Six and a half weeks ago, I was forced to say goodbye to you, Boomer… and to say I wasn’t ready is putting it mildly. How could I ever be ready to say goodbye to the best dog in the world?
I still remember the day we brought you home for the first time. It was July 3, 2006, and you were about 3 months old at the time. I say “about” because we never knew how old you were for sure, and the lady we got you from didn’t know, either. She couldn’t tell us because she found you—along with your brothers and sisters—near her house. Someone put all of you into a box, and left that box sitting on the railroad tracks… left you to die. How frightened you pups must have been… left in a strange place, with no food or water… how you must have cried out for your mother! That’s how the lady found you… she heard a chorus of whines and whimpers, and searched until she found the box with all of you inside it. She rescued you from certain death, and cared for you and your littermates while she tried to find forever homes for each of you by putting an ad in the local newspaper.
I saw the ad on the newspaper’s website, and called her. I was thrilled to hear I was the first one to call, because that meant we got the pick of the litter. We agreed to come by that evening, and left right away.
The boys were so excited when we arrived! So many puppies running around, and all of them so cute. They went from pup to pup, petting each one, trying to decide which one they liked best… and not being able to choose, of course, because you were all so sweet. It was going to be up to Mom and Dad to make the decision. At first, we thought it would be hard to choose, because it would be so, so easy to fall in love with every single one of the pups we saw… but we were both drawn to you.
You were so playful, and eager for attention! Running back and forth between the boys, with that tail of yours wagging so hard and fast it wouldn’t have surprised me a bit to see you lifting up into the air. You played with them as if you’d always belonged to them, your eyes shining with pure joy as you went from one to the other.
You were so happy. So full of love. You chose us before we chose you… as if you always knew we were meant to be your family.
We loaded up in the truck to take you home, and I held you in my lap. Poor baby, you were so scared, whining and trembling with fear. (Were you remembering another car ride that ended with abandonment on the tracks? I’ve often wondered…) I just held you close and talked to you in a soft voice, telling you we’d be home soon, and nothing was going to hurt you. Several minutes and a few dozen scratches later, you finally settled down and lay still in my lap for the rest of the way home.
I remember that ride as if it were yesterday… the first time we brought you home. It’s a memory I will cherish forever. The beginning of almost 11 years of having you in our lives. Such wonderful years… so many good memories.
I don’t want to think about the last time we brought you home. It hurts too much to think about how we were, again, in that same truck… and you were there, but you were gone. I wasn’t able to hold you in my lap that time. I’ll never hold you again…
We buried you here… at the only home you ever knew, where you were loved and cherished by all of us. I go to your grave from time to time, just to tell you I love you… and I miss you terribly. I suppose some people might think me foolish for doing so, but I don’t give a damn.
Sometimes, for just a moment, I’ll forget that you’re gone. I’ll look for you, listen for you… only to remember you’re gone. Then the pain of your loss comes rushing back, as fresh and raw it was in that instant when you closed your beautiful brown eyes for the very last time. And the tears fall once more…
Just as they are falling now.
You were such a blessing to me, and you’ll always hold a special place in my heart. I’ll never forget you, and I will always love you. Thank you for bringing so much happiness to our lives.
And one day, when my heart tells me it’s ready… I’ll find another dog to love as I loved you.