Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The loss of my best friend, Goodbye Bear Bear

Last night at midnight I sat on the tile area in our foyer and held the head of my beloved German Shepherd Baron as he died. He was regal and strong to the end, no whining, no whimpering, he simply met death with the no fear attitude he had in life. The hole in my heart as I write this I dare say will never be completely healed.

What is it about pets that make us love them so much? I realize they aren't people, but they sure do get to be like one of your own. I got Baron at 8 weeks old, just a few months before my first marriage completely fell apart. And through those rough times he was always there and never complained about the crappy little apartment he had to move to, or when my car was repossessed. He just wagged his tail and was always "ready to go" wherever that may have been.

He also is the reason my current wife and I are now married. She fell in love with Baron before she fell in love with me! I actually, in a way, owe my family to that dog. And he was great with the kids when they were born. Never once did he ever growl, bark or do anything to the babies as they were learning to walk and using him as a device to pull themselves up when they fell. Even if he was eating he would just sort of be like "no problem kid, keep trying". I never worried about a thing when he was around the kids. So many thought I was nuts, this big towering German Shepherd and two little babies, but I never even batted an eye. Bear Bear wrote the book on family dog behavior.

I honestly could write for hours on all the stuff he and I did together. All the memories, all the fun times. But I fear I don't have the emotional strength to do so. And I really am just writing this as "therapy" for myself. But I will so miss that big love of a dog. Wherever I was, he was in the same room. I will miss tripping over him, him waking me up at 3am to go take a dump (he was a nighttime pooper), and the way he thumped his tail when you said his name. But most of all, I'll miss my friend.

In the movie Forest Gump, Forest says to Jenny's grave "momma always said death is a part of life.........I sure wish it wasn't". Those words echo on my heart this morning. But I know it is better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all. And the love of a Shepherd is something you have to experience to truly understand.

I simply leave this entry with this, my pastor once preached about how on every tombstone there is a dash between the born date and died date. That dash is such a small amount of time in the scope of eternity. And his point was, what will the meaning of our dash be when we are gone? What did we do while we were here? Baron got me through a divorce, brought me to my wife, protected the kids, and was the best friend you could ever ask for. I can only pray my "dash" is as good as his.

Good night my ol boy, sleep well.