Moishe Ben Ephraim
Moishe Ben Ephraim Ben Karen v’Zev Ben Yaffa v’David Aelony
You know I love you, so I know you won’t take it wrong when I tell you that sometimes I just don’t understand what you want from me and why on earth you would demand what you do.
You know how much I care for you because I understand that you are ill, and when I see that you are uncomfortable because your toes are cold, I come and lie on your feet to warm them up. I know that you need your exercise, so I take you for walks. I slow down when you are too tired to walk fast, and on the way home when you are too tired to climb the last hill, I tow you up.
I have done this for much of my life. You know that I am doubly hyphenated American, my mother having been from a long line of Rottweillers and my father having been proud of his own German Shepherd heritage. While my understanding of English is sometimes a bit rough, I get along fine in German, Yiddish, Hebrew, French and Russian. What has been just two rough years out of three score and ten to you, has been two out of at best fourteen or fifteen to me – like a full decade to you!
When you eat, I have always gratefully accepted tiny samples from you; surviving mostly on dry crud you label ‘dog food’. I don’t complain. I want you to get better, so I would give you the best food, even if you offered it all to me.
Why then, do you deny the most succulent morsels when you don’t even want them? Today, for instance, twice when I took you for walks, I found delicious meat. I know that you are a vegan and oppose mistreatment of animals and killing them for food, but this was a naturally dead squirrel that had clumsily missed a leap from tree-top to tree-top and landed on its head on the concrete you humans put there. I waited patiently while it aged perfectly among the marigolds in this cool Fall weather, and after two weeks of anticipation, I paused in our walk to enjoy it. I would gladly have shared with you, but I couldn’t believe what you did! You didn’t take a share of what I had left among the leaves. Instead you grabbed my head and ripped the food right out of my mouth. If you were so hungry, I would have understood, but you only threw the delicious feast out into the street where it was immediately run over and smashed into the pavement so that only the crows at night will be able to get it! Then you balled ME out, pulled me away from the rest of my meal and insisted we go right home and didn’t even pay me my usual fee of a tasty biscuit! When I agreed to try again to exercise you, we had a good three or four-kilometer walk, and when, approaching home, we again passed the same spot, you misbehaved in the same way!
Please tell me, what am I going to have to do with you? I realize that your behavior may be a result of your illness, perhaps exacerbated by Alzheimer’s or senility, but will you not at least try to explain to me your vandalism?
Sincerely, sadly and with love,
Your adoring grand dog,
Sadly, the great-hearted Moishe, who nursed me in my post operative months after cancer surgery, died in late September of 2004 of cancer which had gone misdiagnosed. He lives on in the hearts of many who love him. The vet told us that he must have been in considerable pain for some time, but he remained active and apparently happy to his last day, a Saturday, on which he took me for several long walks and happily allowed small children to pet and hug him, and pull on him. As usual, he stood stoically until they walked away, then looked after them as if to ask, "Why are you going away? Was it something I said?"