You may have seen my parents' dog Wally make an appearance here occasionally. Sad to say he passed away yesterday - he was 84 in dog years. Diagnosed with cancer last May he enjoyed one last glorious summer.
Wally was supposed to be a gift for my sister but he became a big part of all our lives. My dad's biggest fan, my mom's protector and my sister's bed hog/cover stealer. He even tolerated two crazy pugs. We forgave the serious mess he made when he drank water and forgot that he never was a good gun dog, cowering in corners even when we tooted our horns on New Years Eve. He was a good dog.
I cannot think of another dog that enjoyed life like Wally. He came with us on our beach vacations, got his own dish of ice cream at the Igloo (then mooched everyone's leftover cones), ran through the mountains, opened Christmas presents, chowed down on homemade meals with gravy, and put the fear of God into every groundhog in a five mile radius. We lost count of how many times people stopped us when we were out and about and told us what a good looking dog he was.
Lots of people wonder why dogs don't live longer. But I think it's they way they cram a lifetime of joy into less than two decades that endears them to us. They always look with eager eyes, not yet weary of this world.
You don't imagine your life without your pet and then one day they aren't there, lying in their spot on the living room floor or sitting at the corner of the dining room table looking for handout. He will be hugely missed.