Kedzie

Well, Boy, it’s kinda like this, you see…….
(and I’m hopin’ that you won’t be mad at me).
I got up to heaven and they let me right in.
But after a while I got restless again.

So I said to St. Peter, “Boss, heaven is great
But I just can’t live behind no Pearly Gate.
I just can’t wait behind no door or no screen
Not when those that I love are nowhere to be seen.”

(And I guess he might seen a little upset
When you do finally come, and up here you get.
‘Cause I tore open a screen with my new shiny toes
And heaven’s finally got it’s own mosquitoes!)

Now I’m waiting outside on a bright starry log
I know a boy ain’t really a Boy, without his own dog.
So, Boy, take your time –live long and happily,
But as far as I’m concerned….
Heaven won’t be heaven, till you’re up here with me.

Kedzie became a part of our family in about 1997, after I rescued him while he was “a-roaming” down Kedzie Avenue on Chicago’s south side.

I reckon he was part Irish Setter and part Cocker Spaniel, with maybe a breed or two more mixed in for good measure.

He had an easy-going personality, never quarrelsome or stubborn, and loved being around people. He quickly became Jeremy’s dog (and Jeremy became his Boy), and they shared almost 12 years of adventures together.

He had an excellent nose, and pilfered any food within reach. If someone put a burger down on the table and walked away, it was his. If someone reached down to pet him, and had a donut in the other hand, it was his. He never begged or whined for food. He just quietly, patiently waited for his moment, and took the food that someone obviously meant for him. (Otherwise, why would they have left it lying there unprotected??) Guilt???? Not Kedzie.

And he also liked to roam away. Not really run away. Just, when the door or the gate was open, trot away till someone caught up to him. I don’t think he ever got lost. And if no one was around to “catch up to him”, why, he’d just mosey on back when he was done roamin’. As he got older, though, he seldom roamed farther then the car. “C’Mon, Boy, Let’s go a-roamin’.” Guilt??? Not Kedzie.

And he had an intense drive to escape, along with the uncanny ability to do so. Given time, nothing could hold him. Stories of his escapes are legendary. Early on, he clawed his way through both sides of plywood door in a few hours. He went through the screen in a second story window, managing to land with only a broken toe. At one house, he broke out through one second-story window screen onto the roof of the front porch, then went back inside through a second window screen, and out again through a third screen. Once, at the cottage, he was put in a metal dog cage (“for his own protection”). When we returned after a few hours, he had broken out of the cage – and then out through the chicken wire reinforced screen door – just to sit on the front porch and wait. Even in his old age, a feeble bag of bones, he was able to tear through a screen door in less than 15 seconds. Guilt???? Not Kedzie.

He had been sick with heart trouble and other ailments of old age for over a year and a half. We took him up to the cottage for our Fourth of July getaway, and the first night he was restless. Pacing the whole night thru. I took him aroam’ twice, and he collapsed twice. The first time he got up easy, and Jeremy joined us on the cottage patio. “Breathe, breathe, breathe, HOT DOG, breathe, breathe, breathe.” The second time took longer. The third time he just lay there.

It was about dawn when he died, out there on the deck. The robins and red-winged blackbirds and morning doves all announcing the coming day. His Boy at his side.

He sure was a character.