Good bye old friend, godspeedBy Rob Carrigan, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today, I am sorry to report, I lost one of my dearest friends.
A man's dog is THAT, of course, but you don't think of it happening — until it does.
Ella, and her sister Jenny, have been part of the family for at least a decade now. Ella, the hound dog of no compromise, the moose, protector, rock, and 'Business Manager,' left us this morning.
“Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring — it was peace.” said Milan Kundera.
I have struggled to find peace at times. This is one of those times.
More than 10 years ago Ella and her litter mate came into our lives shortly after the loss of another longtime dog friend, Jake.
There, of course was trouble at first, and chaos. Disagreement. Setting boundaries.
But once she had them all established, everyone knew precisely where they stood.
She added texture, light and shadow to our family's world — as dogs do — to all their families.
Hound dogs particularly, sometimes operate as pairs.
Because of that, I guess I worry, a lot, for Ella's sister Jenny.
The two, I am convinced, through a weird level of cooperation, would have taken on mountain lions, bears, badgers and devil himself. How many times have they smoothed edges with their bay in the woods? And shared the light and texture and shadows? How many crisis averted just by their presence and companionship?
Uncannily, the two of them likely would have prevailed in any fight. Jenny followed her lead, until now. She will, with a crazy eye, and an odd perspective, in her own way prevail, I'm sure.
Wilson Rawls, of course knew hound dogs.
In his wonderful book, "Where the Red Fern Grows" he writes:
“Men," said Mr. Kyle, "people have been trying to understand dogs ever since the beginning of time. One never knows what they'll do. You can read every day where a dog saved the life of a drowning child, or lay down his life for his master. Some people call this loyalty. I don't. I may be wrong, but I call it love - the deepest kind of love."
After these words were spoken, a thoughtful silence settled over the men. The mood was broken by the deep growling voice I had heard back in the washout.
"It's a shame that people all over the world can't have that kind of love in their hearts," he said. "There would be no wars, slaughter, or murder; no greed or selfishness. It would be the kind of world that God wants us to have - a wonderful world.”
Though I am a grown man, I am crying, like Rawls did over his pups.
“Some time in the night I got up, tiptoed to my window, and looked out at my doghouse. It looked so lonely and empty sitting there in the moonlight. I could see that the door was slightly ajar. I thought of the many times I had lain in my bed and listened to the squeaking of the door as my dogs went in and out. I didn't know I was crying until I felt the tears roll down my cheeks,” he said.
I want to find peace. I want Jenny to to learn to find her own independence. I want the texture and light, and shadow. I want Ella's memory to inspire us all.