We are babysitting our “Granddog” for a couple of days. Although he looks like a full-grown man, he is a big boy, my wife and I have been constantly reminded that he is still just a five month old baby. We have two dogs of our own, a very big hound and a terrier mix. Both of our canines are outside dogs that sleep in kennels in the garage at night. Our “Granddog” is an inside/outside dog but mostly a terribly spoiled inside baby. For a young married couple he is the perfect first dog. Good training for what I hope will be grandkids in the future.
Over the course of our marriage we have had five dogs including our current two. The first, much like my “Granddog”, was the perfect one for a young married couple. Sweet, calm and absolutely adorable. The second one, perfect for a family, devoted, attentive and protective. Much like people, all five of our dogs had their own unique personalities, and spirit. And when I lost each my heart was broken.
I loved each one of my dogs equally but dog #2 has always held a special place in my heart. Maybe it’s because his arrival coincided with my kids running around in the backyard. He was an extension of me, on guard, patrolling the fence line protecting my children from vagrant squirrels, and breaking up fights among sisters. He was a gentle soul, a massive creature who accepted every tail pull, squirt gun shot, “get away” squeal with the same calm reaction.
I know, to this day, how important he was to me and my family because as I write this, thinking of him, I am hurting. I am fighting back tears and battling a lump in my throat. I can see his face like it was yesterday. The dance he did when I gave him a milk bone, tossing it in the air and pawing it back and forth like a hockey puck. Or how all 110 pounds of him shook like a wet kitten every time it thundered. He has been gone for many years now, but he still lives in a place in my heart reserved only for him.
I am not real sure about heaven or hell and honestly I don’t really want to debate the existence of either one right now. I promise I will at a later date. But if there is a heaven, if there is a glorious place for us after this life I am sure my friend is there. Sorry, emotionally, that is about as deep as I can delve at the moment. Happy memories are just that, happy, but they always stand in the shadow of sadness and loss. Funny how that happens.