I remember the day we first met as if it were yesterday. My daughter, then two-years-old, came into my bedroom very early in the morning and said as she rubbed her sleepy eyes, “It’s loud in my room.” It was at that moment that I heard the faint little cries coming from her room. I walked in and picked her metal toddler bed up and exposed my dog, Bailey, and her nine newborn puppies. What a sight! Chad, Kelsey, and I sat on the floor and inspected our treasure. Little did we know of the treasure that we had just unwrapped.
We didn’t pick Brutus for our puppy, he picked us. I fell in love with him the moment I saw him in that little squirming pile of puppies thirteen years ago. He was so beautiful and majestic looking. I placed him in my lap and loved on that little bundle of puppy with hair as black as coal. But my kids had their eye on another puppy to keep. She was a cute little girl with a white spot on her chin. But as the weeks passed and those puppies grew, it became very clear to everyone that Brutus had chosen us as his family. While the other puppies frolicked and played, Brutus was content to sit on our laps and get his belly rubbed. While the others pushed each other around, he let Kelsey push him in her stroller.
Brutus had found his home.
Brutus has welcomed two of my children home from the hospital. He was the first to greet them and we let him lick each one. (Did you know that the root meaning for a dog “licking his master” is taken from the same one that we use to describe how we “worship” God?) He has given his seal of approval on every pet that is in this house and has never harmed one of them, no matter if it was a rodent.
He has slept by my bedside every night, except for the times his presence was requested by some little boys who wanted a guardian to sleep with them after they watched a scary movie. He has greeted me every morning and was always excited to start his day with me. I referred to him as our “Boaz”, guardian of our family.
He has comforted me when I was sad and loved me when he shouldn’t have.
Over the past couple of months my precious Brutus has faded away. He became weak and sick, no longer able to enjoy his life. Even though it was hard for him last night, he made one last trip up the stairs and laid by my bedside, still desiring to fulfill his calling as our guardian and loyal friend. He paused at the top of the stairs to gain his strength and then found his spot next to me.
Brutus had this one thing that he would do that I always loved. You would catch him looking at you and if you stopped long enough to look back, he would put his feet in your lap and get his head as close to your face as possible. Then, he would lick you as gently as he possibly could. It was if he was saying, “Man, I just love you to pieces.” On Friday, Brutus gave me his last lick. He barely had the strength to stand long enough, but I think he wanted me to see that his unconditional love for me had not ran out. I think that was his good-bye.
I said good-bye to my faithful friend today. His illness took the best of him and he had nothing left to give. He looked lost and unhappy with his life. I think he knew that he couldn’t care for us anymore. He laid his head in my lap and drifted off to sleep in the vet’s office as I praised my God that He thought so highly of me to give me this precious friend for thirteen years. I cuddled him and held him until he was gone. Then I wrapped him in a blanket and brought him home. He started his life with us and here he will stay.
I am peaceful with our decision to let him go. He is no longer hurting or suffering. But I dread walking up those stairs to my bed alone tonight without my “shadow” following behind. I will miss my morning wake up and greeting. I will miss my Brutus.
Good-bye, my gentle giant.
Grieving Groovy Girl