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How did 13 years go by so quickly? I remember you being a three-month-old ball of fur that fit in my right hand, the runt who edged-out his littermates by snuggling into Momma’s neck and giving her a kiss the first time she picked you up. (You always were a great schmooze.)
We shared six homes, four cities and so many campsites I can’t even count. You loved to hike, and swim, and chase rabbits. You hated geese with a passion, and we never figured out why.
You drove us crazy, refusing to be house-trained, but then learned to ring a bell when you needed to go out, and you were our only child during those long, dark years when we couldn’t have a baby. You were Grandpa’s “buddy,” who got fed from the table when neither of you thought we were looking, and finally, you became our daughter’s favorite baby. Her first word was, “Puppy.”
She also fed you from the table when you thought we weren’t looking.
Your love could be bought with a pizza crust or an ear skritch.
You were our “Hoover Hound,” who ate five pounds of raw chicken wings, a two-pound loaf of uncooked bread dough, and an entire bag of mini peanut butter cups. But, you only had to go to the vet on that last one, ’cause you didn’t bother to unwrap them first!
You ruined our carpets, raided our (and others’) pantries, invaded our bed and filled our lives with all of the frustration, worry, love and laughter that only a member of the family can.
As hard as it was, I’m glad I was there at the end. I’m glad you could feel my hand, and hear my voice. I’m glad I could say, “Good dog!” one last time.
If there is a special place in heaven for pets, I hope that it’s filled with fast-food and slow geese.
Goodbye, “Trouble”…we’ll miss you.
Dad, Momma and Gracie
Photo by Perry P. Perkins.