Another day; another shooting. One group of people screams at a another. It’s hard to tell the difference between nice folks and the other kind. It’s difficult to know what to believe.

She lost her best friend. It happened yesterday.

He was a good boy. Fourteen years old. He was always beside her. When she ate supper. When she watched television. When she used the restroom. He even slept on the floor near her bed.

He was a Labrador, and then some. The biggest in his litter of twelve. His shoulders were wide, his neck was a column of muscle.

He wasn’t a playful dog, but he was happy. He was gentle. He liked children, chewing, lying in the sun, he loved tomatoes. He enjoyed walks, but only short ones. He seemed to go crazy over “Downton Abbey.”

He could eat more than any dog she’d ever seen. He was a garbage disposal with a tail.

When she worked nights in a commercial kitchen, he waited for her to get home. She’d arrive after work, he would be seated at the front door, squealing.

She would bring him things from work. The spoils of her occupation. Fish guts, lamb fat, chicken gristle, and sacred ground beef.

And he loved her for it.

But she owed it to him—and then some. He’d seen her through hard times. He knew her emotions like a roadmap. He knew when she was sad, happy, or angry before anyone else did.

When her father died, he crawled on a sofa and placed his hundred-pound body in her lap. It almost crushed her.

“I love you,” is what he was actually saying. Which is the only thing dogs know how to say—except: “Feed me right now or I’ll poop in the kitchen.”

He was with her when she lost her job. He was with her when she moved houses. He was with her when she passed a class, certifying her as a teacher. He was with her when her mother was ill.

Yesterday, she took him to the vet. She sat beside him for a few minutes before the doc came. His eyes were glassy, his back legs didn’t work. He was in pain.

Decisions were made. They hooked an IV to his leg. The fluid went into his veins. He fell asleep in her arms. His mouth slung open. His eyes became empty.

She didn’t cry. Not at first. It wasn’t until she was on her way home that it hit her. At a stoplight, she found herself in a sort of daze when she noticed black hair on the seat. Dog hair.

She had to pull over just to keep from wrecking the car.

Sometimes, I wonder if mankind is cursed. Because living hurts. Nothing lasts. Good things die too soon. Bad things last too long.

And just when you think things can’t get worse, the television proves you wrong.

Another day; another shooting. One group of people screams at a another. It’s hard to tell the difference between nice folks and the other kind. It’s difficult to know what to believe.

Some believe the world is turning into fertilizer, and they have every right to believe that. For all I know they might be right—I’m not smart enough to tell them they’re wrong.

But I don’t believe it. I won’t. I can’t.

Not as long as dandelions still cover highway ditches, and clover still peppers Tennessee mountainsides. Not as long as whippoorwills still flutter in treetops and make sounds I enjoy.

Not as long as the sun still comes up, and the moon still glows. Not as long as babies keep growing, and mothers keep loving.

These things, I believe, are proof of something. You might even call them miracles. I don’t know where they come from, but they come from somewhere. Everything comes from somewhere.

Maybe they come from above the clouds. Maybe from the other side of here. Maybe from a place of cherubs, rivers, and perfect prairies. Wherever this place is, it’s the same place dogs come from.

And I believe it’s where they return.

Goodbye, Gurgle.

22 comments

  1. Steve Welch - May 24, 2018 6:04 am

    Sean, thanks once again for picking me up. I just pushd my 90 year old daddy in his wheelchair past the casket of my mom after close to 500 people came through the line at the funeral home in a little SC town to thank him and my mom for over 40 years of ministry as a pentacostal preaher and his wife. Over 1000 funerals, God knows how many marriages and child dedications. Stories of them giving the cash in the envelope from the funeral director back to the family for a funeral he preached and she played piano and sang for because the people were poor and had a bunch of young kids. Stories of my dad taking people to doctor visits because they had no car and had lost their job.

    Big shoes for me to fill when trying to make a difference in this world.

    I have bought your books, read them and gifted them to friends. But your biggest gift is reminding us all daily of the fact that there are a lot of good people in this world who do things everyday to make it a better place and ask nothing in return. People like my mom and dad.

    Please keep it up. Thanks to you, I tip waitresses at a level that my dad would think is crazy, pay for food for people in line with me if they look like they need a break, and treat everyone as if they deserved respect, which they do.

    No matter what the idiot who wrote you about his “Masters degree in English” etc. said a few days ago, do not even respond to a person like him in the future. He is an idiot, and to respond gives him a voice. I am also an English major who has published in numerous national law journals, written short stories, had numerous million dollar jury verdicts, etc. I buy your books and give them to people. I cannot tell you of a single book he has written.

    Thanks again for giving a damn. Hug Jamie and rub Thelma Lou’s belly.

    Reply
    • Tara Simon - May 24, 2018 12:16 pm

      Steve, that was also beautiful to read.

      Reply
  2. Steven P Bailey - May 24, 2018 9:38 am

    Beautiful.

    Reply
  3. Jo Ann - May 24, 2018 11:07 am

    I, too, believe. Thanks again, Sean

    Reply
  4. Penn Wells - May 24, 2018 11:09 am

    Lord, save us from small minded people. We need more with grand visions. Like Seans. 👍

    Reply
  5. Dianne - May 24, 2018 11:44 am

    Things of Earth are only temporary, but Eternity is forever. I believe God gives us glimpses of heaven/eternity in our dogs, flowers, puffy white clouds, the laughter of children,beautiful music, smiles, and rainbows. Thank you, Sean.

