Thursday, August 9, 2012

Barney and Me

"The misery of keeping a dog is his dying so soon. But, to be sure, if he lived for fifty years and then died, what would become of me?" – (Sir Walter Scott)

If you haven’t seen the photo of the guy in the water holding his old, arthritic dog; you just weren’t paying attention. And the story that goes with the photo inspires and at the same time breaks your heart.

If you’re a dog person, or just a human being with a heart, you can’t look at that photo and not get a lump in your throat. It really hit me. We have dogs, two very friendly Bichons, Dillon and Boudreaux. They are amusing little guys, low maintenance and great house pets. But once upon a time, we had a real dog. His name was Barney and he was an English Springer Spaniel. The best dog ever. He moved all over the country with us and could handle just about anything or anyone. He was smart, loyal, gentle and absolutely fearless.

Not counting my wife, he was my best friend. But when he died I wasn’t there. Why I wasn’t there is another story and it will be someone else’s to tell someday when I’m not around. But I wasn’t there when he took that long, last ride to the vet. Thankfully my wife was there and to this day she cannot stand to watch the similar scene as it plays out in the movie Marley and Me.

Maybe it was for the best that I wasn’t there. I just don’t know. But I do believe that our dogs will be there for us when we get to heaven. And they will come running to greet us and not only love us, but forgive us for taking so long to get there. (Hell, I can’t even write this post without crying.)

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