I’m talking about Big Boy, my German Sheppard mix. If you want to see a picture of him you can look at a photo album I put up on my Facebook page.
I had decided to never post a picture of one of my dogs until they had died. I made that decision some time ago. I don’t know why I did, I just did. And today Big Boy went and got himself hit.
We have – had three dogs. Freckles, the Beagle and the only dog we actually purchased. Big Boy we took in and Hounde we took in. We didn’t so much take her in as are just taking care of her. But Big Boy we took in. I didn’t know his background but I know he knew his commands and was basically just the sweetest dog you’ve ever met. What I liked about him was he would be aggressive when he felt like he had to be but other than that he was, as I liked to say, the bestest Big Boy in the world.
He was just a stray I took in almost two years ago. I wrote a piece at the time about how the little dog he was hanging around with got killed and I decided to take him in. I could never really stop him from roaming but I tried, and I really thought that if there was a dog that could get always with it, it was him.
I looked forward to watching him grow old and I prayed that he would be able to die in his sleep years from now. I imagined that I would be there, resting his head in my lap.
I daydreamed about being a successful author and mentioning him in interviews, and there would be a picture of me at my computer and him at my feet.
Not that I didn’t know it was possible he could get hit. He had had a couple of close calls as I walked him and had developed a bad habit of chasing cars. But he was so smart and there was something mystical about him. He had a peacefulness to him that gave me peace and I admit I felt safer with him around.
I had to get up several times during the night to let him in and out of the house so that he could go on the back deck and bark; and he had me up at first light to take him for a good, long walk and was anxious by 3 p.m. to get out for his second walk, but I can’t really complain about that since I was grateful for the exercise.
I always thought I would feel it if something was to happen to him, and I did. He didn’t usually leave the yard, at least doing the day, but when I went out to check on him this morning he was gone. A few hours later I decided to ride out and look for him. I expected to find him bouncing around in the woods up on the unpaved part of the road we live on where I usually walk him. I figured he would run out after the car like he had before. When I didn’t find him there I thought about riding up the busy road that fronts out house. I was sitting at the intersection thinking about it when I saw him. He was just across the road from our house. I didn’t even hear the car that hit him. I always thought I would.
When we got back from our morning walk, I had given him three new tennis balls to play with. He loved to chase and play with a tennis ball. He claimed all tennis balls as he own and guarded them as such. I had been planning to hold onto them until the summer but then I decided for some reason that there was no reason to hold onto them so I throw them out. I threw each and each he chased down happily. Last time I saw him he was sitting in the backyard with one of them in his mouth.
I know I shouldn’t mourn too much over a dog. Someone out there just loss his mother, father, brother, sister, child. Someone just found out they are going to die, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. They have reason to mourn. I know I shouldn’t cry, but I can’t help it. I know I shouldn’t wait to hear him bark at the backdoor to get in, but I am. I was wondering this morning as we walked back home if I should have taken him in … if maybe had I turned him over to animal control he would have been adopted by someone who would have really been able to take great care of him and give him a better life than I could give him. I comfort myself in knowing that when he died he knew he was loved. Deeply. He knew that there was someone who would scratch him behind the ear, and comb him and scratch his belly and find that good spot to make his leg run. Maybe that was enough.
Now I’m left with my own questions:
Is God talking to me? Was this God’s way of telling me I’m about to get a regular 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. type job? Freckles is used to staying in his cage and can do it five days a week but Big Boy hated being locked in the house even long enough for us to go to church on Sunday. Being locked up every day would have driven him crazy. Maybe it means my time on this earth is almost over? I had always worried nobody would take care of him if something happened to me. Now – well, that’s not anyone’s worry anymore.
I don’t know. I was reading the other day that we should just accept God’s Will and be happy with it, and I told myself that was what I would do from now on. So maybe it this is a test. If so, I guess I’ve already failed. I keep asking, why?