    Reply
  6. Michael Guilday - May 24, 2018 12:07 pm

    All pets are a special gift. I’ve cried over loosing two cats. Both were strays. Both adapted me. I was their only connection to the human world. They trusted me with their souls. Both got sick and after weeks of treatment and watching their health decline, I had to put them down. I sobbed. I have a dog that I can’t imagine what it will be like when her day comes. I refuse to go there. I’ll stay in the now with her at my side.

    Reply
  7. Sue Cronkite - May 24, 2018 12:48 pm

    Wish pets lived longer. It’s like losing a child when one has to go on to wherever souls go.

    Reply
  8. Pat - May 24, 2018 2:00 pm

    I believe also Sean!

    Reply
  9. Charlu Kent - May 24, 2018 2:26 pm

    Such a sad timely missive. Three of my friends (1 just this morning) have lost dogs that I’ve been very close to, carried my heart in their paws 🐾 for 13 years. I’ve sent 1 Rainbow Angel, started another, n today, will start drawing another. As with my own beloved beasties, these are very hard to work on n I have to stop often to let tear blotches dry. 💙🐭❤️🐾🌈✍🏼👩🏻‍🎨🎨

    Reply
  10. Edna B. - May 24, 2018 3:06 pm

    Sean, I believe too! My little Pogo is so precious, I just don’t know what I’ll do when his time comes. I’m just hoping he lives another twenty years. He is my joy, and he keeps me going. I did not really rescue him, he rescued me. I do believe that dogs are gifts from God. I love my little gift. You have a great day, hugs, Edna B.

    Reply
  11. Thomas Bole - May 24, 2018 3:52 pm

    And where I want to go when it’s over for me here. If it really exists, I have many friends there. Four legged.

    Reply
  12. Will - May 24, 2018 3:53 pm

    Every now and then you make this old man drop a tear or two. Got a 18 year old Daschund hound that has been by me thru thick and thin. He’s been a great friend and still is! Think I’ll keep him!

    Reply
  13. Marlene Passarelli - May 24, 2018 4:11 pm

    Our losses have come in bunches this past 12 months – people and pets. Each is painful in its own way. My favorite cat was hit and killed by a car last week. I found her in the road. She was never smart about cars because she had been an indoor cat, but she loved the outdoors – woods and critters and sunny spots for napping – and I gave in to her pleading a few years ago. I’ve had her since her feral momma, who we still feed and care for outside our home, moved in under our deck at her birth 14 years ago. I trapped Jasmine and sent her to animal control, then two days later went down there and paid $75 to rescue her back (with a respiratory virus that cost us another $200 in a visit to the vet on the way home :-)). I think she must have forgotten I was the one who sent her away but she always remembered that I rescued her back and she loved me so well. Jasmine’s daddy was not a deadbeat and stuck around with Mama Kitty for 14 years and I cared for him, too, until he had to be put to sleep last fall because of cancer. I still have one of Jasmine’s siblings living with me but he will be the last of many, many beloved pets, because I can’t make those end-of-life decisions anymore. Too painful. This, coupled with the loss of a beloved family member and two friends since September, has brought a little tinge of sadness to life right now. But this is the cost of loving, isn’t it? A life without love is not worth living, so we pay the high price. I believe in God and life after physical death. And since He is a loving God, I believe that we will be reunited with all those we love someday and I hope that includes our pets, as well.

    Reply
  14. June Wilson - May 24, 2018 7:32 pm

    It is so hurtful to watch our pets go but worse if we don’t stay with them during the process.

    Reply
  15. Jack Darnell - May 24, 2018 10:49 pm

    Life is better for a boy if he has a dog. I also believe it is the same for girls and old people.
    I like the post also.

    Reply
  16. Anne Robinson - May 24, 2018 11:12 pm

    I read your posts every single day! I am so blessed my friend Myra, new resident of the state of Alabama, told me about you. I hope you two can meet in person one day. This is such a beautiful share. Too many broken hearts to even try to talk about the furry loves I have loved and lost. Funny I started my blog because our middle had a little rescue dog diagnosis with a terminal illness so a friend convinced me to blog about her. LOve to you and yours for these writings. HUGS from Colorado

    Reply
  17. R. H. Kirkland - May 25, 2018 2:06 am

    Why can’t our furbabies live longer??

    Reply
  18. crystalragland2016 - May 25, 2018 3:23 am

    I just finished an you wrote article in the Volume 6, 2018 edition of Coastal Luxury that a friend shared with me. I’ve already researched your books and I can’t wait to share them with my husband. I think you’d like him. He revels in storytelling and shares with anyone who will listen. Thank you for sharing your gift with us.

    Reply
  19. Dru - May 26, 2018 5:19 am

    Sean, you make me cry.

    Reply
  20. Mary Ellen Hall - May 27, 2018 9:27 pm

    BEAUTIFUL STORY SEAN!! Another HEARTBREAKER!💔

    My husband & I lost our BELOVED “Chocolate Lab” about 7 years ago. Undoubtedly; one of the SADDEST & MOST TRAUMATIC DAYS of our lives!!
    We now have another AMAZING, BEAUTIFUL “Chocolate Lab.” She too, has stolen our HEARTS!!❤

    WE TRULY BELIEVE our Sundae (our first lab,) is now in Heaven as a BEAUTIFUL ANGEL. She is waiting with ALL the other pets: dogs, cats ponies…; who are now “Guardian Angels” waiting patiently on their human FRIENDS!

    We HONESTLY BELIEVE, we will ALL be TOGETHER AGAIN!!

    THANK YOU AGAIN SEAN, for this AMAZING STORY!🐶

    Reply
  21. Anna - May 29, 2018 9:15 am

    Oh my……..I know the feelings you have expressed.

    Reply

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