The backyard stretches out, glimmering emerald from summer’s endless rain and sun. A lone oak tree, once so petite and spindly, towers full and grand above the sagging trampoline, shading part of our fenced yard.
I clench my eyes shut, then open them.
There are no flashes of white, no bounding speckled legs. The squirrels run rampant, blue jays and doves pecking at the bird feeder unhindered.
Everything is empty and quiet, the kind of quiet that echoes so loudly it stretches the soul.
I’m filled with the ache of missing, of early goodbyes.
I flip on the hose until the spray gushes, aiming at Mango’s cage tray and trying to focus on the green, green grass, not the colorful memories that blur my eyes.
We had to say goodbye so suddenly, with little warning. I can barely go there, barely think of that awful day. But instead of focusing on the empty yard swallowing me and the early goodbye I didn’t expect or want to say, I’ll focus on the 6 1/2 years we had with you.
We prayed for a medium-sized, non-shedding, kid-loving dog, and we got you. ❤
We also got a great guard dog.
I’ll never forget that summer day, when the boys were no taller than my waist and you were still gangly, one-year old puppy, yet you alerted me to the troublesome teenager breaking into our neighbor’s house. Your ferocious barking scared him right back over the neighborhood wall.
We also got a lively and energetic companion, an active dog that in the wrong hands, could’ve been destructive. But you were such an eager-to-please boy. Your job was keeping squirrels, birds, raccoons, and possums out of our yard, and you did it faithfully.
I’m so glad you loved walking as much as I did. I wonder how many miles we walked together in 6 1/2 years? So many, but not enough.
Cole misses you licking his chin each morning when he puts on his shoes before school. Chase misses you running around the yard while he bounces on the trampoline and when you joined us each night in the boys’ bedroom for back scratching while I read to them.
What do I miss? So much. ❤
I miss your face in the kitchen window when I leave and come home; the slap of the dog door as you run in and out; your toothy doggy grin when we came home; your safe, alert presence when I walked in the evenings; even your hearty barking when the UPS guy drops off a package at the door then scurries away.
We even miss your drool.
Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole. ~ Roger Caras
I turn off the hose and gaze around, the quiet smothering. The boys are inside, finishing homework and growing taller, and my heart tugs and pulls at the memories in this space, on this green, green grass.
I remember all the little boy and puppy growing up that happened in this yard, the many hours of playtime with dear neighbor kids, and the tears fall. ❤
But then, I look down and see it.
A leaf beside Mango’s tray. All by itself, a single straggler amidst a sea of green. Where had it come from?
Fall doesn’t hit Florida until December or January, and this was clearly not an oak leaf.
More tears come, from missing you puppy, and from a God who cares about all of His creation and shows it in ways He knows I’ll see and cherish. ❤
We miss you, Stinky Pete. And our home isn’t home without you. We’re praying for another good boy, but he or she won’t be you, Jedi.
We love and miss you, crazy spotted puppy. ❤