All dogs go to heaven

24 Oct

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I’ve always been a dog lover.  As a kid I had a Dogs Annual Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds and  I literally memorized most of them.  My soft spot for dogs is similar to chocolate for some or football for others.

We had some great dogs growing up and after  years of wanting my own dog the time was finally right and so six years ago I got Millie a West Highland Terrier.   She is very cute, athletic, loves to watch TV (and bark at every dog and horse who dare come into our living room), follows me everywhere I go (she only sleeps if I am sitting still), extremely smart, territorial with certain dogs and is 100% obsessed with me (and squirrels).  Other than me going away or doing social things she can’t come to – we literally spend 24 hours a day together as she comes to work with me, sleeps with me and goes to parties, visiting, etc.  My cousin nicknamed her ‘The Diana Ross of Dogs’ as she is a bit of a diva.   When I got Millie I started to take her to a school yard around the corner from where I lived as I heard there was a group a people who congregate there at 7 am with their K9 sidekicks.  Every morning, Monday to Friday for the 3 years I lived in that neighbourhood in the sun/wind/snow or rain I would stand on the field with my dog friends.   There was a real mish mash of young, middle aged, older, men, women, weirdo’s and normal (somewhat) folks.  Not as extreme as Best in Show.  We had a lot of solid laughs over the years as we stood there freezing our butts off, picking up dog poop and chatting about what was happening in each others lives.  John would make fun of Ray and Judy who were neurotic about their dog.  I would tell them ferocious tales of dating and travelling the world.  One friend I made was Simon and his dog Roo- the two of them had a very evident bond.  Roo was never on a leash as the only thing he was interested in was following Simon around.    Roo was kind of a complicated dog and so we nicknamed him Jimmy Melvin (Jimmy Melvin is a local notorious criminal).  For any of you reading this who grew up watching Canadian television Roo reminded me a lot of  The Littlest Hobo.  He would mostly only let Simon touch him (but after about a year he started to trust me and would let me give him a pat).   Simon is also quite a character and so the two of them were a match made in heaven.  I’ve heard Simon speak to Roo just like he was a human buddy trotting along beside him.  It seems they were both just what the other one needed.  My brother and family got a puppy this summer and so my sister-in-law brings him to the same school yard I used to go to.  She has gotten to know some of my old pals  She told me Roo wasn’t feeling well last week and so Simon has been on my mind.  As I mentioned I take Millie to work with me and now that Preston is part of the family I walk to my brothers house and take him to work with us – Simon and Roo live a few blocks from them.  I have a route I take, but this morning I decided to change it up and along the way ran into Simon (this kind of stuff happens to me all the time).  I haven’t run into Simon on the street in months and months and if I had taken my normal way I wouldn’t have run into him.  Of course I asked him straight away how Roo was and he sadly told me Roo had to be put down on Saturday.  We had a moment on Vernon Street. Completely heartbreaking.  I’ve been thinking about them all day.

The friendship you have with your dog is so special.  Who else is excited to see you after you’ve only been gone for 4.5 minutes.  Who else can come put their head on your lap while you are on the toilet?  Who else goes to bed when you do and wakes up when you do?  Who else wants to go everywhere you go?  Who else wants to protect you from any threat (even if it is a 8lb Yorkie wearing a pink jacket)?   Who else wants to watch you fold laundry?  Who else wants likes whatever you like on TV?  Who else forgives you within minutes after scolding them?  Who else never criticizes you?  Who else likes your taste in music all the time?   Who else gets sad every-single-time you go away?  As they say, not every person knows how to love a dog, but every dog knows how to love a person.

The only problem with having a dog is that it is very likely that you will outlive them.  Millie promised me that she would live to at least 15 and we shook her paw on it.  A few weeks back I was at my Mom and Dads house and made the fatal error of watching Marley and Me (I’ve read the book but never saw the movie in its entirety).  I was a sobbing mess which caused Millie and my parents dog to come running to me wondering what was wrong – I had one laying on top of me and one staring at me as I sniffed away.  As Simon said this morning he can’t even think of getting another dog anytime soon as Roo was his solid companion and he was so unique that he will never find another dog like him.

Having a dog not only brings you the friendship you have with your dog, but it brings so many other people into your life.  Over the course of the 6 years I’ve had Millie I’ve made many friends through her.  Babies and dogs make it socially acceptable to chat with a complete stranger.  Simon, my friend,  I am glad Roo brought you to the dog park and I got to know the both of you.

All that we have once enjoyed we can never lose. All that we have deeply loved becomes part of us –  Helen Keller.

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3 Responses to “All dogs go to heaven”

  1. Kirsten October 24, 2016 at 6:37 pm #

    So sweet and so true. Miss my sweet girl Rhys every day. Give Millie an extra squeeze for me tonight. xo

  2. sarah October 25, 2016 at 6:58 pm #

    i love that Helen Keller made er way into this one:) ruff ruff!

  3. Rob October 26, 2016 at 6:26 pm #

    I’m an old friend of Simon’s with a funny old dog of my own. I know there’s a Roo-shaped hole in his world. In time, that outline against the swirl of the world will bring him some comfort, but I know his heart is broken right now. I fear it’s the price of the bond you describe.
    Rob

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