward of my parents. He was a good dog. He was a mix, Yorkshire Terrier and Bichon - a cuter puppy, you could not ask for. He was loving and he was loved.
Nash could not be considered well-behaved in any sense of the word. He hardly listened. He knew sit, but even that simple command took convincing. He ate food off the table, he tore through the trash and he barked to high hell at the mailman every single day. He barked more so out of pure entertainment and delight than out of any sense of duty or watchdog status. God forbid he was outside when the mailman or any other large truck came lumbering down my parents dead end street, because that sent him into berserker mode. It was always friendly though, never menacing. Not that he could have cut a menacing profile even if he wanted to, at all of fifteen pounds.
What Nash lacked in common courtesy, he made up for tenfold with sheer unadulterated and unconditional love. Whenever anyone crossed the threshold of his home, he was effusive and overwhelming in his celebration. He pinwheeled and chased his tail, frantically seeking reciprocation of the abundant love and excitement that he gave. After pin balling around the entire footprint of the house, he would return to the visitor and flop on his back in expectation of an offering: a scratch under the chin or, better yet, a prolonged belly rub. It was a joyous and heartwarming ritual that will be notably absent from the house moving forward.
Nash was a little shit, but he was our little shit. He did not take well to discipline. Many times he rebelled directly, but he always kept his charm. His face got him out of trouble. One of his finer performances was when he ate an entire bag of Lindor truffles off the dining room table, leading to a date with a stomach pump. Or an attack on the Christmas tree so ferocious that it ended with him devouring a glass ornament. Or when he looked my brother, Jack, in the eye as he dropped a shit on Jack’s bed as retribution for some perceived slight.
I include these stories of misbehavior not to impugn Nash’s character, but to emphasize his charm. Despite these high crimes and misdemeanors, my parents patience with that little guy stretched beyond the horizon. He was lovable, even when he wasn’t. We do not turn to pets for reason and logic, we turn to them for companionship. They open themselves to us and in turn we grow. Nash passed away last week peacefully in the loving embrace of his family. He is already dearly missed.