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The Doctor's Pets Don't Live Forever Either...

I bought a new shovel today.  You would assume that on this beautiful sunny summer morning it would be used for a long overdo project out in the garden.  Not on this day.  No, it would be used for an entirely different purpose, one not so beautiful or sunny.  It would be to bury my best friend.

I had planned the perfect spot long ago, right between two young saplings that were to one day be the strong anchors that would support our hammock.  A place of solitude in the shade.  Well, the saplings are trees now and it is time to dig that hole.  You are never prepared for it.  It is just something that you know you'll have to do "someday". 

My friend and I spent this morning together.  It wasn't an enjoyable morning but it was an important one.  It was a morning for goodbyes.  You see, my friend was sick and suffering and I knew this would be our last morning together.  I'm not sure if he knew but he did understand that something was different.  It was a bit unusual to have his best friend lying down next to him soaking his face and fur with tears.  We were able to have our moment together, our goodbye.  At that point we both understood that it was time.  Shortly after, he died peacefully in my arms.  His suffering was over . . . my tears continued.

The hole was not something that I wanted to dig, but something I had to.  It had to be perfect, which sounds strange, but he deserved the best resting place that I could muster.  Tears were shed as the shoveling commenced and never stopped.  Eventually, I decided the hole that I had made would suffice for my old friend.  I wrapped him in a special blanket that belonged to my oldest son.  He hadn't used it in years.  He outgrew it.  A fourteen year-old boy doesn't sleep with Toy Story blankets anymore.  I think we must have purchased it around the same time Magnum came to live with us. 

I gingerly placed him in that hole making sure that his feet were facing the fence; the fence that he chased up and down all day long for years.  The ground was so worn down that not even the bravest of weeds would dare to sprout a single leaf.  He would taunt anyone and everyone that passed along his fence and loved every minute of it.  Little did they know that his gentle soul would have licked them to death if they would have had enough courage to greet him.

I unwillingly started to cover him with all the dirt that I exhaustively just spent so much time removing.  That was the hardest part for me.  I knew that I would never see, pet, or play with him again.  It was final!  The hole was eventually filled but something was still missing.  I didn't know what exactly as I stared at the depressing pile of brown dirt.  It eventually came to me.  I then began scavenging flowers throughout my wife's garden and placing them on his new-formed grave.  Normally, she would have been livid if anyone had cut her flowers but she too would agree that Magnum was deserving. 

This was Magnum and I's last day together.  All I can think about is how much he meant to me and our entire family.  He wasn't the most obedient dog in the world nor did he know many tricks.  He was the dog that wouldknock you over just to get a little pat on the head or pounce one of the kids in the back yard in hopes to entice them to play.  He didn't ask for much, but gave us more than I can ever put into words.  We will continue to cherish those memories, as far back as when we first adopted him as a puppy and all through those years until now, our last day together.

___________________

The Tokach family will miss their beloved dog Norbert.  He came to Abilene Animal Hospital as a stray and won over the hearts over nearly everyone he met.  We really miss that big yellow goofball.  If heaven is truly the place that all the dogs you’ve ever loved come to greet you, we will see you there buddy!

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