Phillips County News - One Nation, Under God

By Parker Heinlein
Outdoors columnist 

She's not going anywhere


January 23, 2019

Things have gotten a bit quieter around my house.

It took a while, however, before I noticed.

Living with four dogs is no simple undertaking. They’re loud. They bark to go out. They bark to come in. They bark to be fed. They bark at each other.

They make so much noise I didn’t notice that Spot had lost her voice.

At 15-and-a-half years old, my sweet old springer must have decided she’d said enough. I can’t recall the last time I heard a sound from Spot except for the clicking of her claws on the wood floor.

Jem, Ace and Ruth certainly bark, howl, and whine enough for four dogs so Spot’s silence went unnoticed for I don’t know how long.

Only recently did I realize that her voice was missing.

It certainly wasn’t for lack of attention. Spot’s been getting special care for some time. While she still gets around on her own, I carry her up and down the steps to the garage where she sleeps at night. She spends her days on a bed in front of the fire in the living room, but still joins me in the kitchen when I cook.

She still gets in the garbage, still begs, and still wags her tail. She gets fed special food, and travels in her own dog box.

She poops whenever and wherever the urge strikes her. She pees in her sleep.

Most mornings when I go out to feed she’s on her feet in the middle of the melee, but sometimes she’s still asleep and I think she’s finally gone. Then she’ll open one eye, struggle to her feet and stare at me, waiting to be fed.

Spot was a rambunctious puppy who grew into a tall, beautiful dog. She was as pretty a springer as I’ve ever seen, a good bird dog and a competent retriever, although she never brought back a live bird.

Now she’s skinny as a rail and her coat is unkempt. She hates it when I try to groom her so I let her be.

For some time now she’s been an inconvenience that I accept without hesitation. I lost other dogs too early. I’ll never say that about Spot. She just keeps on keepin’ on.

I tell her to give it up, but that’s probably more for me than her. She doesn’t have to clean up after herself. Spot’s voice may be gone but the last time I looked, she wasn’t going anywhere.

Parker Heinlein is at


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