A boy and his dog: a love story

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Driving home from Oxford today, I got the call I’d been dreading.  My son, William, called and I heard grief and distress in his voice that made me want to turn around and drive to Nashville.

I had to pull over and sob.  His 16 year old puppy, Abercrombie, was dying and he had to let her go.  This pet bridged his life from child to adult, and  I hope this is the hardest thing he ever has to do.

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I remembered Abercrombie in her Halloween costume last year (above)…and a million other things about a simple canine that blessed our lives for so long.

William adopted her when my Golden Retriever, Cajun, had a litter of unknown origin back in the 1990s.   She was the runt of the litter and no one wanted her.  William, a college student at Ole Miss at the time,  drove home after class one day and said “I’ll take her.”

They drove off back to Ole Miss in his late grandmother’s Ford Escort and became a team for life – at least hers.

I kept her while William went to Mexico to learn Spanish and while he traveled through Europe twice. I kept her to give him time to move  to New Orleans to begin his new career and while he went skydiving and white water rafting.  She sat patiently by the door waiting for him to come back.

Five years ago, when William’s world was blown away by Katrina, I kept her while he went to Nashville to find a new job and a new home. He couldn’t wait to get her back and begin life all over again.

I’ve never seen a more loved and pampered pet. She had no idea she was a dog. In return, she protected William when he lived in an area of the Irish Channel of New Orleans where people  burglarized for recreation.

No one EVER dared break into his house, because she sounded way meaner than she was.

I dread when he has to go home tonight and Abercrombie isn’t  waiting at the door the way she always does when she hears his car pull into the drive.

He will grieve and I will grieve with him.

I hate to hear people say “I will never have another pet because I can’t stand to lose another one.”

That’s just crazy.  Why would anyone avoid  loving something just because they don’t want to lose it.  That goes for people, too.  We all have more love in our hearts than we can ever know, unless we try, and keep trying, and keep trying….

8 thoughts on “A boy and his dog: a love story

  1. My heart cries for William and you. I know what he’s going through, as I had to put down my pekingese (which you met in Aug.) 2 weeks ago. It’s very hard when they’ve owned you for so many years.

  2. Oh Martha. I’m so sorry. I’ll never forget how you lovingly cared for her even though she couldn’t walk or care for herself any more. How lucky we all are when we find a friend like that and they find us. I remember thinking how wonderful you were. If there’s such a thing as reincarnation, I want to come back as yours or William’s puppy!

  3. I can still feel the pain of losing so much, that I don’t think I have the ability to go through it again, first my dog Rambo, and then my wife Betty three years ago, a part of me has died each time, it was not as bad when I was younger in Viet-Nam, but as I have aged it has had a different effect on me, and I won’t allow anyone to ever get that close to me again.
    To me it would be like trying to replace them, and that will never happen.

  4. Larry, of course you can never replace them…especially Betty. But from what I’ve observed, you’re coming out of that dark place with a lot of wisdom and compassion.
    The universe awaits. (Lordy, when did I become such a sage?) Just remember there are 112 women out there who want to meet you!

  5. I really enjoyed this, but, it did bring a few tears in my eyes, too. you see, my Dauschound puppy, Sissy, died this past Thursday February 5th and I buried her on Friday February 4th. I buried her with the help of my brother and his wife, right next to the house. Sissy and I used to go on long walks around Maben every morning and evening, until she began having trouble with her hips, as small dogs have that trouble. After my Mother died ion May 26, 2006, I have let Sissy stay in the house with me, and now, 2 days, after she died, my house is so different, as it is too quiet. Tell your son, I know how he feels.

  6. So sorry. My 15 year old Golden Retriever, Cajun, died three years ago and to this day I think of her. I believe our pets are given to us my God to make up for the grief caused by the clods in the world. We can treasure the memories and forget the clods.

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