I’ve spent the day working and looking up at a picture on my wall. It’s of my dog, Harley. Harley crossed the Rainbow Bridge a year and a day ago, and not a day goes by that I don’t think about him. He was a special dog, and I loved him dearly.
He was the kind of dog that waited until all the other dogs were done begging for attention, and then he’s tug on your shirt for his turn. He never wanted to play fetch, but enjoyed taking long lazy walks. And he rarely barked. When he did, it was a shockingly deep bark, especially for a dog his size. He was just starting to really grow before he became ill. I often wonder how big he would be now.
His place on the bed was either in the small of my back with his head on my hip, or with his head flopped over my shoulder, nose almost poking me in the ear. His hot dog breath used to drive me bonkers. I’d shrug him away, only to awaken several hours later with him in the same spot.
He was pretty much a loner. When all the other dogs would be snuggled up against each other, or playing together, Harley would often be off to himself. Or curled up in a ball under my desk. I think that’s why I had such an affinity for him, he marched to the beat of his own drummer, just like me. If he followed any of the people in the house, it was me he followed. If he was in one of his stubborn moods, I was the only one who could get him to behave. I was his people.
One of the biggest regrets of my life was not being with him during his final moments. I had gone out to get him more meds, and by the time I got back, he was gone. From the looks of things, I think I missed his passing by mere seconds. I scooped him up, told him I loved him and cried over him for what seemed like forever, but was really maybe 15 minutes. Saying goodbye to him was agonizing. Before we removed him from the house, I snipped some of his fur. It sits on the mantel, in a small vase.
I want to believe that Harley knew how much I loved him. He was special. He was unique. He was beautiful. He was mine.
But not for long enough.
I hope you’re frolicking, happy and free on the other side of the Bridge, Harley, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t wish for just one more day with you. Just one more chance to shrug you off my shoulders. Just to feel you tug on my shirt one more time…
RIP, my friend. Until we meet again…