There was so much I didn't know about that dog, and would never be able to find out. How old he really was, and what his first years were like. I know he was abused--he cowered at first when I caught him on the couch or tried to bop him playfully with the empty paper towel roll, and he was very quiet. As time went on, he stopped cowering, and over the last year began to get on the couch with impunity. Sometimes I'd catch him, and he'd get down, tail wagging. "You didn't see that," he seemed to say. "I'm not the naughty puppy you're looking for."
He grew noisier, too. Yawns. Throat-clearings and hacks so prolonged and loud that I swore he would hork up a lung. He'd greet me with barks.
Some things never changed. He always left the room when a certain type of male voice sounded from the TV. He also left the room when I swore, or yelled (to myself, or sometimes at King, canis oblivious). He sensed anger even if it wasn't spoken. He was very sensitive to mood. Maybe I don't want to know what his early years were like.
I hope he enjoyed his four and a half years here. He was loved. He'll be cremated with his favorite Kong, and then he'll come back home.