For most of the past ~15 years, Peter received a Happy Fathers’ Day card, from one or two dogs. Speaking for them allowed me to express gratitude for how well he took care of us all.
Contemplating continuing the tradition this year, I couldn’t see how to do so without being maudlin.
Instead, having more pictures of River and Buddy to share on-line, a blog post was a better option.
It’s likely not my first Happy Dog-Dad Day post (I can’t look it up as I’m writing this offline, to be posted later) but it may be the first one to draw tears.
It’s been a sad year for us.
Saying goodbye to both of them in a 9-month period, on top of a few months prior of health issues for both, was almost too much to bear.
Through it all, Peter and I were a team. Both there for all appointments and decisions, we were calm, thoughtful and resolute when making the most important ones. Working to understand severity, treatment options, outcomes, quality of life issues and cost, we engaged many wonderful veterinary advisors. The outpourings of sympathy and support for River in April of 2013, then Buddy this past January, was a testament to the love we poured into the end of their lives.
Oh dear, here come my tears.
Sad as my words are, pictures of our sweet boys will bring back good memories. One reading of this post is all I want for you, Peter, with many happy returns to look at their joyful faces and remember them with love and a smile.
Whether sharing a dog chair (when two were available) or the back seat of the car (where Buddy always sat on River – for comfort?) or the side yard, they were (mostly) content to be in close contact. They could’t be trusted to share toys, but Christmas was a big event, with both dogs happily opening their own packages (and ours sometimes).
In the right moment, and with a strong stick, a tug-of-war might ensue, whether in water on one of many beach outings, or on a hike in the mountain foothills. Lacking a stick, an old football, mysteriously found in our back yard (perhaps lost by some neighbor kid?) became the toy of choice, bitten through and deflated before humans could intervene.
Setting up our new home in Port Townsend, as I unpacked boxes of family photos, I reserved several shelves for dog pictures (and a cookie jar to ply those in our new neighborhood).
Commemorating all the wonderful canine members of our family, River and Buddy got a shelf of their own.
One day we will visit this tile installed in a wall at a community center in our old neighborhood.
Until then, this photo and the memories of the funny ordeal of getting good footprints of both dogs on a single slab of green clay (while keeping River from playing with, and Buddy from growling at, other dogs) will bring smiles.
Happy Fathers’ Day Peter – you had my heart at our first meeting when you brought dog treats for Sunny, the golden retriever who preceded Buddy and River in our lives.
I joke that my biological dog clock is ticking loudly these days, but I’m patient and know we’ll invite another furry member into our family once we get settled into our new routine.
I love you.