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  • Writer's pictureKathy Rumsey

Father’s Day sentiments

Updated: Oct 10, 2018

I came across this picture a few years ago of my Dad and I, along with our dog, Max. 

I'm not sure how old I was in that picture, but I'm guessing somewhere around 7.  Max was my best friend and constant companion.  My mom never needed us kids to tell her where we were going, she could simply look out the front door. Because whoever's house we were at, Max would be sitting at the end of their driveway, waiting to escort us home.

Max died when I was 11 years old.  I can remember waking up that morning and overhearing my parents talking about him.  He was sick, they were sure, and they were discussing getting him to the vet once it opened.  No doubt they hadn't planned on me overhearing the conversation, and they definitely didn't plan on me flying out of my room accusing them of discussing killing my dog.  They did their best to justify their conversation while I asked where Max was and promptly flew out the door looking for him.  Once I saw him, even I could tell something was really wrong.  My parents wisely sent me away for the day with a neighbor -- I got to ride in a Firebird (which in 1980 was about as exciting as it gets for an 11-year-old) to go get ice cream.

I came home later that day to learn that Max, indeed, was so sick that he needed to be put down.  I was inconsolable, but my parents were pretty stoic about it.  They never got another dog (try as my siblings and I might).  I never understood not getting another dog until about 20 years ago, when I had to put down one of my own dogs.  I had decided that day as sat on the floor of the vets office holding him as he took this last breath that I would never go through that kind of heartache again -- it was just too much to bear.  I cried every day over the loss of that dog, I just missed him so much.  One morning, as I stood at the kitchen window looking out at the backyard and crying, my husband stood next to me and said: "You're a dog person, and I really think you should consider getting another dog".  It was the realization I needed to hear, said at the right time.  I love dogs, and I have had several more wonderful dogs since having that conversation in my kitchen that morning.

It's still heartbreaking every time I have to say goodbye to one of my pets, it really doesn't ever seem to get easier, but I do believe that all the love and joy and fun they bring to our lives makes the heartbreak worth it.

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