As a pet lover (and dog lover specifically) I always feared the day when I’d have to let go. It’s a cruel thing having to outlive your pet…your friend.
I grew up with springer spaniels. Daisy, our first, was born in 1986. I remember returning from a night out with friends some 11 years later and finding her limp body stretched out on her bed. I woke my mother and my sister (my dad was out of town) and then carried her body to a pre-dug grave (we knew it was coming) behind the house. She was a great sibling and she was as much a member of the family as anyone. It was one of the saddest days of my live.
Montana, like Daisy, wasn't a leash pet. I was fortunate to grow up in an area where dogs roamed free, but never roamed far. We got Monty when I was 18. It was spring and I was just about to start summer vacation before venturing off to faraway Maryland for college. Monty was a cute pup and I recall him scampering over our edged lawn. He’d run so fast, so quick, that he’d practically fall asleep as soon as he’d stop moving. He was a hunter, but not a good one. He loved to wrestle and bite softly on my hands. He loved jumping up on the couch and riding shotgun with my dad in our truck. Though, he hated riding in the back of the truck. He also hated goats. I had many youthful adventures with Monty through the years and he’d always be a sight for sore eyes whenever I returned home from college for the summer and for the holidays. In recent years, my eyes would wet when saying goodbye, as I knew it might be the last time I’d see him. He was hard of hearing and might have even been deaf in one ear. His vision wasn’t too great and he spent a lot of time sleeping. Despite his slothfulness, he’d rally whenever you’d say the words “walk” or “beach” and immediately he’d morph into a youthful pup. At the beach he’d swim after gulls and ducks far from his reach, not because he thought he might catch them, but because he liked to swim.
I saw him last in July. He sat regally on our green lawn (like in the picture above) nervously licking his snout. He’d always come out to see me off. He knew I wouldn’t be coming home right away and I knew this might be the last time I’d ever see him here on earth. I tried to not think about that and instead petted his liver and white head, like I’d been doing my entire life. I closed the car door and drove off, trying, but failing, to keep my eyes dry. I’ll miss him for sure.