Faithful Friend

My heart aches this morning.

I really hate death. It just hurts too much.

Yesterday afternoon, our elderly dog, Junior, died. Now, I am not comparing his death to other losses I’ve experienced. The deaths of loved ones are definitely not the same as the death of a pet. But, death still hurts. It always does.

My husband found Junior, laying in the yard. It is as if he had just laid down, the last moments of his life winding down…until he just stopped.

We were just getting ready to leave the house for evening choir and church services, when my husband, from across the yard, answered my question, “Is he dead?” He solemnly nodded as I ran across the yard, tears streaming down my face.

Yes, he was about fourteen and a half years old. Yes, I know he was old, and yes I knew he wouldn’t be with us much longer.

But, none of that mattered. Not at that moment.

I met Junior when I married my husband in 2005. He was about seven years old then. A brindle colored mutt. Maybe some sort of bird dog/boxer mix? He liked to walk with me through the years, even after his aging joints made walking difficult and painful. He always had a lick for everyone and would bark with excitement when the family drove up the driveway. Our collie, Ace, will miss his friend. I’m sure he will be lonely without his buddy.

The last year and a half of Junior’s life was a struggle. I faithfully gave him his glucosimine and chondroitin every day for his arthritic joints, picked him up when the steps to the deck got to be too much, and slowly walked him over to the barn on the coldest of winter days, where he could snuggle in the hay with barn kitty.

Grief is the price one pays for loving someone, or in this case, loving a dear pet.