Good Dog

Christmas 2007

Christmas 2007

If I had known how sick you were, I would have stayed home. If I had known those hours were your last, I would have made you the chocolate cake I promised you for when that day came. Like most deaths, yours was sudden, unexpected, crushing coming on a day when everything had been normal, happy.


I believe that God gives us these happiest moments to ease us into the grief forthcoming because for some situations, there is no preparation. There is only trusting that God is in control.

To most, you were just a dog; to me, you were my best friend. And no one really understood that I loved you better than I even liked most people.

Marco 2008

Marco 2008

In thirteen years, you saw me through some of the best and the worst years of my life. And that one day, I rubbed your ears with the door half open, me stretched wide, you on your hind legs, feet upon my 8 month pregnant belly, toddler grabbing my other hand urging me onto the porch, you perked your ears and listened as I said, “Be home soon.”  Only I didn’t come back soon.  Not even that day. Not for many days.  But you waited.  You waited through the days that turned to weeks, and weeks that turned into months.

flowers for headstones

flowers for headstones

No one really believed I would survive the accident, but somehow you knew when I came home minus a pregnant belly and a toddler, it wasn’t the accident I had to survive.  It was the grief and the loss and the nosiest of people that needed fodder for their gossip of whether I was sane and whole – or not. It was the surviving of the silence of a house no longer full, the busy that no longer existed within its walls, the navigating of endless time and nightmare induced sleepless nights.

And when alone I cleaned out rooms and sorted clothes and toys and baby gifts unopened, there you were constant by my side, the tangibleness of Jesus.

watching rabbits play in the Nature Bubble (what we call our dining room)

watching rabbits play from the Nature Bubble (what we call our dining room)

You were a perfect example of Jesus in my life.  Oh, if only I could have had your heart, your faithful spirit. Your loyalty and kindness were unparalleled. You were so in tune with me, you knew when I was sick often before I realized it myself and stayed by my side in constant vigil – even as I would sleep, you sitting beside the bed, head upon my arm resting against a faint pulse beating slow.Of late and often I wonder, if the flu I had the week before was the beginning of your demise. As feeble as you were, for days you lay on my feet, on the sofa between resting and fretting.Not once, not ever did you ever elude to my brokenness or my worthlessness; you never said I was no good. You never yelled at me, never called me a nasty name, never threatened to leave me. You were the perfect confidant and never barked one secret I told you. You never dashed a dream or called me crazy. And when you could no longer tag along on my excursions, you waited patiently upon my return and never chastised me for staying away too long. You were just happy I was home, happy I existed. I cried a gazillion tears onto your black velvet ears and never once did you become impatient. You understood me in a way few ever tried to. How can a love like that ever be replaced?

Tobias on the ride home

Tobias on the ride home

I wish you were here to meet Tobias. He is only 7 weeks old. I chose his name because it means God is good.

And we both know HE is and we could always say it, “Yes. God is good.  All the time.”

On Tobias’ second night here, the owl, who has not been here since the night before you died ,returned. He hooted a lament for you, while Tobias played in the garden.Like the good dog you were, he sat still and listened as if out of respect for my broken heart and in honor of the paws he has to fill. Intently he peered into the darkness of the woods.

ready to chase black bears

ready to chase black bears


What I know is there will never be another you, and the only reason Tobias is here, is because you are not.  

But he brings joy in my sadness.  He licks away my tears and doesn’t seem jealous that they are shed over you.

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helping build a fire

He also pees on the floor, steals my socks, chews my shoes. He loves your duck and thinks it must go wherever he goes.  He sleeps on your brown fuzzy blanket in your same spot.  He tries so hard to carry in kindling just like you always did – he already knows the importance of a good fire and cup of tea.  He is patient during quiet time as I pour over the Bible and my journal. When I rub his ears, he groans a deep satisfying moan and flops down happy on my feet, mostly I think to chew on my toes.

Some thought I should wait before I got another dog, but I disagree. I know you would have too. Even at birth, there was a dog laying beide the cradle. I think it is why you hung on as long as you did – you knew I needed a vigilant protector, a constant friend. I know in my heart, you feel relief to know he is already honing all those fine qualities that made you a great dog.

preparing to drool....

preparing to drool….

Still every night, I go to bed with a stomachache because you aren’t here to eat the other half of my dinner. You know how I hate to throw food away.  And the one night I actually do remember to spoon less onto my plate, I know I will look down and see him in your place, patiently waiting, quietly drooling for the other half.


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6 Responses to “Good Dog”

  1. martha peacock says:

    what a beautiful tribute to a wonderful companion.

    • Brenda Hamilton says:

      Your story touched my heart!!

    • Elizabeth says:

      Thanks Martha. He was a great dog. I don’t think there will ever be another one like him. He was special and unique and certainly created and sent by God just for me. Just another perfect example of how God’s provision in all facets of our lives is exactly what we need.

  2. Ann says:

    He had his mother’s heart and faithfulness. Mae took care of me too. I know what he meant to you and I am sorry you lost him. This was a beautiful way to pay tribute to Marco.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Yes, he did have Mae’s heart and learned well from his mama how to be a great dog. I miss Mae and watching her chase butterflies – even when she got old, she had the energy for that.

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