People become very attached to their pets. Pets become “part of the family.” I’ve heard them described as being “just like a baby,” “the only one who really understands me,” and “the love of my life.” I’ve had dogs. I’ve had cats. I’ve owned fish, turtles, hermit crabs, and took care of the 3rd grade’s reptile for the summer. I’ve given numerous fish a funeral at sea. I’ve also taken a dog to be euthanized, or “put to sleep” as we say. For me the pets were beloved friends, but they were just pets. My sister, Michele, and brother-in-law were more of the first sort of pet owners, head over heels about the dogs.
Storm was put to sleep today.
Storm and Lightning were “brothers,” German Shepherds from the same sire and dam, with Storm being two years the older. Storm’s ears cocked inward; thus he was not suitable for breeding. Lightning developed seizures as he aged and also could not be bred. They were big dogs, Storm the larger of the two, and they barked a lot if they didn’t know you. Great watchdogs. However, they were well-trained and responded to commands. Once they stopped barking I never feared them for they were affectionate and attentive. But they barked until I got out of my car and they were commanded to stop barking. Big noise.
Storm sensed the atmosphere and emotions when it came to my sister. When Michele’s remission from cancer ended, it was Storm who sensed something was off. His behavior prodded my brother-in-law to take Michele to the hospital. This 100 pound furry fellow kept her company, even climbing into the bed, when she was recovering from chemotherapy. He was stalwart. He was the leader of the pack. Meanwhile, Lightning needed more attention, and his health failed progressively until the only option was to put him down. Storm missed him terribly, looking repeatedly around the house for Lightning.
Then Michele died a few weeks afterward. The worst day of all……
Storm and my brother-in-law were buddies after that. Sure, there were the cats, but cats are aloof and didn’t comfort him like Storm did. Then last year Storm started to fail. The only decision was to put him down. Today was the designated day.
Here’s a nod to a good dog and good friend. He’s buried in the back acre near his brother Lightning. Goodbye noble friend.