Orville, my dog in the clouds, was born on December 17th, 1996.
I found Orville in the classifieds a few minutes after I gave up on two years of trying to find on Earth a dog I had seen in the storm clouds over Kathmandu.
In the ten years since he died, I've never stopped thinking about him or felt less close to him. The truth is that our dogs live on in a way that few humans do. Some of them leave a deep mark. Orville was one of those.
Orville's life was short, but full. He was born in Colorado, spent the late part of his puppyhood in Nepal, traveled to many countries and all over the US, climbed more mountains and swam in more lakes and rivers and oceans than any dog he ever met (though Roo is giving him a run for his money). His life was happy and full, even though he had to put up with a lot of unpleasantness in me.
When he was just six, a lump appeared on Orville's chest. We were in Germany. I took him to a country vet, an old lady, who felt the lump and simply said, "He'll be dead in six months." In spite of everything we did back home in the States to prolong his life, she turned out to be exactly right. He died in May.
At the end of his life, Orville did the most heroic thing I've ever seen. I've been writing about it all day, but I can't write any more about it now.
Rest in peace, Orv. You were a great son. I will miss you forever.
[There are other pictures of Orville and a video elsewhere on the site. Click on the Orville tab if you'd like to see some more.]