Well buddy, 14 years just wasn’t enough. It’s been almost a week now and it hasn’t been any easier. This is the first time I’ve been home since you’ve been gone and the house is so different. No howls, no greetings, just quiet and an obvious absence.
I remember when I first picked you up like it was yesterday. Mom wasn’t too sure about bringing home another dog, but I knew if I could get her to go and “just look” and you had blue eyes…you’d be mine. You did…and lucky me. You ran over to me, buried your head between my legs, rubbed all over me as if you had known me for years. I knew right then that I had to take you home.
I’ll never forget how you’d wait outside the bedroom door or outside the bathroom. It was like you couldn’t wait for me to come out. Belly rub time! I’ll never forget how you always had to sit next to my chair to get your pets and how you’d slowly slide down and roll onto your back as if to say, “This is why I’m really here. Rub my belly!”
I’ll never forget that when you were a puppy, you had to stick both feet in your water bowl in order to drink it. After all, water was really meant for cooling off, not necessarily drinking. Or how you’d dunk your head in the water just so you could watch it run off your nose.
I’ll never forget how excited you got when it would snow. I can still see you putting your nose in the snow and running with your head barely off the ground leaving trails of bare grass just to get the cool sensation. I’ll never forget taking you camping and waking up and finding you curled up in the snow with your tail covering your nose. Ahhh, you were home.
I’ll never forget how hairy you were. I took a part of you everywhere. How my clothes could possibly have hair on them straight out of the dryer still baffles me.
I’ll never forget that you would pout. Hey…Jax needs a bath sometimes, too!
I’ll never forget how you were so proud of yourself for protecting the house from those big, bad opossums. Happily bringing them in through the pet door…sometimes into the bedroom like you were saying, “I brought you a present!”
I’ll never forget how much energy you had. Always wanting to play. Always wanting to run. You couldn’t get enough. You would even systematically test the fence looking for weak spots so you could run the neighborhood. But even with all of that energy, I will never forget how gentle and sweet you were. Never pushy for attention, just patiently waiting for your turn.
I’ll never forget the excited howls and yodling when I’d come home. Day or night, you would greet me as if I had been gone for years. I could often hear you before I got out of the car. Now that’s a homecoming! And, whenever I would leave the house you howled and cried like it was the last time we’d see each other.
I’ll never forget our “special no-leash time” in the driveway at night. It was like you lived for it. You couldn’t wait for time away from the other dogs just to hang out with me.
I’ll never forget your cool, confident demeanor. Always patient. Always in control of things around the house. You ran the show. You led the pack.
I’ll never forget how protective you were. Not aggressively, but in a concerned sort of way. Always checking on people. Always sticking close or keeping a watchful eye. “Where’s the baby? Is he ok?” You knew when someone wasn’t feeling good. “I know you’re sick, so I’ll stick extra close just in case you need me.”
The best gift a friend can give is his loyalty…and you were full of it. Loyal friend doesn’t begin to describe what you were, and always will be to me.
And now, it’s the last time I get to tell you what I tell you every night, “I love you, buddy. Goodnight.”
Like I said before, 14 years just wasn’t enough. You were a good boy…the best. I’m going to miss you.
I’ll never forget.