Friday, August 17, 2007

In Loving Memory: Amos

On August 15th (Keith's birthday), one of Sparkey's oldest friends passed from this life to the next. May he rest in peace, and may his loving family find comfort in a life well lived.

Amos lived just down the hill from us from 1994 to 1998 or so before we moved to new environs a few miles away. Back then, Sparkey being a rambling young man, we would usher him out the back door when he was ready, all alight with a young dog's excitement for adventure. "Go see Amos!" we would say "Stay to the side!" Off he would excitedly bound, over the hill and down the semi-rural street. From neighborhood reports, he would stop at various homes for treats along the way, but he would generally end up at Amos' house where a large yard bordering a lush New England forest would await their playful and curious selves.

A few weeks ago, Mary and Tina and I visited Amos and his loving human mother, paying our respects to one of Sparkey's beloved peers who was struggling with cancer in his front leg. Tina and Amos distractedly checked one another out as older dogs will, and subsequently sat in the grass, their hips inches apart (similarly to how she would often sit with Sparkey). We brought special treats for Amos (and some for his Mom, as well) and enjoyed some nice wet kisses from an old canine man who reminded us so much of our Sparkey. It was lovely to see them both, and we knew that this might very well be the last time we saw Amos in the flesh. With Sparkey's eleven-month anniversary imminent, the poignancy of that moment was not lost on either of us. Perhaps Tina and Amos communicated about this in their own way as well, making a silent deal to meet at The Rainbow Bridge and romp with Sparkey and their other friends when they have both left the Earth behind.

Speaking of The Rainbow Bridge, I now picture Amos' spirit body crossing that great divide, entering a heaven that only dogs can know. Waiting on the other side of that heavenly road is none other than Sparkey, glowing as his most healthy and strong self, ready to welcome Amos to a well-deserved hereafter.

"You served well, my friend," Sparkey says. "You served the family, helped to raise the children, attended to your Mistress, and now it's time to rest and play. Follow me!"

Off they bound across verdant hills, flowering trees waving in the warm breeze, as Amos wonders at his renewed, pain-free, and youthful body. Food and water aplenty are available for the asking, and friends old and new greet them at every turn. Amos and Sparkey, reunited once again.

Rest well, Amos. You were---and are---so loved and revered.


Thursday, August 02, 2007

Eleven Months

The dogwood bush on Sparkey's grave, thoughtfully and lovingly purchased and planted by our son Rene, shines when the sunlight strikes its leaves. Sparkey's little corner of the Earth is like a little corner of Heaven, with dappled sunlight, towering white pines, rhododendrons, annuals and perennials, the small marsh beyond. Not fifteen feet from our porch, we overlook his gravesite daily, and often pause by this lovely corner of our humble piece of land.

Eleven months after his death, I regard his grave with a mixture of sadness, gratitude, and nostalgia. A part of me wonders how I can miss a dog---an animal---so much, so very deeply. I also find myself wondering if his body is completely decomposed now. Has it completely returned to the earth, or are there vestiges of his physical body still remaining? Would there be any ability to know that he was gently wrapped in a beautiful, soft, green and brown cloth, or has that too become soil once again? To some these thoughts are morbid. To me, they are a normal process of accepting his physical absence, the fact that we put his body in the earth while it was still warm, each of us taking turns climbing into the grave for a final goodbye.

One might ask how an animal could become such an integral part of one's soul. One might also ask how it could ever be otherwise.


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Missing Bob, Loving Tina

Tomorrow is the 11 month anniversary of Sparkey's heart wrenching passing. It feels like yesterday yet the intense pain has eased greatly. But I do miss the old boy, his always rarin' to go spirit, his beautiful Woody pumpkin colors and big wet nose, but especially his expressive, innocent eyes, always waiting for the magic words, "walk outside?".

And in Tina's long summer days alone, I think she misses him even more than we do, but she is well adjusted and spoiled with so much love and affection (and we keep high quality treats comin as her favorite word is "treat?"')

Memories of Sparkey will be with me for the rest of my life, images sketched permanently into the recesses of my heart. He will always be our boy.