In a bag in my drawer are Valentine cards for my husband including one from Rufus. A tradition Tom began years ago has Rufus delivering the silliest dog-related card available on any topic—birthdays, holidays, celebrations.
When I bought cards last week I found THE Rufus card. Standing in Target in the midst of women searching for cards for their kids or mothers-in-law or husband, I laughed out loud. Our goofy Wheaton Terrier would appreciate the joke if he could read. A smart dog who could perform many tricks, reading remained far outside our training goals. Rufus would appreciate the ear ruffling Tom would share after reading the card and the sounds of our laughter.
But Wednesday was a new day, one when awful things would happen and Thursday Rufus was no longer with us. When the end comes unexpectedly there are often unfinished bits and pieces left behind—a bowl of kibble untouched, an appointment that must be cancelled, an unused Valentine card. I knew the feeling—my brother walked out his front door one morning to walk the dog and died at the end of the driveway. But experience with the unexpected loss of a valued person or creature doesn’t make living in the aftermath easier.
So this is my farewell to the furry, energetic, fiercely loyal dog who made the last eight and a half years of our lives richer and more spontaneous. You were the life of the party at Sunset Beach on summer nights, the front door greeter, the best-looking walker in the neighborhood. It was petting your soft hair I thought about when I need a distraction at the doctor and your insane antics I dreaded when the doorbell rang. You helped me bridge the transition from kids in the house to many days of just me and the dog. Run with joy.