On Saturday, March 16th, my wife and I said farewell to the best buddy a family could ever have. Simon was with us for fourteen years, ever since he was a puppy. He was one little bundle of fun. Always happy. Always ready to play. And always happy to see us. Everyone who met Simon fell in love with him, except our USPS delivery person. For some reason, Simon felt that we needed to be protected from the "evil" postman.
Simon's health had been in a rapid decline over the past few months. Our vet, who has treated our dogs for most of their lives, advised us that it might be time to make the hard decision that we knew would eventually come. On Saturday morning, with ourselves and our two other dogs by his side, Simon passed away.
I can't say that I haven't been impacted by his death. Truth be told, this has left me shattered beyond any consolation. Simon and I had developed a deep bond, and when he died, he left me feeling empty inside. For fourteen years, he has been waiting for me beside the door when I come home, but he wasn't there today, which broke my heart.
As I write these words, I cast my mind back through the many memories I have of him. My wife and I always take the dogs with us on vacation. We've gotten good at finding dog-friendly vacation spots. There were our numerous family trips to Barkwells, a dog-friendly mountain retreat in Asheville, NC. Or, our trips to a dog-friendly bed and breakfast in Lewes, DE. And then there were our trips to Massachusetts, New York, and Virginia. All fond memories.
One memory that stands out as a favorite occurred when Simon was just a puppy. My wife and I decided to install a semi-permanent baby gate in the doorway between our kitchen and living room. We wanted to confine Simon's movements to the kitchen when we were not at home. We bought the gate and I spent half an hour installing it in the doorway. Simon sat in the kitchen and watched, his head cocked to the side like he often did. He watched with intense curiosity. When I finished, I closed the gate and looked into the kitchen at Simon. I asked him what he thought. Then, with a smug, self-satisfied look on his little face, he sniffed the gate, walked between the bars, and sat down in front of me in the living room. To this day, I swear he knew he could get through the bars the entire time.
In time, the overwhelming grief will pass and I'll feel nothing but warmth and love whenever I think of him. But for now, the memories bring tears to my eyes and a pain in my heart.
I miss you, Simon. Rest in peace.