Yesterday we said goodbye to a family friend, our dog Byron. Our beloved sheltie was only 11, but he had struggled for many years with skin and ear infections. Each year as the humidity rose in the spring, Byron developed fungal infections and then ear infections. We constantly battled this with baths, medicines, shaving his beautiful coat. All that took its tole on his body, as he lost his hearing, his coat didn’t grow back thickly, and he lost his personality. He spent his days sleeping. Only sleeping. Never playing, never cuddling. He was miserable. So we made the decision and let our pet go.
The task fell to me to take him to the vet. As I said goodbye and kissed his nose, I couldn’t hold back the tears. Our kind old vet gently said, “It is always hard, even when doing the right thing.” And then he took Byron back. As I signed the papers, I almost changed my mind. So I left, crying, as quickly as possible.
It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
Every Sunday JD and I rush out of the house by 8:20 so that we have time to make it to Starbucks for my weekly mocha and JD’s hot tea. As we get back on the highway to head towards church we drive past a small lake. It’s there that every Sunday morning at 8:45 that I see them, the lady and her golden retriever. Each week through the fall and cold, wet winter, I saw them. She’s always bundled up in her teal coat and hood, leash coiled in one hand, poop bag in the other. The dog looks just like our Sam. Big, strong and beautiful. The dog is usually off-leash, fetching a tennis ball or stick, or running in the brush.
I look for them now. I look even during other days of the week. I wonder what the dog’s name is, how old, boy/girl. I wonder if they are out each day or if Sundays are their special play time. Does the woman have a family? Is this dog her one companion? Do they know that others are spying on their time?
One thing I do know, I spend more time with Sam because of what I see each Sunday morning, mocha in hand, on my way to church.