My cell phone rang one day last November and the caller ID identified my friend Diane as the caller. I answered ‘Hey, Ditzy Broad’ (I’m betting you have special names for a few of your very close friends, too!) All her broken voice could muster out was ‘Shirley’ and I knew.
‘Casey?’ I asked and she responded with a heart broken sob.
Diane and Casey had been out for one of their usual daily walks. Gosh, that dog loved his walks! The two of them had their own MO. Casey would pull ahead and then stop to sniff and then Diane would be in the lead. Moving toward the next smell Casey would recapture the lead. And so it went, back and forth, time after time. Diane had taken the lead once again. When Casey didn’t respond to her gentle tug, she looked back and saw him. Casey was on the sidewalk laboring to breathe and was struggling to stay on his feet. He collapsed in a heap. Diane helped him to his feet and Casey managed to walk one more block toward home when he crumpled again. As Diane dropped to Casey’s side a car pulled into the driveway that was next to the sidewalk. A gentleman got out of his car and saw what was happening. As he ran over to help he recognized his friend Jeff’s mom on her knees hovering over this heap of a precious dog. He immediately said. ‘Let’s get him in my car!’ He gently picked up this ninety pound dog and placed him in the backseat of his car. Diane crawled in the backseat to be with her boy as he gasped for breath. Fortunately, the veterinarian office was just a few blocks away. The vet took Casey immediately into the treatment room and Diane stayed in the waiting room, but not for long. Diane thought to herself ‘Casey is my dog, I’ve got to be with him’ and she charged into the treatment room. The vet had placed an oxygen mask over Casey’s face. She turned toward Diane and gently told her that Casey’s heart was giving out.
A very short time later, as Casey was listening to his mom’s voice telling him how much she loved him, sweet Casey’s big and gentle heart stopped.
It was about a month later that Diane and I decided it was time for Lucy to go over to Casey’s house. As we pulled in the driveway Lucy did the usual ‘Oh boy, I get to play with Casey. Let me out of this car’, routine.
Diane was waiting at the back door. We knew this was going to be tough. And not just for Lucy. Usually, Casey would be right there to greet us. Lucy ran into the house right past Diane and went from room to room looking for Casey, wagging her tail the entire search. Diane and I stood at one end of the hall and watched. Lucy stood at the far end of the hall, by the bedrooms, looking confused. Where was Casey? This was the end of the house, there was no place else to search. Lucy turned her head toward us and she knew.
Don’t ever doubt the love between dogs, my friends. Diane and I both heard it that day. The mournful whimper that came from Lucy’s soul was for her friend who was never going to be home again.