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  Lodi – A Real Gentleman
August 28, 2004

After two weeks battling an infection that was probably Salmon Poisoning Disease (See Tom Butt E-Forum, August 23, 2004, “Something Fishy), but may have been something else, Lodi succumbed this morning. He had been back at Abbey Pet Hospital on an IV for the last three days. We visited him yesterday afternoon at about 6:00 PM, and he was weak but seemed to be a little better. At any rate, he couldn’t stop wagging his tail.


This morning, we stopped by to see how he was. It was like he had waited for us before departing, as he breathed his last less than a minute after we walked in.


Lodi came to us in 1998 from Lab Rescue, which had picked him up from the Manteca animal shelter. We had decided to look for a dog to be a buddy for our other lab, Chloe, after her mother died. Lab Rescue had made arrangements for a veterinarian in the town of Lodi to neuter him. That’s where we picked him up – so we named him “Lodi.” They guessed that he was about 1 ½ years old at that time.


Lodi hopped into our van and sat up on the back seat with Chloe all the way back to Richmond just as if had always been there. From then on, he was the perfect gentlemen – and gentle as well. He was housebroken and didn’t chew up things. He didn’t bark at all, except we heard him only a few times several years ago at night barking quietly at a raccoon. He had a cute way of madly running around in circles when we came home showing how excited he was to see us. We called it his “whirling dervish” routine. Other than that, he was the calmest dog I have ever known.


Text Box: Lodi, on the left, and Tess, right, in early 2004


Our dogs enjoy a large fenced yard, but they all have liked to wander if they get a chance. One time several years ago, Lodi and Chloe found a hole in the fence and took a hike, ending up in the harbor dredging spoils at Shipyard Three. It was a vast morass of Bay mud interspersed with water ponds. After the dogs had been gone all day, we got a call from a worker living in a camper near the old drydocks who had discovered Lodi late on a December night. When I went down there, Chloe was nowhere in sight, but I heard a faint bark in the distance. After working my way through the muddy wasteland, Lodi led me to Chloe on the edge of a pit. Her lower body had been sucked down by the mud, and it was apparent she had been trying to claw her way out for a long time before becoming completely exhausted. Clearly, Lodi had saved Chloe’s life.


Less than a month ago, Lodi and Tess turned up at the same spot, but it’s all paved over now. They were waiting for us at the Foss Maritime office where the night manager had befriended them.


Unlike all the other Labs we have had, Lodi was never much of a chow hound, always eating slowly and daintily. His favorite food, in fact, seemed to be Hibiscus flowers and fruit. He could spend hours taking apart a Hibiscus flower, enjoying every tasty morsel. He would put up with any kind of abuse from children or puppies. Our puppy, Tess, continued to drag Lodi around by his jowls until just a couple of weeks ago. In fact, Lodi most of all, just craved affection and attention of any type from man or beast. When you rubbed his head, he would sometimes sink into such a relaxed state of blissfulness that he would collapse to the floor in a puddle.


I believe that dogs are given to us as gifts to take care of. And in return, they sort of take care of us. Losing one has always been tough.


Good-bye, Lodi.