A Moment of Pain for a Lifetime of Love

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a nice start.

For me, it’s the beginning of a different life. One where sitting up in bed isn’t met with the sound of paws coming down the hallway, there’s no need to open the back door, and my morning “hug” from my little buddy will now be a memory. Yesterday at noon, our fur-baby went to a place where there is no pain and cancer is just a word.

It was a hard thing to do, as anybody who’s been there can attest. There’s always that voice that says, “It’s only a dog.” That voice only comes from people who have never bonded with a dog, or any animal for that matter. It certainly doesn’t come from within. To me, he was a member of the family, and his passing left a hole in my heart that will never completely heal.

But I don’t want this post to be sad. I want to remember my little buddy with a smile, and know that if he could have spoken, he would have told me he hurt a lot worse than he let on, and he loved us as much as we loved him, maybe even more. And I’m sure that, once he got past the fear of another visit to the vet, he would have said, “It’s okay. Don’t be sad.”

When we open our home to an animal, this is a reality we have to accept. We don’t think about it at the time, and it never really crosses our mind over the years. We give them nourishment and love, and they reward us with silly antics and that trademark greeting every time we walk through the door. Get on Google and look up “Wheaten Greetin’.” It’ll make you smile.

I heard a speaker one time saying his wife complained that when he got home from work, he petted the dog before he kissed her.  He said, “When you meet me at the door jumping around and shaking your whole body like that, rest assured I’ll notice you first.” That pretty much sums it up.

I’ll miss him brushing against us like a cat every time he walked past. In the end, he learned he could snag the Velcro on his diaper and go commando for a few minutes. I’ll miss his 8:00 routine every evening, when he knew it was time for a treat. And don’t bother telling him the clocks changed. He knew that was just a ruse. “Don’t mess with me, Daddy! It’s 8:00, dammit!”

I’ll miss seeing him sitting up high in the passenger seat of the RV with an unmistakable smile on his face. I’ll miss him searching his toy box every time somebody came to the door, looking for the perfect gift to present. I’ll miss him snuggling next to me in bed, but only for a minute before he moved next to my feet and, eventually, to his own bed.

I could go on, but you get the idea. Every day with this little guy was worth the heartache of holding him as his life slipped away. As a close friend said last week, a moment of pain is the price of a lifetime of love. Well, it’s more than a moment of pain, but it’ll soon give way to memories that will last a lifetime.

Most of all, I think of the unconditional love that comes from an animal that truly sees us as members of their own family. To them, they’re no different than us. A little shorter maybe, and without inside bathroom privileges. But it’s the life they know, and I don’t think they even notice the difference. They accept us just as we are – two legs, no fur, and smelling like soap.

So, now we begin a life of walking into a quiet home, not tripping over toys strategically placed for our enjoyment, and having to pick up every scrap of food we drop on the floor. I’ll never again open a bag of popcorn or make scrambled eggs in the morning without those eager eyes watching my every move. He’ll always be there, waiting for his share.

I’m not sure if there’s life beyond this earth for pets, but if there is I know for certain my little buddy is running unleashed without a care in the world. His pain is gone, he can potty without difficulty, and his 8:00 treat is always on time. And most of all, I know he would be nuzzling us and gazing up with those adoring eyes as if to say, “Don’t cry – I’m right here.”

So, Buster, wherever you are, just know you will always live on in our hearts. We will always question the decision to let you go, and we will always wish we’d had a little more time. But we will never regret one moment of the time we had with you. Farewell for now. And do that dance, little buddy … it’s 8:00 somewhere.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

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