|Ace: Terrifying and sweet all at once|
When my daughter and her husband were still in the acquaintance stage, I was slowly learning bits and pieces about his life, his family, his job. Of course, when a mom has a daughter AND a granddaughter to look out for, there tends to be a suspicion of all contenders for a spot on the
family tree. What I learned quickly was that he was a writer, he had two small children whom he was sharing custody of with his ex-wife, that he was a good listener, and that my daughter and granddaughter felt safe and loved in his presence. I wasn’t seeing any “deal breakers” here.
Next, it was time to get info on his family. Short and simple, each and everyone were amazing, generous, intelligent people….who frankly, may have wondered if we belonged on their family tree.
My daughter’s mother-in-law has therapy dogs that go to hospitals, schools, and other venues. These dogs must be tolerant, gentle and patient. A couple of the dogs compete in dog shows…their grooming and manners are exquisite.
Then there was Ace. A small Maltese who’s hair was kept short because he had not been a good “fit” in the therapy realm. He was actually a relative of Chrissy…one of the exquisite ones.
Long before I ever saw any of these dogs, I knew that Ace would be my favorite. Through my daughter I learned that Ace snarled constantly and snapped if you walked too close. He could be a bit grumpy.
He was Roger’s dog. Roger is my daughter’s father-in-law. He has been a coach, a competitive swimmer, and a successful business man throughout his life. I have been told that of all the dogs that crossed the family path, Ace was the only one that Roger really liked.
Ace loved Roger. And Roger could soothe Ace’s soul. They would head off to Roger’s office, and Ace was calm. I saw Ace peacefully lounging on Roger’s lap several times.
At our first visit, I couldn’t wait to meet Ace. My daughter quickly said, “Don’t come at him too quick!” She was right. He was barking and snapping at me in an instant; my foot and ankle were the attack zone. I was able to dodge….but barely, because I was laughing and trying to let him know that I was his fan. That I had been looking at pictures of him and thought he was awesome. That I knew we could be good friends.
He wasn’t having it.
I continued to try to make in-roads into our friendship….and there were a couple of brief moments that I think he was actually tempted to like me
One evening, after Ace was thoroughly soothed, Roger placed his sleepy body on my lap. We had our special time together.
There was something so attractive about him. He obviously was a difficult being to interact with…yet he was loyal, confident, assertive, expressive, opinionated, and terrifying when angered. This is the stuff “real dogs” ….and “real men” are made of quite frankly.
Maybe that was his appeal.
We were notified this week that Ace had passed away. He was 12 years old. If anyone has really known and loved a dog, you know that this is devastating. I am glad to have had the privilege of knowing him. He taught me about being fierce in the face of any giant. And that love can soothe the most difficult soul.
His epitaph – “Ace was the only dog Roger ever loved.”
Miss ya, Ace.
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