Close Your Eyes


His adoption story: It was “the fastest ever,” according to the militant dog adoption folks. We looked for a dog for two straight years. Every Sunday without fail, my husband and I combed through the available dogs at the Farmers Market, on Sunset, in the Palisades. Nothing did it for us.

Then one Sunday, before I woke up, my husband called and said there’s a very cute dog here. The owner is giving him up, but hanging around for the day, hoping to find him a home. An out-of-the-ordinary, not-in-the-system-yet, dog. I said just bring him and the owner to our house. I’ll see him here. Not something they do. But, they did. For me.

Two hundred dollars and an hour later, we had our new dog with the adorable “Disney dog” face. They didn’t do their usual home check. The adoption people knew us well by now, and trusted us.

Our dog came with a name: Dre. Scratch Dre in the first minute, because we’d already agreed that we loved the name Bing. Bing, our new nine-month-old, wired-hair, tan and orange, mid-sized, human-faced boy.

A man and his dog.

When you adopt a dog, there is always a rich backstory. Found on the street of South Central. Abandoned by a family. You get the idea. We had no backstory. So, my son Oliver came up with one up for us. Something about him being in jail, and also a transvestite.

From the first week, my husband took him on miles-long hikes on weekends. They were the best of friends. In fitbit miles, they walked continents over the years. Probably all seven continents.

In the first weeks, when he was just getting used to us, and was restless, I would get close to his face late at night and whisper, “Close your eyes. Close your eyes. Close your eyes.” And he would. For the next nearly twelve years, I said that to Bing, late at night, as I touched his very soft ears.

Then his job started. First he guarded my son, who had fears of falling asleep. Suddenly Barnaby was sleeping at night. Then his job was as my night and day guard. He was a fierce protector of our family. A job he took seriously. Occasionally he’d earn a raise in the number of treats we showered him with.

Bing had a first friend. He was a dog we met on the street named Cody Duke. That’s right, his friend had a first and last name – my last name, though I don’t think we were related. They ran around Cody’s yard and played rough.

He also had a cat best friend at home, Igor the Entertainer. They wrestled for years. Then we got another cat, Lil’ Sista, and Bing and Lil’ Sista became close.

And then there was his Hispanic girlfriend – Domy — a housekeeper and animal caregiver, and his truest best friend. Bing’s girlfriend Domy took him on many walks a week. Even if she was only in the neighborhood, she took time out of her day to see her boyfriend for a quick walk. This is after he had an early 5:00 AM walk with my husband and other walks all throughout the day. When we finished dinner, we took him on yet another walk. He was in really good shape and could walk again any time.

Another girlfriend he had was my friend Tracy. She visited him during his brief time in hospice these past few days.

A year ago, Bing’s childhood friend lost his life to cancer. When Cody Duke’s owner, Bart, sees Bing, he bends down and cries and tells him to say hello when he sees him in doggy heaven. Today that day arrived.

Bing’s favorite person might have been Max, my stepson. His other favorites, Barnaby and Augie, showed up for his farewell. We surrounded him with the love he showered us with for all his years.

The wonderful vet arrived in the late afternoon. Filled with warmth and humor and a peaceful demeanor. He told us everything to expect. He asked us what Bing’s favorite thing to do was, because he wanted us to imagine him being free to do that now. I said, “He really loved to eat shit.” The vet said, “Then think of him at the smorgasbord of dog and cat shit. It’s All You Can Eat Night.”

Then Bing closed his eyes. One last time. We miss him already.

Bing 2006-2018

The dog is a gentleman; I hope to go to his heaven, not man’s.

–Mark Twain


Food:  Bing’s favorite treats besides random dog shit on our walk were well — almost anything.  Fresh cut carrot sticks.  Organix cookies for dogs either the peanut butter flavor or the chicken.





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3 Responses to “Close Your Eyes”

  1. Fredde . Let me be perfectly clear. “I know just how you feel!” I imagine you have heard that over and over since Bing closed his eyes. Welll taint true. Not one tiny bit. No one feels the same as you. Particularly when there is a loss as deep and soulful one of us pups. Without further adieu I want to simply say. There is no shame in tears or a pit in your tiny stomach. Grief for a dog is eternal. I cannot be sure of heaven but one thing I do know. Guy is eating shit and peanut butter treats on easy street! My best to your entire family and friends who really cherished Guy. Warmly …. Searay of Charlevoix

  2. nancy klopper says:

    Dear Fredde and Michael,

    Heartbroken to hear of your loss. Bing was such a rare creature. I loved him from the moment you adopted him. He was an original. The real love affair that i will always remember is between a man and his dog. Michael Barrie and Bing Barrie.
    They really loved each other and always will. Sending love to you, Michael, the kids, Domy and all who loved Bing Barrie.

  3. Linda says:

    Such a lovely remembrance … and it resonates so much with me now because of our Duchessa. I’m reading it through tears …

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