Thursday, June 30, 2011

saying goodbye

It never is very easy, is it.

Tonight we sent our faithful dog Omaha on to his next journey. Under the shade of the maple out back by the gardens, with a clean, brushed coat and a belly full of meatballs, we hugged him and kissed him and cried into his fur as he laid his head to sleep in our hands. Words can't express the appreciation I have for our family vet (who has really become more family than vet) who guided us through our dog's care to the end. He sent Omaha on his way tonight, saying "alright buddy, go exploring."

Far be it for me to try to add to the sayings of how deeply a dog's companionship can shape our lives. Omaha was the first dog that was mine, coming home with me a small pup thirteen summers ago. I am grateful for the adventures and travels we shared, the stories to be remembered, his pups that carry on his likeness. What I am perhaps most grateful for is the lessons he taught me about love and patience.

He was a part of my life long before babies and a husband entered the scene, but he met his growing family (and diminished attention) with joy. Omaha taught us patience in parenting. When the little ones taunted him and pulled at the paws of this large dog who had to be muzzled and held down just to trim his nails, he never so much as growled at them. He would calmly turn away, often licking them affectionately like a litter of rowdy pups.

If this dog, who shared no blood ties and knew no words to communicate with these babes could receive them so patiently, then surely I as their parent could model the same.

It was peaceful and calm, this ending of his, though it still leaves a hole that I'm told will mend. So long, Omaha. Hope the exploring is good.


Anita Vaughan said...

This quote from one of my favorite poets, George Gordon, Lord Byron, seems very fitting for Omaha:
"Near this spot are deposited the remains of one who possessed Beauty without Vanity, Strength without Insolence, Courage without Ferocity, and all the Virtues of Man, without his Vices. This Praise, which would be unmeaning Flattery if inscribed over human ashes, is but a just tribute to the Memory of Boatswain, a Dog." - "Inscription on the Monument of a Newfoundland Dog"

Wishing you peace and the comfort of happy memories.

Lindsay said...

Oh, dear, you brought tears to my eyes. It is amazing how our dogs can be so central to our lives. Omaha was so blessed to have a beautiful passing surrounded by his loved ones. Rest in peace, Omaha, and may you find peace, Amanda.

Amanda Greco Holmes said...

Thank you for the kind words. I do love that quote, Anita. I stand in awe of how truly pure a dog's love is. And yes, Lindsay, I suppose we could not have chosen a better passing for him. It does help to ease it all.

C. Spencer Beggs said...

Chase some squirrels in the afterlife for us, buddy.

Anonymous said...

My heart goes out to your family, Amanda, with the loss of your beautiful dog. What a blessing to have him in your life all of those years. Chris Howard-Swan