Here’s to you, my canine loves

I would much rather be writing a story about cornered skunks and wide-eyed squirrels, and the flurry of cat fur that flies when “Cash” and “Dot” decide to play tag with unwilling members of the animal kingdom around here.
But that won’t be happening today, and it won’t be happening tomorrow.
When I began working a full-time job on top of a part-time job six weeks ago, it didn’t take me long to discover that my six-year-old Lab was getting the short end of the stick.
This simple-minded, happy-go-lucky, lovable, unconditional creature named “Cash” had more energy than all my grandchildren and 16 “Energizer” bunnies. Keeping him kennelled up for eight-12 hours a day while I turned the daily grind was unfair, to say the least, and it bothered me to no end.
“Dot,” on the other hand, had earned some quiet time and I knew that at 84 years of age in “people years,” she would do just fine snoozing away the day on her little memory foam bed in the hallway.
So, after much inner debate and consideration for what I thought best for my Cash, I decided to find him a home that would allow him the freedom to be the canine masterpiece that he is, and where he wasn’t going to be stuck inside all day every day waiting for a chance to be someone’s dog.
I set out in the belief that I would know when the right home came along. I was not disappointed in my search.
A man named “Bob” came into Cash’s life. His story was poignant, his smile was genuine, his heart sincere, and most of all, his gentle hand upon my dog and my dog’s response to this man’s touch was everything I could have hoped for.
And so I let Cash go.
It was hard and it hurt, and yet it was the right thing to do. My captain, who is wise in sweet form, said that perhaps this man needed Cash more than I did.
I believe this to be true. Very true.
But I needed Dot.
It would seem, however, that the Universe had other thoughts on that because early Friday morning, as I comforted my gravely-ill best doggie friend and stroked her graying fur and whispered into her ear how much I loved her as she drifted out of this world, I once again came face-to-face with the inevitable and heart-breaking truth that dogs don’t live forever and that sometimes, no matter how much we love them, we have to let them go.
There is nothing I can say that would convey how sorrowful I am that she is gone.
Dot was more than just a dog. She was a member of my family and she filled our hearts to the brim.
Dog days were old and perhaps in need of a rest. I sure wasn’t ready for that scenario.
I take comfort that the late Dr. Jon Fistler, who loved Dot as much as the rest of us did, will have welcomed her into the light with open arms and a long caress behind her ears.
So many of us who are pet owners share the crowd of sorrows that overwhelms us when the creatures we love die, and especially when they die unexpectedly.
They come into our lives with joy unbounded and teach us the meaning of true devotion. They rest themselves against our souls and we become part of theirs.
And if someone out there believes a dog has no soul, they’ve never really loved a dog.
Dot, you done good. You done real good, old girl.