Thursday, June 19, 2008

Remembering Arno

Eight weeks old, a purebred Havanese, he arrived late at night in a crate at the San Jose airport. In the baggage room I approached the cage and offered my hand. Immediately a tiny tongue, warm and wet, slipped through the mesh of the crate and began licking my fingers. For both of us, love at first sight.

We brought him home and introduced him to Dakota, our 75 pound mongrel. At first they didn’t know what to make of each other.

Soon, they were playing. Dakota tried to show who was boss.

But in canine society, there is a concept called “puppy privilege,” and quickly the roles reversed.

We named him Arno because his white beard and dark hair reminded us of our beloved Uncle Arno Sternglass. Much to our relief Uncle Arno, upon learning we’d named a dog after him, was delighted and honored.

We bought puppy Arno a bed, and he embraced it instantly.

Arno had an amazing bounce.

He fit in small spaces.

He liked surfing the net. Sometimes when I went out, I’d come home to find that my computer was running with the e-mail window open. If you received an odd message from my address, possibly an email asking for bacon and bones, hey, it wasn’t really from me.

We’d hike for miles in the La Honda watershed.

Arno remained good friends with his sister Butzie, who would visit every summer and, as sisters do, would remind him of how ungroomed and basically uncouth he was in her opinion.

Another good friend was cousin Gonzo:

Arno's attitude-to-size ratio was extremely high. He would boss Dakota unmercifully, steal her rawhide bones, and nip her jowls. He would prance up to giant dogs and try to dominate them, then run behind Dakota if they snapped at him. He had strong opinions on practically every subject: where we should walk, when we should wake up, when we should go to bed, who we should talk to.

Tuesday, at age three and a half, Arno was hit by a car. We buried him in our yard on a high spot - he always preferred the highest perch. Tears are spilling on my keyboard. Every day he brought joy to our lives. When I lay down, he would curl up on my belly and sleep. He bounced like a basketball. He hectored Dakota and took outrageous advantage of her good nature. He was the most opinionated dog I ever met. He was a city breed, a lap-dog breed, raised in the country, happy in the forest and hills and creeks of La Honda. Sadly it was the city that killed him.

Every day he made us laugh.

We miss you, buddy. We’ll never forget you.


  1. Oh my heart aches for you. I am so very sorry. My thoughts and prayers are with your family.

  2. Thanks, Andree. Thanks for good thoughts. Maybe our paths will cross at Glover's Corners this summer.