In my reality, dogs are furry family members from God. They are listeners, protectors, comedic relief, therapy animals and companions of unwavering love. Over 8 years ago, we were reading in our local advertising paper and found something out of the ordinary. Typically you can find garage sales, tools for sale, real estate, that sort of thing. On this day however, there was an add for a 1 1/2 year old yellow lab mix who need a new home. The people said when they let him into their house, a single-wide manufactured home, he would go crazy. We drove right over to see him. When we got there he was in a small wire fenced pen. As soon as he saw us, he started jumping off the ground like a pogo stick. He cleared at least 4 feet. We learned that he was a yellow lab/golden retriever mix and had belonged to the people’s son. He needed us. His belly was full of pitch from being outside and they didn’t let him in the house often and it gets cold at night in LaPine. We said that we’ve love to take him home. One of us told him, “C’mon, load up!”, and he got in the truck right away. I’m not sure after that moment that he tail ever stopped wagging. He and our other dog, Sydney, hit it off and became good friends. They roamed the back-yard together chasing birds and squirrels. Barking would signify that a walker or bicyclist was on the trail in the state park. While the chickens would wander the yard, he’d be right there to eat the poop. YUCK! He was a faster and often could clear the area. Lol. He fit right in with the rest of the gassy family. His bark could scare away a intruder but he was the sweetest dog. He just wanted to love and lick and kiss you. I wish I could say he was a smart dog, that would be a lie. However, he knew when I was cutting up an apple and was always there for his piece. The popcorn maker was his favorite entertainment and always found a way to snag a few kernels. He was always looking for a sneaky way to get a swim in the pond or the kiddie pool.
Right now, in my mind’s eye, I can see his last days, his x-ray, hear his breathing and see his sad, sick face. I have some comfort knowing that as soon as we were aware of his cancer, that we made the right decision to ease his suffering. In time, I won’t keep seeing my two precious children next to the lifeless body of our beloved family member. For now, my heart is bruised and I am said.
I am so grateful to everyone who has reached out to us during this unexpected and difficult time. Don’t take anyone or anything for granted. Love them while you have them. God’s peace, Rebecca