My dog isn’t a “good dog” in the traditional sense. He never listens unless you have a treat. He barks incessantly. A lot of furniture, shirts, and sporting goods are ruined because of him. He knows the exact spot on the bed that took up as much space as possible. Brady is not a “good dog,” but he is the best dog.
Speaking of life, I write this as he cancer begins to take it. His eyes are swelling shut. I am spending good parts of my day cleaning up his blood. Even when he is bleeding, on the brink of death, he wants me to pet him instead of wiping his “mess” up. That’s just the kind of dog he is. He puts pleasure before any kind of business. Play always comes first. I won’t have it any other way.
He makes a great, yet awful guard dog. If there is movement in the night, he barks. Loudly. However, I imagine that if somebody actually did break in, he would bark, then get his tennis ball, then ask for the robber to play with him. That’s who Brady is. Everybody’s best friend from minute one.
Having a very friendly dog comes in handy at times, especially when you’re a gangly, 135 pound awkward high schooler with zero confidence. That was me back during my senior year. I got rejected from prom twice. Was planning on just accepting that prom was not something that I would be able to experience. Yet, my dog, the cute, adorable, friendly dog he was, attracted a very sweet girl. A cheerleader, too! My dog broke the ice, we hit it off, and then next thing I knew, I had a prom date! What a wingman. I’ll always appreciate that.
Even though I appreciate him for that in a very selfish sense, it is mostly the unconditional love he shows that I love most. No matter what happens in life, I know I have him to go to. To pet. To love. That’s all he wants. All he wants is everybody to be at home to play with him. That is why he always tries to sit in my suitcase whenever I have to pack. That is why he barks incessantly whenever somebody tries to leave the house. He wants everybody home, and everybody in harmony. He just wants everybody to be happy.
That’s what I want for him, too. That is why I am willing to mop up his blood. That is why I am making sure he is comfortable, even as he slowly loses all senses and understanding of where he is, and who he is. However, I also know that he still deserves a few more days on this planet. He still enjoys pets. He still eats and drinks. He’ll still occasionally chase the ball. It isn’t time yet.
However, I know that it will be time very, very soon. At some point within the next few days, I know that it will be time. It will be time to let him go on to the next life. I want to be there as his soul slowly loses his body, and he can finally be at peace.
2 Timothy 4:6-7 comes to mind in this moment:
For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
Brady fought the good fight. He lived a full, fulfilling life full of love and belly rubs. His impact on my life, as well as so many others will last a lifetime. However, this race isn’t quite over yet. He is nearing the finish line, inching closer by the minute. He just is not there yet.
I really hope dogs go to heaven, because I suck at goodbyes. I don’t want this to be good-bye. I want this to be “see you later.” When it is time for me to enter the next life, I want him to be at the pearly gates of heaven waiting for me. Because every moment with him is just that. Heaven. And I know that heaven will have a wonderful new member.
So, I guess this isn’t goodbye. I really hope this is just “see you later.”