Monday, August 29, 2016

Seven Years

Seven years ago today, we had to say goodbye to the best dog ever.  I'm not sure why, but it's hitting me very hard this year.  I hope you will forgive my little bit of melancholy as I republish in its entirety the tribute I wrote to our Katie that day.  

Goodbye Old Girl 

When you bring a puppy into your home, you know that dogs don't live as long as humans. Somewhere in the back of your mind,  you know that one day you'll have to face losing that puppy.

But you don't have to think about that yet.  That's a long way away.  Right now she's just a cute little puppy, with soft little puppy fur and sharp little puppy teeth.  She'll make a good companion for your little diaper wearing, pappy sucking baby.

Time goes by. The boy grows up.  The puppy becomes a dog.

She's a part of the family.  She's always there for you.

At Christmas.

At Easter.

Camping in the living room, with her own backpack.

The first day of school.

The first day of Cub Scouts.

And Little League.

The first day of the last year of junior high.

She's there to comfort when you're sick,

or any time a sleeping boy just needs a little extra security.


It seems you barely turn around and before you know it, that diaper wearing baby is in high school and your dog is no longer that bouncing little puppy she once was.  You know she's getting older, but you try not to think about it.

Then one day it hits you.  She can't see.  She can't hear.  The black patch on her eye that you nearly named her for has faded to almost completely white.  She has trouble getting up and down the front steps. That's when you realize, your dog is old.

That long way away suddenly got a whole lot closer.

You know that the decision is coming, but still you try to put it off.  She may be ready, but you aren't. You do what you can to keep her happy and healthy, but time still stalks the old girl.

Relentless.

Unyielding.

Then one day, you wake up and you know.


It may be that look of patient suffering in your dog's eyes.

It may be the sounds of pain she makes when she lays down,

or the scream when you try to help her up the steps.

Whatever the reason, you know.


It's time.


An agonizing trip to the animal clinic.    A shaking hand signs the paper.  The doctor that  gave her her first puppy shots now gives her one last injection.  And she drifts away, peacefully and without pain.  She's gone.

An "I'm so sorry" and a hug in the parking lot from the vet, and you take your faithful companion home for the last time. You ask your boy if he wants to pick out a spot for her, and he says, "I want to do this myself".  And your boy --no this man your pappy sucking boy has somehow become-- buries his dog out by the back fence, near the cow pasture she loved so much.

A bouquet of plastic flowers.


A too quiet house.   A big, gaping hole in your heart.

And it's over.


Goodbye old girl.    You really were the best dog ever.





Epilogue:  October 3, 2009


When you bring a puppy into your home, you know that dogs don't live as long as humans.

Somewhere in the back of your mind, you know that one day you'll have to face losing that puppy.

But you don't have to think about that yet.  That's a long way away.

Right now, he's just a cute little puppy with soft little puppy fur, and sharp little puppy teeth.

He'll make a good companion for your guitar playing, soon to be driving, teenage son.

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