Saying Goodbye to my Best Friend

HarryOct2010Last weekend I had to confront the one responsibility all good pet owners dread: I had to have my beloved dog put to sleep.

Now I sit here looking back to that October day in 1998 when I first saw him at the animal shelter. He was in a large group of other unwanted pups that had recently been transferred to Peterborough from the Sheffield Dog Pound. They were all filthy and underfed and they ran around together in a large, muddy enclosure. Harry – as he was to become – stood out straightaway, not just because of his wonderful colouring, but because there was something about his stance and his enthusiasm. He had a tail that seemed permanently set to ‘wag’ and he looked like a dog determined to embrace life, no matter what. In fact, to me he positively shone. It was love at first sight.

Minutes later I was the proud owner of a four-month-old, ginger mutt who had a ribcage I could have used as a xylophone and a collection of unwelcome guests about his person (worms, mange mites, fleas). He was also losing his milk teeth and had horrendous diarrhoea.

Months passed. Harry became a handsome, healthy dog with a gorgeous, amber-coloured coat and a Hollywood smile (no dog-breath for Harry!), and for sixteen years I had the privilege of sharing my life with this beautiful soul. For much of that time he was the only reason I got up in the morning. He was the truest friend I will probably ever have.

My life has changed for the better now so I guess Harry thought his work here was done and he could go Home. He suffered a dramatic decline in health over a three-day period and I knew it was time to let him go.

Harry is gone from this place. But I know he won’t rest in peace! He’ll be running like the wind, running like he loved to do before old age reduced his gait to a stiff-legged shuffle. He’ll be running through the Spirit realms like a mad thing, eyes bright and tongue lolling. He’ll be chasing astral butterflies over those deep-green Elysian Fields. And his tail will be set to ‘wag’.

Goodbye, old friend, and thank you. Thank you for all the joy you brought into my life with your happy heart, your exuberance and your unconditional love. You taught me to embrace life, no matter what.

Harry, my darling boy, you weren’t just my best friend; you were also my greatest teacher.Harryrunning

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12 Comments

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12 responses to “Saying Goodbye to my Best Friend

  1. *Hugs* People who have never had a pet might not be able to understand, but they really are part of the family. My kitty is nine and in the last year or two I’ve started to think about what will happen when that unfortunate time comes. He came to me at just the right time and made my life better in a big way.

    Make sure you do something nice for yourself today. Sometimes the smallest thing can make you feel much better.

  2. Lovely photos of your sweet old boy. Now I can imagine him running wildly through the Elysian fields with his “tail set to wag”!

  3. Thanks, Pat. This photo of him running takes me back to a very happy day we spent with Tina and Isaac. Harry was in his element running along the river bank.

  4. Paula Diggle

    Ah, that’s lovely cuz. It’s so unbelievably hard when we lose them. I do hope that Harry ‘sends’ you another companion with whom to share your life. xxx

  5. Thanks, cuz. I’m sure there is another little chap out there in the future.

  6. I hope you join him one day, Carol, wherever he is. I fully intend to go to the place where animals go. An eternity with no wildlife, just people—ugh!

  7. michelle home

    Carol, you my dear, sound like a wonderful, caring and considerate person, who valued the true friendship of such a special dog. How lucky you were to pick him, but how lucky was Harry, fantastic success story and one to be treasured.

  8. agnieszkacoutinho

    beautiful and touching amiga..
    Harry reminds me of my Lucky a lot.. xxx

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