The Working Waterfront

A dog life remembered

Island town was a perfect match

Phil Crossman
Posted 2022-08-12
Last Modified 2022-08-12

I was born ready, ready to love without condition. So simple were my needs that to be adopted 13 years ago by a human family represented complete fulfillment.

Over the years I found a real home on this island. This is a real Dog Town. From the beginning I went to work with someone almost every day, carpentering with her dad, gardening with Libby, or in the woods with her brothers. I lived for the moment and the moments always came, running down a dirt road following the van, peeing on everything, catching balls, playing rough, welcoming company, retrieving sticks.

That was where I had my closest call. A felled tree struck me on the head and only the efforts of Libby and Rachel saved me. I flew in a plane from the island to the hospital. Not many dogs get a chance to fly.

I tried to bite Ed Beumont one day and I did manage to get ahold of Mary Webster…

I had a great spot in my own front yard from which I could see all who approached from either direction. I had kind of a funny spell there for a while and couldn’t get entirely clear just what my responsibilities were when strangers came to the house. I tried to bite Ed Beaumont one day and I did manage to get ahold of Mary Webster, actually got her twice. Thank goodness she had a sense of humor.

For years I was my most ferocious when other dogs went by. Those on leashes like Dixie or Kobe or Betsy just got a warning shot barked across their bow but those unaccompanied got the full force of my fury and kept a respectable distance.

Except, that is, for Jeff and Donna’s dogs who were a little too much for me—charging down the road, unleashed, and jumping right over my head as I lay napping. Embarrassing! By the time I got to my feet they’d be all the way to the library. Lucky for them. Galling young squirts.

Early this year I began feeling a little poorly, had a lot of discomfort in my mouth, couldn’t eat easily, lost weight and strength. My people had to feed me by hand.

I was anesthetized for an examination that revealed an inoperable tumor surrounding my jaws and moving down my throat. At the time my family was driving to Massachusetts to take her to school. And so her dad asked the vet to administer a fatal dose and on the same day they let her go, they let me go.

Although he made the decision quickly and without coming back to say goodbye I don’t have to forgive him. I’m a dog and don’t have to deal with all that baggage. There is no room in my heart for anything but devotion.

Phil Crossman lives on Vinalhaven where he serves on the town’s select board.