I was the editor of a weekly newspaper in Alabama in 1995. One very nice Spring Sunday afternoon Marie and I drove to the animal shelter in Wetumpka. I was writing a story on overcrowding at the shelter.
While we were there a man drove up in a pickup with five six-week old German Shepherd-Beagle mix puppies, four girls and a boy. I picked up the male (just to look at him for a few minutes). I could hold all of him in the palm of one hand.
I just happened to have a cardboard box and some newspapers in the back seat of the car. The littie puppy we named Bo went home with us that afternoon and for the next 14 years he was our most loved member of the family.
Everyone liked Bo and Bo liked everyone who came to the house. He always thought our guests came to the house to see him and he greeted them with licks and wags that made them all feel loved and welcome.
In July, 2009 we had to make the gut-wrenching decision to put Bo to sleep. His kidneys were failing, he stopped eating and he was sick a lot. All Bo did all day was lay under the bed and sleep or gaze at nothing. We could tell by looking at him that he was tired. He had no quality of life any more.
The vet told us she could not fix him.
When we took Bo to the vet for the last time, Marie and Lois and I all lay down beside him on the blanket and spent our last moments with him, petting him, cuddling him and telling him what a good dog he had been and how much we loved him.
Those were his last memories of us, and our last memories of him. He died peacefully and quietly and very quickly with us next to him.
Then we cried and sobbed and wept.
We will never forget Bo. We don’t want to. All our memories and stories of him are good ones. And though we no longer have his love and loyalty and his funny ways, we have all those memories.
And we will treasure them always.