r.i.p. mountain dog / by Warrior Ant Press Worldwide Anthill Headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

Trex, the inimitable and indefatigable Rare West Tibetan Mountain Dog, has made his final summit. His demise, by a condition known as gastric dilatation volvulus, was sudden and unexpected. The happy-go-lucky canine confederate will be missed.

Born on M.L. King Day in 2003, Trex led a storied life that few can imagine. Brought to this country by Tibetan monks traveling abroad on a sand mandala tour, Trex escaped his kennel and sought asylum in the US. Then known as Banjo, he briefly lived an itinerant life, sleeping under the stars and hustling for treats and the affections of passersby until a band of late-nite lesbians found the furry plaything making snow angels in the middle of the street during a Midwest blizzard. Always the ladies man, when the girls invited him into their home, he blindly followed. Banjo soon found the vegan lifestyle perplexing and when opportunity arose, he readily agreed to being traded to an omnivore for a double espresso, a latte 'skinny', and a half pound of freshly roasted Ethopian Yirgacheffe beans. It was then that he changed his name to Trex - rhymes with Rex and short for T-Rex.

Never one to settle for 'house-pet' status, Trex interned for a mascot position with the Department of Interior. Although universally liked by the staff, he was summarily dismissed after 6 weeks by a cat-loving supervisor for being "too much like a dog". Like most everything, Trex took the news in quick stride and left without a whimper but not before leaving a robust shit in The Man's office.

Soon thereafter, Trex settled into his role as guardian of Warrior Ant Press Worldwide Headquarters, a fortuitous position perfectly suited to his demeanor since it had few, if any, responsibilities beyond hanging out and keeping a watchful eye on the nutty owner.

Although he never caught a rabbit, he was a friend of mine. Trex was always ready for anything; the first volunteer for any adventure. When friends and family said to me, "have you lost your freakin' mind?" Trex was there with the take-me, take-me, oh pretty please take-me tail wag. He never said no. Sleep under a bridge? No problem. Crash on a wing dike? OK. Sample a flash flood at midnight? Scramble up this scree deposit? Clean trash from the river. Alright. Impersonate the homeless or a seeing-eye dog? Why not, nothing else goin' on. Crash the Gala Gateway Arch 200th anniversary of Lewis and Clark's return with a band of merry pranksters? Cool. Hike in 100 degree heat and 90 percent humidity? Walk in a blizzard? Do a 340-mile canoe race across Missouri in the middle of August. Go looking for the long lost Ivory-billed Woodpecker in an Arkansas swamp? Dude! He was in.

All he asked for in return was clean water, two squares a day, and the occasional biscuit. Pet his soft head and you were a friend for life.

Trex's mellow and good-hearted nature diffused more than one situation involving law enforcement officials, rednecks, and belligerent drunks. Had he not been there, the outcome for m.o.i. would certainly have been less pleasant.

Trex was a proud puppy with panache. Seemingly without effort he spent the bulk of his life doing the things that most of wish we could do more of: relaxing, playing, ruminating on the larger world, and keeping a watchful eye over those we love, trust, and admire.

Trex was by no means a perfect animal though he certainly had far fewer faults than his principal caretaker. Despite the tone of this remembrance, Trex was, and will continue to be, for me an animal. And in that role, as a trusted and dear friend and companion, this dog, like other animals, frequently reminded of several things that humans oft forget. There is more to life than work. Work is fun, but play is important. And whenever the little, inconsequential things in life would send me into a mindless cussing rant, Trex would come, lie at my feet, and give me a gentle look as if to say, "dude, I don't know what your problem is but you'd be much better off just taking a chill pill. Now. About that walk you promised me an hour ago. Let's go!"

Images, top to bottom.
*Type breed of the Rare West Tibetan Mountain Dog, 2007
*Interning with the Department of Interior, 2003.
*Trex looking somewhat apprehensive, late on day three of the inaugural mr340, 2006.