Posts Tagged ‘man’s best friend’

leroy33      14 years ago, before I ever had a dog, I saw dogs with a different point of view. I have allergies to them, so I could not have one. Then my sister had two Shih-Tzu’s, and I found out I could have one too. So 10 years ago we decided to get our own. We were going to call him Gizmo, but when the breeder told us that his father’s name was Leroy, we looked at each other and the name just fit. He would be Leroy as well.

Before all this, a dog was just a dog. So many people say it: it’s just a dog. Not a person, just a dog. But when you have had one yourself, especially one like Leroy (I am biased, I admit it), you find out they are so much more. You discover what unconditional love really is. You see them when you get home, to be greeted with a furiously wagging tail. How they get excited just seeing you come out of the bathroom. How the snuggle with you in bed. How they instinctually know when you are down or sick, and comfort you when you are.

Leroy has three other housemates, 2 other Shih-Tzu’s and a miniature Schnauzer. They are as close as these breeds can be, but in particular, his friend John is the closest to him. They spoon a lot, fall asleep together, sometimes fight, and just comfort each other. John has been licking Leroy’s ears for years, and often we would get home and Leroy would need a bath from all the saliva. It was just how they were.

Last Friday we found out Leroy was at the end of his life. This is our first experience as a family dealing with this. Everyone who has gone down this road knows the heartache. We had to make a decision based not on how we felt, but in the best interests of our friend. As terrible a burden as this was and is, Leroy could not make it himself. He needed us to step it up and remove his suffering. And we did. As a family. As his friends. For him.


It was a beautiful, painless way to go. The Springer Animal Hospital treated Leroy and us with the utmost care and dignity. And reassurance, which was paramount to assuage our guilt. How lucky and blessed we are to live in a place that allows us to humanely treat our fur babies.

Leroy’s last 5 days were filled with all kinds of farewell journeys, bringing him to places he loved, allowing him to smell whatever he wanted. I am still not sure who benefited most from this. Obviously we the living surely did benefit by being able to slowly let go of this most excellent of dogs. We posted regularly to Facebook this personal and painful journey. It’s how we are. Being able to do this was our way of letting him go, and while not for everyone, I strongly encourage it for those trying to navigate your loss, regardless of what it is.



And so, I get back to the phrase ‘it’s just a dog’. This dog never mistreated me. This dog never laughed at me. This dog didn’t care if I didn’t smell perfectly. This dog did not care if I was grumpy, or tired, or depressed. This dog didn’t care if I was naked, nor cared how I looked. This dog never stole from me, and this dog never stabbed me in the back. This dog loved me for who I was, for who we all were. Complete love. I am humbled to have been the recipient of such love.

Sleep well, Leroy, son of Leroy. Run around and look and smell and play and eat what you want. No leashes or collars for you. Keep us a place in your heart, for you are surely in ours. Help others get across the Golden Bridge. Be the awesome dog you always were. We will never forget you.