Our family stood on a huge threshold this past week.
As our family dog approached old age I continually wondered how we would leave us. Would he get really sick and have to be rushed to the vet? Would he die in his sleep one night or just never wake up from one of his many naps during the day?
In reality, his body just gave out on him and we knew it was time.
My husband had owned dogs growing up but Boudreaux was my first dog. People scoff at this but I don’t consider myself a dog person. My mother was terrified of dogs so we didn’t have one and some of her fear transferred to me. For years I came up with excuses as to why we couldn’t get one. We’re a military family and we usually rented homes that often had pet restrictions so finding a new rental every year or two would be that much harder. Moving was hard enough and was logistically difficult with three children, much less a large animal. We often didn’t have fenced in yards. The list went on.
I was the meanest mom in the world. I finally promised to get a dog if we ever got to the point where we weren’t renting and moved into a base house that was large enough with a big enough yard.
In 1999 we moved to Barksdale AFB and I ran out of excuses.
My boys finally got their dog and it changed our family. Most importantly, it changed those three boys in ways I’m only now beginning to understand. He was always there for them and for all the reasons people love their dogs….loyalty, unconditional love, someone warm to sleep with, a listening ear that never judges or tells your secrets, and complete acceptance of who you are.
Those were things I couldn’t give my sons because I’m human. Only a beloved dog could fit the bill.
On Boudreaux’s last day we took him for a walk in a wagon, as he could no longer manage more than a few yards without falling down. A promise of spring was in the air and he was happy to have the wind in his face and the sun warming him. It was our goodbye to him. One last walk, one last stick to carry, one last hour of delicious outdoor smells.
He gave us fourteen and a half years of love and shedding….the two things he did best.
This blog and the following video is for the three boys who loved him back. They become men during Boudreaux’s lifetime with his help. He will remain forever in their memories and their hearts.