Sharpy, your earthly presence was taken from me yesterday.
I couldn't put anything to words then, because it was one of the worst days in my life. I was a wreck.
Little did I know, today would be even worse. When I got up this morning, you were not there. You always waited for me on the small carpet just outside the bedroom door, because you would get up and leave the bedroom to see mom off to work. When I came out, you needed your pat on the head, even though with your wrinkled, squishy little face, you squinted every time someone touched it!
I made my coffee, and headed to my office. You weren't one to follow my every move, like some of your brothers. You waited until you heard the office door, than you would mosey along in, look around for a comfortable spot, and plop down. Today, for the first time, you did not do that.
How can a home with 4 dogs seem so empty? How come when I walk in the door, and roughly 275 pounds of dogs greet me and fight for position for a pat on the head, it seems that there is a gaping hole? It is not because of any deficiency on your brother's parts, I love them as much as I do you. However, there is an aching empty spot. In the house. In my heart. It hurts.
Yesterday, did I take you to your death? Did I save you from further suffering? I don't know. All I know is that you are not here today.
Yesterday, we started off with a 'big' morning. We went to the little park by the airport for the last time. I carried you out of the car. You stood on your own for a bit (picture above standing in front of mom), took a few steps around, but quickly tired. Then I carried you to the other side of the park, so you could look at the water and birds. You just laid down when we got there, but your nose was going, and so were your little eyebrows (picture below with me). Those last days you could barely lift your head, so that's how you looked around. Those 20 minutes or so wiped you out. So hard to believe that just 4 days earlier, you and I went to the same place to spend some one on one time, and you walked the whole way to the water yourself. Sure, I had to lift you back into the car afterwards, but you still had enough gas to go to Lake Eola after that. More water, birds, people, dogs.... Blue sky, with puffy clouds. Perfect day, as if it were planned for you. You just laid there, but you were happy. I could see that satisfied look on your face. You were with dad. Didn't matter how much things hurt, or how much pain you had to endure, being with mom and dad over-rode everything. You never complained, didn't even know how.
Yesterday, however, we continued along to the vet. You sat in my lap, and rested your head in my arms in the car (you don't do that). I carried you in, and you again just laid on the floor, rested your head on your arm. Even the dogs around you couldn't energize you enough to get you up to sniff.
Time was our enemy. Time was not fair. I hated the clock. We were already late to our appointment; yet all I wanted to do was be even later, or turn around and grab you and run. But I had to show at least half the courage that you did. It was a fearsome struggle internally for me. For people, their life is what they make of it. For my four legged friend, your life is what I make of it. It is an awesome responsibility, for which I try my best.
I know you had an idea what 'good night' meant. Frequently at home, at the end of the night, when I shut off all the lights and the TV, with you guys all scattered on the floor around our bed, we would do that 'Walton's' thing... "Good night Sharpy, good night Otto, good night Chipper, good night Little Dog".. That's why there, in that room, I kept repeating 'Good Night Sharpy. Sleep Tite. Nite-Nite". You looked around by moving your little eyebrows. I felt then that you looked at me to say "thanks for letting me go to sleep Dad, I really don't feel good, and I'm so tired".
I was holding your head, and cradled it when it fell to rest for the very last time. I'm so sorry that at that instant, I momentarily lost my composure. My most important quest that day was to be there to try to comfort you. I could not hold it, I was weak. I'm sorry. I hope you only heard my words of praise and comfort, and not my fleeting outburst.
I consciously did not say goodbye. Whatever you may have thought that meant, I knew that it wasn't the case. It was not goodbye. You will always be with me. You own a piece of my heart and soul. What made you Sharpy, is not gone, and never will be. One of the most loving, gentle, low key, kind, giving, enthusiastic, friendly, polite, non-demanding, hearts to ever grace a life. You didn't beg. You barely barked (except at people dressed in animal costumes, or ferrets!). What is gone is your physical presence. Your snores. Your snorts. Your big toes, and 'all your feet'! Your squishy little, sometimes frothy, face. Your wagging tail. Our walks. Our times hanging out. Chasing you around the house, or being chased. Holding a bone or hoof for you to chew. Our visits to friends. Our trips to fairs and parks and parades (you could visit anyone at anytime, and not cause a problem). And, you were not affectionately called Stinky for nothing! I will painfully miss all that, and so much more.
