I started feeling sick in early July. Before I even understood how poorly I felt, Birr knew. At first I thought it was the thunderstorms and fireworks that made him seek constant contact with me. Now I know otherwise.
Birr has been my constant companion since he joined the family 5 years ago. He was the runt of the litter, and Kris followed his tenuous fight for survival on the breeder’s website. One day she marched into the family room and announced, “I’m getting a puppy, and I don’t care what you say.” It was not the time to point out that I’d been out of work for a year, and that we needed another dog like a hole in the head. I choose my battles wisely.
We made the trip to the Lakeside Run Chinookery in MA to pick up the pup shortly thereafter. In what I still regard as slightly ironic, Birr (at that time, Bear), crawled into my arms and refused to let go. He picked me, and I’ve done everything I can to live up to his lofty expectations ever since.
Yes, Kris trotted him to multiple National Championships and the win at Westminster, but he only put up with it because he knew daddy was waiting nearby for a joyous reunion. He’s done us proud, but the priorities have always been clear.
I have always dreaded what I regarded as inevitable – having to let go of my buddy when his time was done. Now I don’t know how to feel. Relieved that I won’t have to go through it? Sad because I won’t be there to comfort him? Just plain angry? All of the above, and more…
Multiply these thoughts and feelings and apply them to all of my friends and family. The only way I can come to terms with it is to see myself as the lucky one. I simply get to leave. Easy for me, but not fair for those I leave behind.