Colby was my first dog. I never had dogs or cats growing up. Best I had was a hamster. Not that I didn’t love that hamster but it’s passing and burial under the lilac bush in the backyard certainly didn’t prepare me for the death my dog 25 years later. Colby made me a dog person. His bark, his excitement and later on his fat ass waddling up and down the stairs of our house. It’s funny how even the “bad” things like destroying toys, eating books and digging holes in the backyard become things you love and now miss.
We weren’t Colby’s first owners but we were his first family. He was in and out of the pound twice before we brought him home, and to this day I can’t give you one reason why anyone would have felt the need to give up Colby…but I’m glad they did. I’m not sure there is any better feeling than seeing my dog with his nose in air smelling…something…smelling the wind, food, the dog next door…or maybe just smelling the joy of life that only a dog can experience. Good gig if you can get it.
Colby is the reason we got another dog, Roxi. Colby needed a buddy, someone that could keep up with him and Roxi was the perfect companion, for us and him. She kept him young and certainly kept him around a few years longer. Colby started what is certain to be an endless cycle of dogs for the rest of my life.
And that cycle is interesting. To think that we willing invest our emotions into something we know is only going to live to be a teenager, and that’s if you’re lucky. It’s weird when you think about it. But then again, maybe it’s not…they say there is nothing more loyal than a dog, and that’s true – and that’s probably why we put so much love into something with a very short shelf life. We need that happiness when we walk through the door. That excitement, that joy. We deal with so much stupid shit everyday but that dog…that dog…he’s just happy. Happy to see you. Happy to be with you. You don’t get that from other people, that’s for sure. It’s a dog thing, I guess.
In the end, what got Colby is what will get the rest of us, if we’re lucky – nature. I wish Colby could have chosen his time to leave us but that card wasn’t in his hand to play. And there is nothing – nothing – more painful and heartbreaking than having to let go of something that you know never did anything but show you love. Even though I know it was the best choice for him and for us, you can’t help but feel like you never got to thank him for all the joy he created. Like you let him down.
Just one more walk around the block. One more toss of the tennis ball. One more romp in the snow. One more hole to dig. It’s shitty because those last moments should be things you remember forever but you really don’t know when they’ll be the last. I could have been a better friend but he couldn’t have been a better dog.
Always missing you, buddy. I love you.