I sincerely hope you know you will never be, because you can never be, replaced. Mom and I will continue to try to brighten the lives of loving hearts like yourself, that people discard like some kind of possession. I think the reason you were at the pound was because your previous family was moving, or some similar pathetic logic. While I normally get mad at people who are so insensitive and stupid, in your case, I was not mad at all. Obviously your first 'family' got what they deserve, they lost out BIG time by losing you. And sure I'm being selfish, but guess who won! ME!!
In your honor (you'd have been proud), at the end of the day yesterday, mom and I went to the Orlando Humane Society, which is of course where we were lucky enough to find you almost four years ago. We bought a LARGE bag of treats, and gave everybody one. We had so many left, we went through again, to pass out seconds. While this is not unusual for us, and in fact is what we were doing when we 'lucked' upon you, it never before held so much importance. We made a bunch of your little friends smile. That made us smile, on a day that we didn't have much other reason to. We know, whenever we smiled, you were happy.
I only hope we brought half the goodness and pleasure into your life as you have into ours. Enjoy your time playing and frolicking this side of the Rainbow Bridge (below). Someday we will be reunited. Until then, I'll Be Missing You.
I love you, and will always treasure you.
Good night, Sharpy.
(our last morning together)
The Rainbow Bridge
There is a bridge connecting Heaven and Earth. It is called the Rainbow Bridge because of its many colors. Just this side of the Rainbow Bridge there is a land of meadows, hills and valleys with lush green grass.
When a beloved pet dies, the pet goes to this place. There is always food and water and warm spring weather. The old and frail animals are young again. Those who are maimed are made whole again. They play all day with each other.
There is only one thing missing. They are not with their special person who loved them on Earth. So, each day they run and play until the day comes when one suddenly stops playing and looks up! The nose twitches! The ears are up! The eyes from the group are staring! And this one suddenly runs from the group.
You have been seen, and when you and your friend meet, you take him or her in your arms and embrace. Your face is kissed again and again and again, and you look once more into the eyes of your trusting pet. Then you cross the Rainbow Bridge together, never to be separated again.
A DOG'S PRAYER
Treat me kindly, my beloved master, for no heart in all the world is more grateful for kindness than the loving heart of me.
Do not break my spirit with a stick, for though I should lick your hand between the blows, your patience and understanding will more quickly teach me the things you would have me do.
Speak to me often, for your voice is the world's sweetest music, as you must know by the fierce wagging of my tail when your footstep falls upon my waiting ear.
When it is cold and wet, please take me inside, for I am now a domesticated animal, no longer used to bitter elements, and I ask no greater glory than the privilege of sitting at your feet beside the hearth... though had you no home, I would rather follow you through ice and snow than rest upon the softest pillow in the warmest home in all the land, for you are my god and I am your devoted worshiper.
Keep my pan filled with fresh water, for although I should not reproach you were it dry, I cannot tell you when I suffer thirst. Feed me clean food, that I may stay well, to romp and play and do your bidding, to walk by your side, and stand ready, willing and able to protect you with my life, should your life be in danger.
And, beloved master, should the Great Master see fit to deprive me of my health or sight, do not turn me away from you. Rather hold me gently in your arms as skilled hands grant me the merciful boon of eternal rest... and I will leave you knowing with the last breath I drew, my fate was ever safest in your hands.
by Beth Harris
Follow this link to see Sharpy's original page.
Sharpy was diagnosed with renal failure in January, 2002. He underwent 5 days of IV therapy, but his blood levels did not respond. The vet told us then that it was just a matter of time. He managed a last 'spurt' of about 3 months of apparent good health. We feel this was so he could get a last chance to live like a dog, and enjoy life; and we could get a last chance to live like his friend, which was a privilege, and enjoy his time. We both did just that. Sharpy passed on 4/16/02. He will not be forgotten.