After yesterday’s post about my puppy (You May See a Dog … I See One of the Family Who Happens to be Short Black and Furry … I Have the Best Dog in the World), my dad responded to me with the story of a very special dog. With his permission, I present what he sent me.
You asked about a special pet. Until 4 years ago I had a gift from God called Grizzly. Let me explain why he was a gift from God. My wife of 32 years passed away on Jan, 5, 1998. She was the love of my life. We were high school sweet hearts and got married right out of high school. We were true soul mates and I was lost with out her. Thanks to my eldest son and very good friends I made it about 6 months before I considered ending it all. I had slowly with drawn from life losing interest in living. One particularly lonely night I took my gun and sat on the back porch intending to end it all. I had it all planned. I was going to do it in the back yard so the kids did not have any mess in the house. I was sitting there fighting my Catholic upbringing trying to convince myself to pull the trigger when I was interrupted by a phone call. My best friend Jerry was calling asking me to baby sit one of his dogs for the week end. IT was a small favor and he has always been a great friend so I said yes. Jerry had been trying to get me to take Grizzly because there new house was too small for 2 dogs. Friday came and Jerry showed up with Grizzly, food, a leash, and his dog house. I should have known I was being maneuvered but I was so depressed I didn’t think any thing of it. That night we more or less went our separate ways. Grizzly wandered the house exploring and I sat watching TV.
Saturday however was a different story. I had known Grizzly pretty much since he was born seeing I was a frequent visitor to Jerry and Theresa’s home. I was sitting feeling depressed on the living room sofa when Grizzly came and put his head in my lap and looked up at me with sad sympathetic eyes. I began to pet him. He licked my hand and I began to pour out my heart to him. He seemed to understand. That day we bonded and when Jerry called to make arrangements to pick Grizzly up I told him he could not have my dog. He laughed and teased me good naturedly.
Grizzly’s arrival triggered a change in me. I had some one depending on me that I had to feed, water, walk, and care for. He gave me a purpose. Gradually at first I began to live again. For his part Grizzly gave me unconditional love. I had many dogs thru out my life but they were always family dogs. Grizzly however was MY dog and no one else’s. He rarely was more then 5 feet away from me. He only responded to my commands ignoring any one else’s. Over the next 14 years he and I had many adventures. Visiting children’s wards and senior citizens homes visiting 48 states and most national parks and monuments. Grizzly was a large dog but every one from little children to seniors no matter where we went wanted to pet and love him. He was so in tune with me that when my heart trouble would act up he would force me into a chair and sit in my lap to make me rest until it passed. He would jump up in my old truck ready to go at a moments notice and wait patiently for me in the truck while I ran errands or visited doctors. Every one knew if I came to visit Grizzly would be with me.
Eventually Grizzly began to suffer from old age. Vets told me it was rare that a dog of his size lived so long but then Griz was always special. His back legs were useless and he could not stand with out help. I carried him every where not wanting to admit he was suffering. During one of my frequent conversations with my oldest son the Lord told me it was time to send the four legged angel he had lent me back to him. I would like to tell you I immediately let Grizzly go home to the Lord but I was selfish and didn’t want to lose my dearest companion..Finally I could watch him suffer no more. I took him to the vet and had him put to sleep. It was the saddest day since my wife died suddenly of a stroke in my arms on our back porch. I felt like I just killed my best friend. To this day I miss him.
Grizzly was an amazing dog and the connection between him and my father was one of those stories that they make movies about. They were in sync with each other and helped each other live. I know Grizzly is now in heaven with my mom enjoying life there and we are all looking forward to seeing him again.
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