07 March 2009

Memento mori: a canine obituary

Varg, the German shepherd, was my living-vicariously-through-someone-else pet-from-distance after the Big Move to Toronto. Fulfilling the sensibilities of a teenage metalhead, Varg, the discarded and unwanted shelter dog, was adopted and named after a controversial Scandinavian musician. When his canine namesake first met me and let me live, I knew it was love at first sight. (The latter concept is always possible with dogs and never - with people.)

Today Varg journeyed to Valhalla, where, I hope, he can now carry beautiful valkyries on his back. He may not have been a real wolf, but he was more than worthy.

Varg, the German shepherd (not the musician), was very militant (like the musician)...with raccoons and alpha-male pit bulls. Yet, at the same time, he was incredibly gentle with a certain small, but fierce dachshund. (...That is, after the infamous introductory paw-flip that sent the said dachshund up into the air and made him spin a full 360. Varg just didn't recognize his German Volk right away.)

The historian in me wonders whether (post-)industrial advancement, which, in part, completely sanitized death, has damaged our ability to deal with it. Having frequent, direct, and normalized contact with death, our European predecessors practiced memento mori. I, on the other hand, will just have to settle for listening to Buck-Tick's album with the same title and allow that band's dark humor make me feel a little less rotten. Deo volente.

"Varg-bit-hard". R.I.P., Varg.