Next month will be my dog’s, Bear, and my 10th anniversary. I inherited him from a family whose house I leased for about a year. The condition: “Take care of our house and feed our dog.” Then they went off to Australia with their daughter who did not want to abandon her dog. I didn’t really want the added responsibility of taking care of a pet, but I really needed a place to stay so I accepted their offer.
Before I go any further let me describe my dog. He is a German Shepherd, Black Lab, and Border Collie mix. He is by far, the most intelligent dog I’ve ever owned. When I first met him he actually growled at me. Maybe he knew I was going to be his new owner and didn’t like it. My girlfriend and I moved in to our new house fully furnished with dog and all.
Before long, I was taking my new friend on extended runs with me. We would go down to the trailhead by the river and I actually trained him to hold the pace when I became tired. We were both young then and it seemed like nothing could stop us. My girlfriend would take him on walks and it became very apparent that Bear preferred the company of the female persuasion. When we would take him down to the river for a swim, he would actually gallop around like a stallion greeting all the young ladies basking in the sun. Yep, no doubt about it, Bear is quite the ladies man.
One year passed by and the people who leased us the house returned from their trip to Australia. I thought that would be the end of my relationship with my new canine friend. To my surprise the mother told me they would be leaving again. This time they were off to Germany. However, there were three new conditions. One, since I took such good care of their house, they offered to sell it to me for a very reasonable price. Two, they were going to take the old beat up washer and dryer with them, please don’t ask me why, and three, they were going to leave Bear behind. The unsympathetic mother told me this right in front of her daughter who immediately started crying. “Please don’t leave him here Mom, please!” Her daughter’s pleas fell on deaf ears. I did tell this woman later that she could have told her daughter before bringing her all the way back to her home thinking she would be reunited with her childhood friend. An apathetic, “Oh she’ll get over it,” was this cold mother’s response.
So they left and Bear stayed. I broke up with that girlfriend a long time ago but Boy stayed. My father died suddenly from a heart attack but Bear stayed. My mother died four and a half years later from emphysema but Bear stayed. Through all my sorrow and heartache my dog stayed by my side and did not judge me nor did he ever ask for anything except a little food when he was hungry, water when he was thirsty, and shelter when he was cold. Oh yeah, he did ask for one more thing, love. That was the one thing I could always give him without hesitation.
In February of this year it will mark our 10 year anniversary. I recently got remarried and true to his male canine character, Bear Boy prefers the company of my new wife. I suppose I can’t really blame him for that. She added an affectionate “boy” so his official new name is Bear Boy. Bear Boy and I have grown older and watched each other slowdown some. Getting old really bothers me sometimes, but it doesn’t seem to have any effect on my dog. I believe he inherently understands his purpose on this earth and embraces his destiny. My dog is showing me, how to live. All Bear Boy ever wanted was a place he could call home and a family he could love. I thank God we found each other!
Note: Bear boy died today February 27, 2009. He just turned 13 and will be missed by all those who he graced with his kind and gentle spirit.