We knew this day would be enormously painful. We knew it the moment we gathered up that small bundle of fur, clutched him to our chest and laughed as he licked our face and nuzzled our hair and we knew this day would come. We knew we would have to face it one day but still, we decided to bring him home. We’d found a new friend and he’d found a new home.
We gave him a name. Not because he wanted or needed it, but because it made him a special part of our family. We watched him explore his new home, tentatively at first but quickly becoming comfortable in his new surroundings. We wanted him to know that he was safe here and knew we’d succeeded the first time we found him sleeping on his back, all four paws in the air. We gave him a warm, soft bed though he often chose the floor next to ours.
We played fetch with a ball or frisbee until, one day, he no longer chased them and we were reminded that this day would come.
We laughed when he mistook a ringing doorbell on the TV for the real thing. We took him for walks in the park though probably not as often as he would have liked. We gave him belly rubs though certainly not as often as he would have liked. We comforted him during thunderstorms. We cared for him when he was not feeling up to snuff, hiding nasty medicines in tasty chunks of cheese or lunchmeat.
He notified us of the arrival of the mail carrier and the trash collector. He alerted us to the comings and goings of the neighbors and warned us of impending squirrel invasions. He waited by the door with a wagging tail and trusting eyes that needed no words to say, “I’m happy you’re home!” He made us smile even when we didn’t feel much like smiling.
Through it all, we knew this day would come and it is as excruciatingly painful as we knew it would be.
His love was unconditional, his loyalty limitless, his companionship constant. He added to our lives in so many ways demanding nothing in return. We will miss him terribly and our only small comfort comes from a belief that he enjoyed as comfortable and happy a life as we were able to give him.
We’ll meet again at the Rainbow Bridge, little buddy.
May 24, 2005 – Dec 12, 2017