Avalon: A Friend Indeed

 

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Today was a tough day.

There are friends you have in life who will be there for you forever.  There are some friends you will lose track of and possibly never cross paths with again.  There are work friends and acquaintance friends, and college friends and all different iterations of friends.  Then on a completely different level, are the four-legged friends that you have in your life.

They don’t yell at you or hurt your feelings.  They don’t spend your money or wreck the car.  They don’t get angry at you when you feel bad.  They are there and give you unconditional love.  No matter how you feel, they are there and happy to see you.  Of course, we are talking about dogs here.  Cats have an entirely different set of criteria for giving love, but if you feed them, you will be loved.

Today was a tough day.

Avalon was a dog that was amazing.  When I first met Sue, Avalon was about 6-7 years old.  She was a black lab that Sue always said was the runt of her litter.  She wasn’t the brightest dog, but that was part of the charm of Avalon.  Sometimes when I got to Sue’s, Avalon would be outside.  Sue would say, “Now wait and listen.”  Then we would hear the signature, “Woof,” and then five to eight seconds later, “Woof”.  The pattern was always one woof with a long interval in between the next.  The translation was, “I’ve been outside long enough and I feel that it is time for you to let me back into the house.”  This always brought a smile to both of our faces.  Who says dogs can’t talk?

There is a dog park in Cherry Creek, CO, a Denver suburb.  When she was younger, we would load Avalon into Sue’s Prius and head over to this huge acreage for an interaction with other like-minded dog owners.  Avalon would walk with us into the park, then head directly for the stream and go into the water.  Black Labs love the water, and with that otter-like tail they are amazing swimmers.  They are well-suited for their primary role in hunting of retrieval, especially ducks that might land in marshy or water-laden areas.  Whether at the dog-park or in the kiddy pool we would fill up in the backyard, Avalon lived up to the breed’s reputation of “Water Dog”.

Today was a tough day.

As time went by, her eyesight failed her, her hearing failed her, and her hind legs became wobbly and unsteady.  We watched our friend try so hard to make us happy, but the years had taken their toll on her.   Her breathing became labored, and she developed an inherent fear of going up and down stairs.  We always knew this day would come, but the reality only hits you square when the decision is between continued suffering with no hope of abatement, or a parting of ways that will leave an incredible void in heart and home.

We gave her treats, we took her for a last walk around the neighborhood, then Sue and I and Sue’s dad, Dave, took Avalon to the Vets office.  We petted her, we talked to her, and we kissed her good-bye.  Then we laid our hands on her as she was put to sleep.  Our beloved friend is now out of pain and resting.

Today was a tough day.

Book suggestions:

  1.  John Grogan:  Marley and Me

http://www.amazon.com/Marley-Me-John-Grogan/dp/B001T3617S/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1355808870&sr=1-1&keywords=Marley+and+me

  1. Willie Morris:  My Dog Skip

http://www.amazon.com/My-Dog-Skip-Willie-Morris/dp/0679767223/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1355808989&sr=1-1&keywords=my+dog+skip

DS 051-4x6

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Avalon: A Friend Indeed

  1. Toni R. Crismon

    That is a beautiful statement.

  2. michelle scott

    So great you wrote this.Thank you for sharing and I know Avalon will always be with you.

  3. Thanks Toni! Avalon was a very special soul. I will miss her, but nowhere near as much as Susan will.

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