I met him 8 years ago in March, I knew from the first meeting that ours was going to be a friendship that would last forever. He was big and handsome and by the time I got him home from the shelter he had eaten half my leather coat, threw up in my back seat and peed on my floor. I loved him completely. My daughter was tiny then and she named him Ralph, because he barfed all over my car. His name is written in big blue crayon on his welcome home packet from the shelter “Ralef”

It was never my intention to get a huge dog. He was supposed to be a nice medium sized dog…about 50 pounds. I think he surpassed that mark by 3 months. He was a gorgeous creature…he looked just like an Irish Wolfhound, with soft golden and wheaton mixed with black. He was super tall and weighed nearly 140 pounds, but never would you find a gentler soul.

Yesterday afternoon he looked up at me from his spot near my desk and tried to stand…his back legs would not hold him and I jumped up immediately to help him. He took a few more steps and died which me holding him…Rest in peace my beautiful man…I will miss you more than you will ever know.

I know there are people out there that will say “he was only a dog”. I feel sorry for people who feel that way. We involve our animals in our lives, they are our companions and we treat them with kindness and respect. They sleep with us, eat with us…they give us peace and protect us. They are responsible for many of my daughters successes as she grows up with Asperger’s. They were my confidants while I struggled with coming to grips with the disability that changed my life. Animals, especially dogs, cats and horses, can be an enormous part of your life and family…if you give them the chance.

I snipped a lock of Ralphy’s hair and he is now buried in the back field…a fruit tree will be planted on his grave and I will grow a tomato plant there each summer for him…his favorite thing on earth. The rabbits and deer will eat them and that’s ok…Ralphy loved watching them. At some point and time this week the tears will stop and the other dogs will stop pacing around looking for him. Our lives will move forward without the huge hulking creature that ruled our home, but it will never be the same without him.

Old Dog in a Locket

Old dog in a locket
That lays next to my heart
I will always love you
As I did right from the start.

You were right beside me
Through the darkest of my days
It was your kind and gentle nature
That made me want to stay.

Now I hold you in my arms
Your breath still warm against my hand
Our hearts still beat together
And I wonder if you understand.

Through the hours that I held you
Before the light did leave your soul
I knew a way to keep you
Forever in my hold.

I snipped the hair from around your eyes
So I would always see
The beauty that surrounds me
Even in times of need.

I snipped the hair from around your ears
So I would always hear
Music in the distance
To quiet any fears.

I snipped the hair from across your back
To bring me strength in time of need
And that the power of your essence
Would always be with me.

I snipped the hair from around your heart
That beat in time with mine
So love would know to find me
At some other distant time.

And so, your life slipped out of mine
On a quiet spring like day
But I knew that a part of you
Was always here to stay.

Old dog in a locket
That lays next to my heart
I will always love you
Even though we had to part.

Author unknown

Colleen

Creatively serving the Greater Binghamton area in the lovely Southern Tier of NY. www.foodwineartdesign.com

Colleen Cheechalk is a private caterer and personal chef, she also hosts the internet’s favorite resource for the home wine maker at www.homemadewine.net.her blog is viewed by thousands each day who enjoy her simply explained, illustrated and photographed recipes and helpful tips.

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