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In Memory of TRAPPER

Greene's Bear Trap Du Rozzi

Greene’s Bear Trap Du Rozzi

A week ago, we said our last goodbye to a precious family member – our Belgian Malinois, Trapper.

aka  –  Baby, Bear, Mutley and in later years, Old Man.

Trapper came to us 13 years ago as a one year old. His owner/breeder was training him for personal protection or police work. Falling on hard times, he had to sell some dogs. A new litter of puppies and Trapper were available so we took a day trip to Maine to meet everyone.

The puppies were cute, but we were drawn to Trapper. He had a great personality and would come to us trained. Off the lead, he raced in circles around the field before coming to us for attention. On that first meeting, I leaned over to pat him and he went belly up. He wasn’t an assertive alpha male. Once he was ours, we discovered two puncture scars beneath his chin. Another dog had gotten a hold on him at some point in his first year. Perhaps that was why his automatic response was submissive. Always a love bug with the family, as he grew he developed a protective streak.

Just a big baby

Just a big baby

We didn’t bring Trapper home that first trip. We wanted to think about our choice and be sure. A week later, we went back to Maine to make him ours. His trainer spent time training ME on the leash. I loved that I could walk him without being pulled along. We also had to learn his commands in French. We never remembered in the ‘heat of the moment’, so he soon became bilingual and over time the French disappeared.

Leaving a kennel situation and coming into a home, there were new lessons for Trapper to learn. No paws on the kitchen counter, no snitching food from the dinner table and how to navigate a flight of stairs. He’d always worked on a lead so we had to teach him to come when called which entailed us acting like fools while calling his name. He loved it.

Because bite work had been a part of Trapper’s training, Old Roady lost two winter coats that first year. All it took was a sleeved arm cocked a certain way and it was game on! I didn’t want him jumping on me. If he did, I wouldn’t touch him until he got ‘off’  and sat. Then I’d love on him like crazy. A quick study, it wasn’t long and he’d run up to me and sit, waiting for the attention. Thankfully, he did the same with extended family including elderly grandparents.

Crate trained, he never charged out the door, but would step out with his front paws, stretch in a play bow then come out the rest of the way. Crating didn’t last Trapper1long. He was a ‘velcro dog’. He wanted to be with the family and we wanted him with us. If he became truly upset about being left home alone, he’d empty the wastebasket beneath my desk, leaving a trail of tissues and papers for us to find.

He always entered the house on our left. If he was on our right, he’d back up and switch sides before coming through the door. I’ve wondered if this was a holdover from his early training. Maybe so he didn’t interfere with an officer’s gun hand? Not sure.

A good dog, he chewed only two pairs of shoes. Both were mine. Both of them had thick chunky heels and were bone color. I think Trapper thought they were his chew bones. An easy mistake to make, yes? His nose was into everything. If a bag, box or tote came into the house, his nose was in it. He loved to help ‘bring in the groceries’, sniffing every bag especially the ones containing meat. He came to us on a raw diet. (Another thing we eventually changed!)

A true ‘Maine-iac’, he loved snow. He would roll and romp and run with his nose beneath the surface then come up with a face full of it. When he came inside and it began to melt, he’d rub his face on chairs, coats, anything he could find to dry it. Same with rain. He hated a wet face.

Best Buddies

Best Buddies

For a week now, we’ve been adjusting to that empty spot in the family. Coming through the front door, a greeting on the tip of our tongues before we remember  Trapper won’t be standing there waiting for us.  There’s no nose at my elbow, sniffing and hoping for a tidbit when I prepare chicken for supper. No happy dog at my side when I run out for the mail. No stepping over him on late night runs to the loo. Trapper had two unwavering objectives each and every day. To love his family and to get a dog ‘cookie’ when he came in from outdoors.

If you’re still reading, thank you. He had a long life for a dog, fourteen and a half years. Even so, it was too short a time for us. 

We buried him beneath the front bushes where he liked to lay and watch the world go by.

Rest in Peace, Trapper.

Trapper old man

About anitakgreene

I write romantic adventure for the inspirational market. I enjoy needlework, papercrafting and gardening. I'm at home in the Ocean State with my husband, son and a spoiled Belgian Malinois.

16 responses »

  1. anita, that was such a moving memorial of trapper. i felt like i knew him by the time i finished reading. i could feel the great love that you and your family have for him. as time goes on you will find lots of wonderful memories in your daily lives. you were blessed to have each other. thank you so much for sharing

    that wonderful story of trapper. love diane

    Reply
  2. A beautiful memorial and such wonderful photos! You captured perfectly what he meant to you and the guys and also just how lucky he was to have you for his family!

    Reply
  3. Anita,

    This is a beautiful memorial to Trapper. Your pictures were a nice touch. I am praying for your family as you are all missing Trapper so much. Trapper was so lucky to find a family as good as yours. The memories that you have of Trapper will never be forgotten.
    Love, Debbie

    Reply
  4. Oh Anita, what a wonderful tribute to Trapper. The pictures are great. The pictures you paint with words are a moving memorial to a great friend.

    Reply
    • Thank you, Janet. He really was special. Dad G. once said, “He’s almost human, you know?” Some times it was eerie what he seemed to know and understand in his relationships with family and friends. On occasion, I wondered if he was an angel in fur.

      Reply
  5. I agree with Janet – – a very fitting tribute to a very wonderful dog, and a wonderful friendship!

    Reply
  6. What a beautiful story, Anita. Trapper must have been very special to your family. Your writing brought him to life for me. I read every word! Thank you.

    Reply
  7. So sorry for your loss. From one Mainer to another (Trapper): Au revoir.
    Blessings to the rest of you.

    Reply
    • Marti, Trapper loved the snow and acted like a nut even if there was only an inch on the ground. We’ve enjoyed many happy times in Maine. Baxter State Park, Acadia National Park and shopping at L.L.Bean! Thank you for your condolences. Anita

      Reply
  8. Nita,
    What a beautiful memorial to your friend and companion, Trapper. We had to put Meg, our Golden Retriever, to sleep a few years ago and we still miss her. That was one of the hardest things we have ever had to do! I always enjoy your posts so much and wish I still lived “down the road” from you! I have so many wonderful memories of the years we cousins spent together.
    Love,
    Kathleen

    Reply
    • Kathleen, Yes, it is hard. Their unquestioning trust in us and all we do for them makes it a heavy burden when making that final decision. And given the choice we have to make, they continue to love us unconditionally in those last few minutes of their life. So very, very hard.
      Sometimes I wish we could step back in time and re-live a day or two of our youth. One of my days would be the Christmas party at Aunt Yvonne’s. 🙂 I’d soak up everything I could about the experience so I could come back to the here and now remembering all the stuff I’ve forgotten over time.
      Love ya
      Nita xo

      Reply

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