We had to say goodbye to a dear friend today. I won’t go into details but she was in discomfort and it wasn’t going to get better. Dogs are tough and don’t like to show pain but in spite of her putting on a brave face, we knew it was only going to get worse. For better or worse we made the decision to let her go while she still had dignity and was still capable of enjoying her last day.
It’s often said that love is blind by which, I assume, they mean that love blinds us to flaws in the object of affection. I think that true love is when your eyes are wide open to the failings and shortcomings of those whom you love and you love them just as much as if they were perfect beings.
Casey was by no means a perfect dog. She had a strong personality and she never learned to stay out of the garbage. We never got too mad at her since the tail between the legs and regret in her eyes showed that she was REALLY sorry. Even still, she would be back in there eating empty wrappers and bread crusts again the next day if you didn’t lock the cupboard. Stubborn and occasionally disobedient, she was nonetheless an intelligent and sensitive friend who could always read our moods and understand our feelings. She possessed all those qualities one comes to expect in a dog, first and foremost loyalty and love to Sharon and I, the other two members of her pack.
Twelve years. It’s a good age for a dog everyone says. She’s had a good life. She was Sharon’s dog ever since she was a puppy so I only knew her for the last four years of her life. I wish I could have known her for longer. I wish she didn’t have to go.
Others with better words than I have said more than I ever could. This eulogy was delivered as a closing argument in a court case by a man whose dog had been killed by a neighbor.
“The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous, is his dog.
A man’s dog stands by him in prosperity and in poverty, in health and in sickness. He will sleep on the cold ground, where the wintry winds blow and snow drives fiercely, if only he may be near his master’s side. He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer, he will lick the wounds and sores that come in encounter with the roughness of the world. He guards the sleep of his pauper master as if he were a prince. When all other friends desert he remains.
When riches take wings and reputation falls to pieces, he is as constant in his love as the sun in its journey through the heavens, friendless and homeless, the faithful dog asks no higher privilege than that of accompanying him to guard against danger, to fight against his enemies; and when the last scene of all comes and death takes the master in its embrace and his body is laid away in the cold ground, no matter if all other friends pursue their way, there, by his graveside, will the noble dog be found, his head between his paws, his eyes sad but open in alert watchfulness, faithful and true even to death.”
George Graham Vest (1830-1904)
Johnson County Circuit Court
Rest in peace Casey. We’ll always love and miss you.