You were but 8 weeks old when you picked me. There were six puppies romping around the playpen. I stepped over the gate and settled against the wall opposite you. You watched as your mates romped and played and rolled each other. I did not know you yet but you surely sensed me and I fantasize that it was fate that compelled you toward me, dodging your playful litter mates as you calmly arrived into my life. I saw you then. I saw something in your eyes as you gazed at me upon your approach and I outstretched my arms to welcome you home, best friend.
Into my lap you crawled and I held you against my cheek, running it along your soft fawn coat and muttered, “Thane”. My life was now complete. My little king, Thane. Soulmates united; the start of a ten year journey together that would encounter death, new life and everything possible in between.
Here we now lie, resting together, the late afternoon light spilling across your body, making visible your now frail form, your breathing more labored. That familiar ache of anticipatory grief wells up within my broken heart as I confront the inevitability that you will soon leave this earth and arrive at the silver lakes where I pray my father will be waiting to escort you, having made his journey across them almost six years ago when you and I began this career of shared passion. We were there with him, old friend, do you remember? You and I outside of dad’s hospice room showing off what we learned, showing him that I was going to be ok, setting out on a new path together to make a positive and far-reaching impact on this too-often dark world. You were my light. You are my light and I fear, now being at the end of our journey together that the light was never mine, that it is you and I will be left dark.
Dogs are special. But you are not just a dog to me. You were my lighthouse when I would drift away from the shore, caught in tempest after tempest, too often ones of my own doing. You are my confidant. You are my heart. You are my best friend and I hope you know how deeply grateful I am for your unconditional love and friendship. You saved me, Thaniel. You gave me so much without expectation.
In hindsight I beg the question, ‘could I have done more, been more for you?’ and I reflect on your place in my life and see that you loved me without such thoughts burdening you. You are a gift. Your life was purposeful. The outpouring of support and love for you from so many others over these last few days makes me pause, almost breathless but certainly speechless at how wonderful a companion you are to me, my family and have been to the world around you. I’m so proud of you, little king.
Every second closer to Tuesday quickens my heart and I have moments of panic, wondering through cries if I’m absolutely sure I have done everything I can for you to delay the inevitable parting of ways that was destined to happen the moment we met. But no, there’s nothing left to be done other than love you. I repeat this to you with my face buried into your neck because I have no other words that encapsulate how you are one of the best things that has ever happened to me.
In closing, I wish to share with you this poem my wife read to you this morning at your ceremony:
“I give you this, one thought to keep. I am with you still, I do not sleep. I am a thousand winds that blow, I am the diamond glints on snow. I am the sunlight on the ripened grain. I am the gentle autumn rain. When you awaken in the morning’s hush, I am the swift uplifting rush…of quiet birds in circled flight, I am the soft stars that shine at night. Do not think of me as gone…I am with you still, in each new dawn.”
Thank you for being my friend, Thane. Travel well, travel safe and travel with our love for you, handsome🐾♥️ I give you my word you’ll never be forgotten.