Goodbye, to our sweet boy

Lately, I’ve been thinking about what it means to be a friend. Like most thoughts, it was prompted by an external force, but more about that later. The dictionary defines a friend as “a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection”. A simple statement with profound meaning and what’s more, a profound feeling. I work in information technology and sometimes have to write programs. A line of code or definition can have profound meaning singularly, but when you string a few together, the outcome can be monumental. That’s how I think about friendship, a few simple traits strung together may not seem like much, but put into action they can help create a perfect bond.

I had an amazing friend who makes me want to share my thoughts on friendship with everyone I meet. He was often forced to live on the fringe in many societal settings because of the way he looked. But he never allowed it to change how he treated others. You see, he understood that being a friend meant letting bias and fear wash away even when it sometimes hurts, and to just keep letting your very best shine through.

Being present was another gift he mastered. Being present may be a bit overused, but we all understand what it’s like to hold someone’s full attention. The look in someone’s eyes when you know their focus is completely on you can be one of the most comforting feelings in the world. The times when you just hang out, never exchanging a word, watching the big game, and just enjoying one another’s company. That was Goose and I.

As a friend, he served as my teacher. He taught me that the small things don’t matter and that letting small things go can be the biggest propellant to your happiness. He taught me that keeping an open mind and an open heart will provide you with endless possibilities in regards to the things that really matter. He taught me to have a friend you have to be a friend.

He not only was a friend and teacher to me, but also to the foster dogs that lived in our home. He was the most patient trainer, playmate, and friend. As a trainer, he was an example for other fosters to follow. He taught them sit. He taught them not to bite too hard. He taught them to enjoy each and every day. As a playmate, he was goofy, playful, and loving. As a friend (yes I openly share him), I hope he was able to convey to the foster dogs what it means to be a friend and have a friend, through what could certainly be an arduous journey to find their forever home.

Some of you don’t know me, so you may not know my friend is a dog by birth, but I assure you the word dog doesn’t do him justice. Probably even fewer of you know he’s my foster failure. And he was one of my greatest failures. My fiancé and I agreed to take him in for heartworm treatment in 2008, but when treatment was complete we couldn’t bear to let him leave.

I didn’t know that I would be tested on all of the lessons he taught me and so many others so soon. You see, my friend was diagnosed with cancer. I can’t explain the feeling of overwhelming sadness when we got the news, but remarkably he kept on being a best friend when I needed it. You see best friends are a blessing in our lives and provide us with the comfort we need most. As my friend battled for his life, I tried to be as strong as possible and to provide the comfort he needed. If our roles were reversed, I know he would not have faltered.

There was a brief moment when I thought maybe we should take a break to concentrate solely on my friend, but that isn’t what Goose and I decided to do. He made it clear that we all needed to keep going. We needed to enjoy the grace brought to us by fellowship with friends and family. We needed to continue to build new friendships and foster Hope so that others may share the bond that Goose and I did, and still do.

So I did what best friends do and I hope I did it well. I was there when he needed me. I certainly spoiled him every occasion I could. When people looked at him with pity, I stood by his side and told them what a fighter he was and how his big Goose smile was still lighting up each and every day of our lives. When he was having his worst week, I carried him where he needed to go, cooked gourmet meals for him, and cleaned up his accidents with a grateful heart and thankfulness that he was still here. The small things that maybe stressed me a bit before, began to fade away as I enjoyed each and every day I had with him.

Goose gave it all he had through radiation and chemo treatments. He enjoyed every warm, sunny day that we were blessed with in the middle of winter. A couple of weeks before we said goodbye, we went on one last beautiful walk. His smile was as bright as the sun that was shining that day. I didn’t know that a few weeks later, we would hold his head in our hands and let him go. We said goodbye to our best friend, best foster brother, and best dog I’ve ever known.

DSC_1019

I hope that I did him justice as his friend. I hope that for every smile and happy day that he gave me, I gave him the same in return. The day after he left was one of the most difficult of my life. I wanted to talk to him again and to tell him: My friend, today you are gone from this world and I miss you dearly. I’m not sure if you knew we were with you in the end. It was heartbreaking for us to let you go. We love you and we miss you in all the small things in our day. You were a part of us that died. Your companionship, happiness, and love will go unmatched as far as I’m concerned. Your outlook on life will be one that I refer to often as a measuring stick against how I treat people in this world. I love you Goose and I hope where ever you are that you can feel how much. Goodbye my friend. My best friend.

During his difficult journey, so many asked about him, sent well-wishes, and provided treats, toys, and gifts for him. You made his last Christmas one of his best and the love he felt filled his heart and ours with gratitude. Thank you for being our friend and for bringing joy to our boy’s life.

To see our sweet boy in his role as the greatest foster brother, please take a look at his Album: Goose the Great.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.