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Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: Extra! There comes a day… Losing a pet

Critic At Large

RIP Curly

Curly the poodle on a scent up north. (Warren Gerds)


Many of us have pets.

We all know there comes a day…

You know the day.

It’s when you have to say goodbye.

Curly’s came the other day.

He was a standard poodle.

He was 6 years old.

Only 6.

Curly was a big black poodle – 85 pounds and muscular.

He was named for three things:

One. The curly hair that poodles have. In his youth, Curly had a great, wavy coat with a sheen.

Two. His curly tail. Not all poodles have that, and his was an amazing coil.

Three. Curly Lambeau. Hey, this is Green Bay. We took photos of him one morning with the statues at Lambeau Field. He growled at Vince Lombardi. He was okay with Curly Lambeau.

Poodles have marvelous personalities. They are curious (sneaky), friendly, smart and funny.

Curly liked to work. Work to him was helping me shovel snow, rake leaves and cut the grass. He would drop a ball in my path for me to pick up and throw. That was not play. To Curly, him chasing the ball was part of the work process.

Play play was me getting him excited and him seizing a ball out of the air racing at full speed. Over and over.

Dogs have incredible reflexes. Curly endlessly amazed me with how he could run across uneven ground like it was smooth and nab a ball whizzing past his shoulder quicker than a blink.

I said “endless.”

There was an end.

It was fairly swift.

Curly showed unusual signs, and my wife and I took him to the vet for a check.

Curly was even playful with the vet when she took him in another room for some nitty gritty examinations.

The report: His body was reacting as if from rat poison.

In short: Cancer of the spleen.

Our decision was swift.

People with pets know there comes a day…

Walking in the door at home, I let loose with a holler and curses.

I once asked Fred Rogers in an interview whether he yelled.

Mister Rogers paused and said he would play the piano and cry through his fingers.

I don’t play piano. I write and, now, cry through my fingers.

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