While He’s Deployed: 13 mo.

Goodbye, apple of my eye…

Whiskey, I don’t know if you were ever aware how destructive you were as a pup. You ate through three vacuums, numerous shoes, and we have come home finding the couch flipped on its back. Whenever you were hyper you would jump from couch to couch and zoomed through the house, trotting up and down the stairs. You barked every time the door bell rang and whenever anyone came through the door, you buried all your rawhides in the couch and in my bed, leaving us to find the painful and often sharp surprises, and you got away with walking on tables thanks to my dad spoiling you. You gave us so many headaches but you gave us even more laughter and joy.

You were the only dog and you grew up with two cats who you constantly tried to play with despite their never ending discontent towards you. Still, you never harmed them in any way. Sometimes, I thought you believed you were a feline yourself by the way you would cuddle on a chair or perch on high places. You were one strange pup but that made you unique.

Eventually, we brought home Jack. You established your dominance by knocking him to the ground. Your playfulness died that day. You suddenly became this older brother to this young, big eared pup by showing him how to pee outside, respect your food bowl, how to destroy shoes, and how to bark. As your energy finally seemed to calm down, you began to mature. I wasn’t there when Jack caught bloat and devastated my mom. You stayed home that somber night but you brought comfort to mom and dad when they needed it the most.

I moved to Boston in 2014 and when mom and dad came to visit, they brought you along. They felt I would be safer with you by my side. You had never lived in an apartment before so it was a huge adjustment for everyone. I knew you were heartbroken when you saw mom and dad walk out the door and leaving you behind. Maybe you felt abandoned in some way despite knowing you were with me. Still, we made it work. In three months I trained you to walk on a leash, how to sit and stay, and put you on a diet. You even started to get along with D! You finally came to him on your own terms and accepted him as part of your family. In the end, I knew you missed your backyard and the people you grew to love and protect so after the three months, mom and dad came and brought you back home to New Jersey.

I missed having you around and D saw this and he was butthurt that my parents “took you away from him”. So, along came the Potato. D picked her out from a bunch we found on PetFinder and we fell in love with her black spots and patched eye. We made our first trip to NJ with the Potato in the backseat and she immediately took you as her big brother. You were the pack leader and she followed your every move. Once again, you took on the big brother role that you mastered with Jack by teaching her how to potty outside in the yard (since she was just being wee pad trained and going on walks), how to share her feeding area, where to sleep, and how to get comfy on couches. You were very intimidating by your bark alone but you knew your place and knew how to protect your pack.

Years went by and we began to notice the black on your snout was slowly being replace by white. Your movement was slowing down, your reflexes were slower, you needed a different pace. Eventually, your hearing started to go. Someone would come home and you would continue sleeping. To avoid startling you, we would have to gently walk up to you and softly pet your head. We were not being greeted by your barking or trotting anymore. If you happened to be awake you would slowly hobble on over with this huge happy grin on your face that was made even more adorable by the white hairs you now sported on your chin. You may have become a senior dog to us but you still filled the house with excitement and positive energy.

Then your age got the best of you. Somehow, when I returned from PR in 2019, I knew your time was going to be limited with me so I made sure to soak up every minute with you. I walked you more often, you lost the weight you needed to, you got to play with new toys and received yummy treats. You even gained a new brother, Chimi! I took so many pictures of you, some you probably knew and some you were peacefully unaware. You were always such a sweet and gentle giant.

When you began having trouble walking our greatest fear started. We tried shots, medicine, even those rubber booties to help stabilize you. Dad spent the next two-three weeks sleeping on the couch in the living room so you wouldn’t be alone as your legs no longer supported you. Potato began sleeping next to you to keep you company as well. Thanks to COVID, we were all in quarantine so we got to spend extra time with you. We still greeted you, sang to you, held your toys for you, and even managed to have you with us during the first summer cook our in our new yard. It felt as though you knew your time was coming but you waited until we had our first cook out to give us that one last memory before you had to leave us. You were tired at the end but you still had so much love to give.

The night you had to leave us was out of our hands. All this time we had thought your legs would be the reason we had to let go but fate had other plans. We had been selfish with you for long enough and when you caught bloat, that was our sign to let you rest. We rushed you to the emergency hospital and I nearly threw them my credit cards to do whatever it took to… well, I’m not sure what. I knew they couldn’t save you and I knew you weren’t coming home this time. I just gave them my card to prepare your arrangements while mom, dad, and I just cried for hours. Finally, the doctor gave us time to say our goodbyes to our best boy.

That night, you took a piece of all our hearts. The next day, we just cried while we talked about you, looked back at your pictures, and laughed at how you made every house a home. We miss your nails clacking on the floors, we miss how you did not care who was around when you had gas, we miss coming through the door and seeing your tired eyes but excited smile to see us. We miss your presence and we wish we could have given you more time. Whiskey, you will always be the love of my life, the apple of my eye. You were the best doggo and I can’t wait to see you again. Thank you for being the best big brother, giving us your loyalty, keeping us company and just being your adorable self. I’d skip heaven if that meant I could spend the rest of my afterlife with you.

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….