Monday, August 23, 2004

One man's best friend

"How do I miss thee? Let me count the ways".
I miss your smile, gentle and ready
I miss your happy countenance, dependable as the sunrise
and just as bright
I miss your sense of humor, always ready to play
I miss your constant presence, like a comfortable bathrobe wrapped around me
I miss the spryness of your step, like an eternal child running ahead and looking back
I miss you coming downstairs to remind me that it's time to sleep
I miss the way you try to knock your sister into the pool whenever she runs by
I miss the way you come in to join me when the thunder rumbles, my perpetual baby
I miss the way you just need to be near me, as I need to be near you

I could go on, but dilute it with the telling.
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, a lament by any other name would be as poignant.

I can tell you that her passing is not the end of the world, not on a par with Mother Teresa. Military service taught me that the passing of any gentle, loving soul leaves the world a lesser place that it was at the beginning of today. She crept into my heart, years of us sharing life and really paying attention to each other, getting to know each others likes and dislikes.

She was a dog. She was on her last day at the pound when my wife brought her into our home, with us for 7 years until this morning. A dog, eat, sleep, repeat. Yet, we got to know each other, I knew what she liked, she knew me. We knew each others foibles and strengths. She looked for me, stayed with me on the days that I worked from home, looked to me for company during thunderstorms and sometimes just because. I liked to play, she liked to play. She would talk to me for no reason and I with her for no reason. She loved to ride with the window down, head in the breeze, tongue and ears flapping.

She'd get sick, needed surgery, had health problems. I'd clean her wounds, swab out her ears, drain and treat her sores. Gently yet firmly, getting it right the first time so that she didn't need to endure the discomfort any more than was necessary. I don't know that she ever forgave us for trading in our water bed for a different bed (ask her, she'll tell you it's her bed). She was good at getting rid of rats that made the mistake of entering our yard. She taught my daughter's kitten to carry things in her mouth like a dog, eat dog biscuits and growl when some one approached the house. Sadie would sleep with Kaylie between her paws, long after Kaylie stopped being a kitten, the two amigos.

You don't have many real friends in life. And though I've had dogs as pets most of my life, it's been as an adult that I've appreciated them as fellow inhabitants. Even then, not all of them. They have distinct personalities, like us. And like us, not all become quite as close. In life here, it's rare to really connect with someone. Sadie has been one of them, after my children and wife, maybe because they can communicate better.

She forgave me my trespasses, as I forgave hers. Now my friend is gone. While I'll never hear her step again, the jingle of her collar on the tiles in the cool of the bathroom floor and the glint in her eyes with a smile on her face. She'll be with me always. For already, I hear her step and jingle, see her smiling face and for as long as I live, I'll always have my friend.

Hey Sade's, want to get the mail?

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