Bert was a difficult pet to train because he figured things out and before you knew it, you were the one who was trained. If he barked at me when I was on the phone, I would toss him a treat. Pretty soon, the minute I picked up the phone, he started barking. Regis would give him a treat to get him off the bed at night. If he made the mistake of leaving the bedroom before getting into bed, Bert jumped right back up and expected another treat.
One of our favorite stories about Bert is the time just a few weeks ago when he chased a rabbit across the back yard. He was already suffering from congestive heart failure and he must have gotten right to the end of his capacity because he passed out against the fence. When Regis went out to pick him up, he had a chunk of that rabbit's tail in his mouth. He might have been old and decrepit but he could still catch a rabbit.
Regis has been devastated by Bert's death. He wonders why we get pets when it's so hard to lose them. I think it's the same reason we let people into our lives. It would be pretty boring to spend your life alone so you were protected from hurt. As damn ornery as Bert was, he was an entertaining and occasionally even a lovable pet. He's in dog heaven now, not bothered by seizures, thyroid problems, or difficult breathing. He's chasing rabbits and birds and working somebody else for just one more treat.
He was some dog.
Portrait of Bert as a Young Dog