As I begin typing this, our 14-year-old black Lab, Charlie, is on his bed in the kitchen. He is very weak and in the last stages of his journey here.
I like to say he and our son, Clay, were puppies together. They both came into our lives within the same year. As our son grew, he thought he was a puppy, too. He would try to drink from the dog's water bowl and chase Charlie around the yard. "PUPPAH! PUPPAH!...T'Mere Puppah!"he would shout, with toddler glee.
One time we went fishing out at the lake. Luckily, the stroller made it down the hot, dusty path to the fishing spot. Charlie had a great time learning to swim and running around doing puppy things all day. After a long and tiring day, we headed back to the car. I stopped to pick something up that had fallen off of the stroller and before I could start again, Charlie had crawled into the storage compartment beneath the stroller! I guess he figured, "if that puppy doesn't have to walk, why should I?" He rode the rest of the way down there.
When our son was about 3, just after sunset, he and I were lying on some cushions on the floor...playing and talking. Clay looked out the glass doors and saw Charlie out in the yard looking back at us. He turned to me and said, "Mom?.... look how Charlie soaks into the night....and his eyes shine like stars." I was dumbfounded by this poetic statement from such a little guy.
Charlie has been a faithful friend over these many years. He has been with us on our walks...where his boy was in a stroller, then a wagon, a scooter and now a skateboard. Clay is just starting high school, a new journey for him and us. He is our only child and we are really feeling how quickly time is passing now. As we learn to let go in many ways, we know that Charlie will always be with us wagging his big, old tail.
Soon, he will soak into the night... one last time...and he will be a shining star in so many of our wonderful memories.
Well, evening is upon us and once again, this old dog is full of new tricks. He wagged his tail at the mention of dinner and (with a lot of help) is now outside trying to eat. That's a Lab for ya! I'll keep you posted.