In a few short hours I will be saying my final goodbye to a dog who changed me at an intrinsically deep level. A dog who became part of who I am. His death didn’t feel like a loss, it felt like an amputation. It was the first time in my life that I really didn’t think I could handle the pain and survive.
A lot of people say their dog was the “best dog in the world”. Let’s get something straight….Ray was NOT the best dog in the world, (although he was definitely the best dog for me). This little terror spent his first week home testing the boundaries and seeing what he could destroy. In a very short amount of time he ate a door, the carpet, a mattress topper, the blinds and a chair. One of the reasons he always came to work with me is because he would amuse himself, inappropriately, if left alone. It wasn’t so much separation anxiety as it was boredom. He always seemed to have the attitude of “hey, let’s see what happens when I do this”.
So many people have posted memories and photos of our boy. The first few days I couldn’t even get on Facebook…..it just hurt too badly. And today is another really tough day. I just want to get through it, and honor the little brown dog who believed, with all his heart that he was, in the words written on his collar “kind of a big deal”. Ray firmly believed that every person he saw wanted to meet him and love on him. That is what living at Best Friends did for him…..helped him recover from the past and take joy in the company of humans.
There were so many people that Ray loved with all his heart. Mostly the people he came to know and love from when he first came to DogTown: Patti, Kathy, Tom, McKenzie, Michelle, Erin, Mileen, Eileen, Justyne….so many folks who became part of his world. These people are grieving today too. And I thank them for their care and love which helped pave the way for Ray to come home.
There is a story we tell here at the sanctuary when animals are laid to rest. Angel’s Rest is covered in windchimes….and no matter how still the day is, during an animal’s placement at least one of the chimes will always ring. The caretakers there say it is because the placement has freed an animal’s soul to cross the rainbow bridge. Once they get there, where they once again feel young and strong, and where so many of their friends are waiting for them, they spin and jump and run…creating a wind that blows down to earth to ring the chimes.
I will be listening with my whole heart this afternoon…waiting to hear the chimes that tell me my boy is okay.