Last week we had to let go of our dog. Last week we found out she had cancer. Last week after fourteen years we had to put her down.
Last week was a hard week, and this week is a hard week. I keep looking for her and she is everywhere. I see her next to me because she was my shadow. I check her water bowl and it is gone. I start to call her name and even say it out loud. I think its time to feed her, worried she is hungry. These things will fade. But my memories of her will not.
She was known as our bar dog. Not because she liked to frequent bars, but because we found her at a bar. She was a little red ball of fur with giant brown eyes and a head bigger then her body. It was love at first sight. That is our son fell in love with the red ball of fur and her big head. While our son was sitting at a neighborhood bar the bartender walked in holding a small box. The bartender was looking kind of nervous. Inside the small box was a puppy. Storing the small puppy filled box on the floor, behind the bar, the bartender went to work. As time went by the bartender became more nervous. The small box was starting to move around. Our son questioned him about the puppy. He replied, that someone was supposed to come pick the puppy up, an hour ago. Then he said, “You want her? You can have her!” With those seven words the best dog became ours.
When our son brought her home we were less then thrilled. But she won us over with her big brown eyes. We marveled at her large paws. As we watched her grow, we fell in love. She grew into her head and her paws. She became a beautiful dog and most importantly, she became part of our family. And she knew, we were her family. She learned to open doors and it was really hard to keep her inside. The outdoors called to her. Too many times to count we would find the door wide open and she was gone, no where to be found. The door would stay unlocked so she could get inside. She always returned, so happy to see us. Her body was smiling and happy shaking all over. One time, she came home at 3am covered in cow manure. One time, she came home opened the back door and brought another dog inside. Another time, I was driving down the street and there she was in the pasture, playing with our neighbor’s miniature ponies. There are many, many stories like these. Because like I said, the outdoors called to her.
As she got older she matured into a really sweet and great dog. She became my running buddy. We would run in the early morning dark, down side streets, across a highway and through the graveyard. One dark morning in the graveyard we were startled by a family of skunks. We both stopped running and let the momma and babies pass. Together we witnessed coyotes, bobcats and deer all returning home at the end of their day. In the darkly lit morning there was always a giant black cat that would lay in our running path. He would reach his paw out and try to touch us every time we passed. That cat loved messing with us. Reddog would always look at me and we would keep running, skirting around the cat. I always felt safe with Reddog, the best dog.