Archive for August 16th, 2010

My Dog Theo

Monday, August 16th, 2010

A lot of things have happened over the last few weeks. I’ve spent quite a few hours on the road and I’ve had plenty of time to think about everything under the sun. In the course of the last two weeks I’ve driven through the Adirondacks to Utica, Inlet and Long Lake on separate occasions.

It’s amazing how the mind can center itself on one thing for long periods of time while you drive. It’s even more amazing how it can dash from thought to thought to thought with reckless abandon.

I’ve spent the majority of my “quiet” time thinking about my dog Theo. He isn’t well and it saddens me. I can’t complain because he has been the best friend anyone could ever ask for. He has tagged along behind me and never asked any questions. He has went for long rides with me and enjoyed the thrill of being able to stick his head out the window to let the breeze blow through his fur. He’s 15 and has lived a great life.

He has moved a handful of times over the last decade, but he always seemed happy when he settled into his new places. Sometimes it took a few weeks, but he always tried to make the best out of some inconvenient situations.

When I checked him in at the vet’s today I decided to wait outside until it was his turn to see the doctor. I could see his ears twitching and his legs shaking.  When he goes to the doctor’s office he always gets so nervous that he makes himself sick.

As we stood under the tree in the shade my thoughts dashed back to his childhood. I can remember the first day I got him like it was yesterday. I had spent the day in Massachusetts at an archery tournament. It wasn’t one of my better performances, but I tried my best as I always did.

On the way home I was a little depressed. All of that disappeared when I walked into the house and saw a black furry little dog that resembled a fox. He brought immediate joy to my world and he continued to do so for the next 15 years. He loved and still loves me unconditionally which is the greatest gift that anyone can ever receive. More times than not the only time many of us are loved unconditionally it is by our parents.

A dog is different. Theo has went on many rides with me. I’ve taken him for walks when I needed to be alone. I needed him to listen to me because I knew that he wouldn’t judge me or give any insight. He would simply walk beside me and listen. When I rested he would rest. He would wag his stubby tail and the happiness would shine from his face. His body language made it quite clear that he was content.

He stuck by my side when I went through hell and he laid beside me in bed many nights when I cried myself to sleep. Many times I reached over just to make sure he was close to me. When I felt his tiny head it gave me a sense of security and loyalty. He gave me things that I really needed. When the days seemed to be as dark as the nights he was always there. He didn’t give me lectures on what to do or how to handle certain situations. Instead, he just laid beside me and let me love him. Although I was at the bottom of the barrel I knew that he was happy. He was happy because I was loyal to him and he knew that I would look after him no matter where we went.

It was easy for me to see that he knew how bad I was hurting inside. If he could talk I’m positive that he would have offered me words of encouragement and support. However, he did more than enough by showing me in his own way that he understood. It’s something that only dog owners can truly understand.

I’ve tried my hardest to give him a good life although I’m sure I’ve failed from time to time. He’s like a child to me. I’ve had him since a month or so after he was born.

I’ll never forget the time he got sick in the back seat of the car in the Cumberland Farms parking lot. When I came out of the store and got back in the car I could smell something gross. Not sure what it was I began looking around. After a brief examination I found that he got sick, but it only lasted a few seconds. For some reason that experience created many laughs over the years. I haven’t laughed about that day in a long time, but today I quietly stood in the shade outside of the doctor’s office and laughed to myself. It was so long ago and he was so full of life. My life was good and so was his. We were both unsure of what would happen in the future, but we knew that we would always be together. Dog is certainly man’s best friend and this case is no different than any other.

Today was different than that day in the Cumberland Farms parking lot. Theo was breathing hard and the life that he was so full of has slowly been fading.

I can see that we probably won’t have much longer together and I feel selfish because I want to have him with me forever.

After our short visit we got in the car and headed home. In the old days he could jump into my truck and run around on the seat. Today he couldn’t even jump into the car at ground level. Instead, I gently picked him up and placed him on the seat. I patted him on the head and told him that I loved him. I couldn’t tell what he was thinking, but I do hope that he knows what I said to him.

When we got home I let him go out in the yard by himself. He roamed around as if it might be his last time. I had a very hard time suppressing my emotions. After a few minutes he dashed across the front lawn like old times. It brought a smile to my face until he suddenly lost his balance and rolled down the hill and into the vines. As he struggled to get up I could feel the pain inside. I reached down and helped him off his back. He ran back up the hill and tumbled down the front steps. He was trying so hard to do what he did when he was younger, but the more he tried the worse it got.

Eventually he stopped and I picked him up and brought him inside. I let him lay down while I went outside to go for a walk. I let my feet guide me as I tried dealing with the events of the day.

My best friend isn’t suffering, but he’s getting older by the minute. The only thing I can hope for is that I’ve made him as happy as he’s made me. I hope that I helped him when he wasn’t feeling well just as he helped me.

I’m not sure what the coming days, weeks, months or years might bring, but I know that Theo has been the best gift that I’ve ever received. He has helped me to be a better person. He has taught me to ride through life and quietly listen rather than talk. It’s amazing how much I’ve learned from my little buddy and he has never uttered a word. Thank you Theo for showing me the way.