Goodbye Old Man
This morning I woke up with an ache in my heart. Yesterday really happened...
Two years ago it was important to me to have Patton photographed. At that point we weren't sure how much longer we had left with him.
And in the space since then it has felt like we were living on borrowed time. It was a slow and gradual aging and there were such gentle changes that they just absorbed into our definition of who he was.
Lately though we would hear him bark for us to come get him because his back legs couldn't get traction, it took an act of Congress for him to realize where our voice was coming from, even when we were standing in plain sight, and we would hold the door open for him and say come on Old Man while we waited for his slow and steady pace to take him to the back door. All along that tail would just wag. While we knew he was aging we also knew he was happy.
The upside to his gentle aging was that he was always granted the privilege of roaming among our company. He didn't jump, he didn't bark and his spirit was so gentle. A few weeks ago he wandered around the front yard swiping pizza from unsuspecting littles. We like to think he had himself a going away party sneaking yummy food that I kept trying to fish out of his mouth just a moment too late.
He always had this ability to just be right there. He was always inevitable.
We were newly married, buying pet food at Petsmart and there was a litter of pups for adoption at the entrance. The litter had been rescued from under a trailer at Lake Texoma. He stood out to me because he laid on his belly with his back legs flying out behind him just like Superman. I refused to leave the store until he came home with us.
His mama was this black, tiny, squatty dog with coarse hair. So when he grew tall with his orange-ish coloring I was convinced his dad had to be a golden. And with his temperament I am only convinced more so that he was.
He was the best dog. His kisses were slow and deliberate. You knew he meant it when he gave his love.
His final decline this week was rapid and on Friday afternoon we said our goodbyes.
Last night the house felt so empty. I was reminded that we've felt this before and it was affirmed that the emptiness I felt was true - there was once a life in this home that is now missing. As I told my sweet boys we were so lucky to have loved him all those years. Goodbye Old Man...