Every Wednesday for the last few years, my Subaru wagon would roll into the driveway in Valparaiso and two things would happen - I'd deliver some meals to the family, and I'd be greeted by their dog. He was a beautiful Sheltie - like a miniature collie - and announced my arrival by "talking" to me and coming to me to be petted.
If he wasn't at the front of the house, his owner would say "your friend is here" and he'd come waddling down the hall. He wasn't fat - but he sure was fluffy. Okay, he was kind of fat.
Over the years we had formed a bond.
But last week he finished his race. Cancer took him away.
When I rolled into the driveway, the older woman and her son were both outside. As I was walking to the door I heard them talking and finish with "you tell him." Neither one could look up for a moment after the words were spoken.
So I said, "he was a good dog."
And that was enough to start the tears.
For five minutes I heard about a puppy that brought life into the family, and tales of times when he comforted, when he took the day's pain away burst forth.
It was like being at a funeral listening to the eulogies of the family. I've been to a many of them, hear a lot of words.
But you know, it's pretty hard to top...
He was a good dog.
And he was.