R.I.P. Hudson the wonder dog
Hudson the wonder dog
December 3, 2013
by Stephen "Blue" Heaslip
Last weekend I had to say goodbye to one of the best friends I've ever had, as Hudson the wonder dog
finally succumbed to a heart that was not as physically strong as all the love it
contained. This has me engulfed in grief, but such occasions call for recalling
happier times, which will help. Let me tell you a little about my girl.
She was as tenderhearted with people
as you could possibly imagine. Her breeder had foster kids, and she loved all
children and babies, and it was cute to see her get so excited when she saw
youngsters playing. As for adults, she was partial to men, and enlisted countless
male friends and family into her legion of special boyfriends to lavish attention
on her when they visited, but she had some very special relationships with women
too. She was one of those dogs that made all her friends feel like they
shared a special connection, which they did. As "her human," she and I were
completely bonded. She wasn't cuddly, but I would sometimes mush with her a bit,
and was occasionally rewarded with a quiet contented grunting noise I called her
"piggie sound." I'll particularly miss those moments.
Perhaps her most memorable trait after her tenderness was her skill at escaping,
and I often joked she was the Houdini of the canine world. We had an older
picket fence when we moved in, and she quickly learned she could break through
portions of it if she tried hard enough, which started her career exploring her
neighborhood on her own. I kept repairing the breaks but she kept making new
ones until we finally gave in and got a new fence, but somehow we still kept finding her wandering the neighborhood,
mystified that the gate was open. This mystery was solved when I finally caught
her in the act of getting up on her hind legs and reaching over to work the
latch on the other side of the fence. She only had to see someone work it once
or twice to figure out how to start letting herself out. I felt dumb
for not anticipating this after seeing how hard she tried to work doorknobs
after seeing how they worked, as the only thing stopping her there was a lack of
opposable thumbs. When thwarted by us locking the gate, she started using
prodigious teeth, and created a hole in the gate large enough to climb
through by chewing through the wood.
The only thing that would have been more perfect is if she put a pinup of Rita
Hayworth over the hole. She simply had an independent sense of adventure that
couldn't be repressed, and went on dozens of such walkabouts over the
years, and it's a tribute to her intelligence that she stayed safe while doing
so... she was very wary of cars, and would carefully stick to sidewalks whenever
possible. I'm altogether convinced she must have had a few adventures over the
years we never learned of because she came back and let herself in when she was
She was a true Airedale Terrier,
feisty as hell, and she was also an alpha-type, something I knew when I got her,
though I failed to appreciate the ramifications. The foster children at her
breeder's were very informative when asked, explaining that Princess (their name
for her) started all the fights among the siblings, and that she won all of them
as well. She actually socialized quite well as a younger dog, but she was bitten
years ago by a Norwegian Elkhound, after which she grew very wary of other dogs.
lead to a couple of frightening incidents where she picked up smaller dogs in
her mouth, which was not appreciated by their owners in spite of her foregoing
the ample opportunity to hurt or kill them.
In spite of having been bitten, she readily accepted a new
member of the pack when we brought home
a standard Poodle puppy named Gunnar. He
pestered her constantly, but they
became fast friends, and he got away with
murder with her; the only things she'd ever scold him about were
approaching her food or cramping her style when she was barking at the mailman.
That was part of her main job, that mailman bit, as she steadfastly guarded the
house. Every day for 13 years if she was home when he arrived Hudson attacked the door
with such ferocity that one of the substitute mailmen never got
past the point where he'd throw the mail on the porch from a distance. That was
fine, since she seemed to consider the mail vermin to be exterminated. We
eventually had to tape over the slot in the door because she would grab
the letters coming through it and shred them with great fury. But our "regular" mailman
knew she actually adored him, and would come over to pet her if he arrived when
she was out of the yard, always sharing a few secrets with her. Another one of her
special relationships in action.
She never cared much for food, and stayed skinny
and athletic her whole life. She loved Frisbee and one silly plastic toy barbell
mom gave her, but was indifferent to most
other toys. She was quite strong and in her youth she was fast as the wind, and could navigate
heavy woods effortlessly at full speed. But she was quirky: she hated her feet
being off the ground, so she resisted swimming or even jumping. She was only
afraid of one thing in this world: loud noises. She lived in dread fear of
thunder, fireworks, and the beeps of the smoke detector. I never could help her
much with that, and suffered along with her as she shivered though storms.
She had a deep chest and an extremely loud
bark, sounding much larger than her slim frame, which rarely edged above 60 lbs.
She had warm tender brown eyes that could melt your heart and canine teeth worthy of a
wolf. We let her sport a full Airedale beard her whole life, which made her a
mess around the water bowl and a wet kisser. She had a tendency to paint the
windows she peered through with snool, a combination of snot and drool for which
Airedales are famous. She was seemingly impervious to cold and pain, so it made
sense that her mortal enemies were bees, since they stung. She must have eaten a
hundred of them over the years, and obviously relished how they fought back.
Once a carpenter bee burrowed into the railing on the deck, thinking he was safe
there. She proceeded to
through the wood until she got him. Your plans for dealing with a terrier
should never count on your opponent giving up. She was also smart
enough to not only to know lots of human words, but to be able to understand
sentences in surprising ways. I called her the wonder dog for many reasons.
As I say, she adored children after growing up with those foster kids, and she happily put up with being
Halloween because it delighted all the trick-or-treaters so much. She was
convinced they were here for her rather than the candy, and while that's a
stretch, there are probably a couple of dozen kids in the neighborhood who know her
name, compared with maybe two of three kids who know mine.
Sorry this turned into a bit of a ramble. I'll just conclude by saying she
represented the finest aspects of dog-kind: She was loyal, brave, intelligent,
and loving. She was my first dog, and she may not have been perfect, but she was
perfect for me, and I will miss her every day for the rest of my life. Thank you
so much for letting me share her with you.
R.I.P. Hudson (aka Hudson the wonder dog, Huddy, Hudsy, Skinny Miss Mini, Budson,
Monster-girl) - August 31, 2000-November 24, 2013.