As many of you remember, when the puppy we were originally going to adopt died, we found solace in a chocolate lab that resided on the property where we live. His name was Nuka, but we would call him Haiku because of our general confusion as to what exactly his name was. He would come to our house just about everyday to lay on the cool tiles of our living room floor, snuggle with us, and eat some bacon carbanara whenever we left it unattended on the kitchen counter.
When we got Olie, his affection for us, and our house, quickly dissipated. He realized he was no longer the only dog grabbing our attention, and Olie’s overwhelming amount of energy caused him to run in the opposite direction when he saw us coming. There were times that Olie would chase Nuka (a dog 4 times his size) around the entire property simply because he wanted to play. Nuka wanted no part in this, and the only way we would locate the two was by hearing the screams of the people who had discovered a pair of dogs had barreled into their living room and were knocking over their furniture.
So when Jillian came running down the hill towards our house with a look of terror in her eyes I knew something was wrong. “Somebody killed Nuka!” she said. “What?!” I responded, that’s ridiculous. “Olie saw him in the bushes and ran over and jumped on him and he didn’t move!,” she explained, out of breath. “He’s impaled on something up the hill, go check on him, hurry!” I jumped on Pinotage and sped up the hill, thinking this had to be some terrible mistake.
Sure enough, I looked into the bushes and there was Nuka on his stomach, with all four of his legs splayed in different directions, and his head against a post, pointed stiffly towards the sky. I called his name over and over again, but got no response. I looked closer and realized that he hadn’t impaled himself at all, he had gotten his collar caught on a short metal pipe attached to the ground, struggled to get away, and in the process just caused the make-shift noose to tightened. He was gone.
We called our land-lady over and she called the property’s groundskeeper, Blanc. Nuka and Blanc were close, they were always seen together, walking around the gated community side-by-side like they had known each other for years. They had, actually, and that’s what made this part so hard. “Men no! Men no!” (But no! But no!) he cried as he ran into the bushes, checking if there were any signs of life. This was his buddy, his companion. After sitting there with Nuka for a few minutes, holding back tears, Blanc sent for a knife and started to cut away the collar that had killed his friend.
We stood there for another few minutes before going our separate ways. Nuka’s owner was not home, so that news would have to be broken later. They covered him with a sheet, and then went home, the next day they would bury him.
This was a tough one, Jillian and I were jarred for the entire evening, and it was one of the first things we mentioned when we woke up this morning. While Nuka wasn’t our dog, he was a fixture here, and the reason why we decided to get Olie. He was a beautiful dog, graceful yet dopey, and was never aggressive or mean. Jillian decided to get a chocolate lab for us because Nuka was such an awesome dog around our house. He came in, laid down, would appreciate some petting if you were in the mood, and then would take a nap. He was perfect.
But now, after this freak accident, everyone in this complex has lost a friend, and it hurts. As if we needed another reminder of how fragile life is; trust us, God, we know already! The sanctuary of our gated community is now marred by the image of Nuka’s dead figure gruesomely posed on a pipe in the bushes, and every time we walk Olie we will be reminded when he looks up the stairs that Nuka would lazily sit on top of. Olie will miss you, Nuka, and so will we.