Today was such a day. Our oldest and newest dog, Abner (King Abner, he was about the length of a ruler), turned in his collar. He's running free, barking directions to the big and the mighty. Too many times I've made that trip to the vet's office with a loved and loving pet. Sad as it is at the time, I'm grateful to give this last gift before pain is unbearable.
But, as is usually God's will, timing is everything. We needed him as much if not more than he needed us. We needed to see what old age and gumption can do for a soul. Abner truly did rule. He did not know defeat; even at his end he was fighting. He nuzzled close to let me know it was OK to let him go - his victory here was a new start.
He was a little guy with mighty aspirations and that's probably what kept him going as long as it did. Never quitting nor, like any dog, knowing his own size. He was the first to take on the old fire hydrants we had installed for the boy dogs.
There was little about him that would be considered gentle unless it was in his way, on his time. He would boss any of around and then would determine where he was to settle and for how long. We all waited and then took our places accordingly. When it was time for "out" or food or bed we didn't need a clock; we only needed Abner's voice to ring out the orders.It made them his own more than once, tottering over to the fenceline and back just to prove a point. He spent just one Christmas with us but he loaded up on soft treats and new bedding and that was just the beginning of the gift-giving. We showered him with soft blankies, a new dish, a new collar, puppy pads, his own space, and as much love as we could cram into each and every day, marveling at our good fortune for being able to care for him and for having other bigger and younger dogs who understood his frailty.
Animals get it. They get life and living together and what is important. They aren't caught up in all that we are or have or do. Tonight as I talked to our other dogs (yes) it dawned on me how much they will miss Abner. Their world is right here, the (now) five of them and the two of us. OF COURSE they will miss him. He was such a part of every day, every routine. And maybe that's why we love them all. They are the every day, the every routine. They are what keeps us grounded and semi-normal. They instill and reinforce our faith.
They can't read. They speak only DOG. They can't do a lot that we can do. Good. They do love. They do relate. They do comfort and care. Great.
Wow. Do I have a lot to learn? Lucky me. This place is loaded with great teachers. God knows what He's doing and just how to work in me.