Goodbye, little buddy. 10 on 10 for February | Athens, PA photographer

This is part of a 10 on 10 blog circle project where we post ten photos on the 10th day of the month. To continue the circle visit Jamie Machin's blog

For 13 years you open a back door to let him out into the back yard; you feel him lick your hand when you open the front door, from his perch on the back of the couch which he's jumped up on to greet you; you grumble because he's in your foot space on the bed, again; you yell at him because he's lifted his leg on your laundry; and you feel at ease because there he is, next to you on the couch, curled up against you to remind you someone loves you when you don't even feel like you love yourself.

 

And then, one day, you notice he can't move as well anymore. He's slowing down. He's sleeping more. He stops eating. Still, though, he finds a way to lay down with you on your bed, follow you and lean into you for attention, and you think about how blessed you are to have a creature so loyal, so dedicated to you even when you weren't the perfect companion.

 

The vet said his body temp was 95 and should be 100-105 and that his blood glucose was so low it showed either cancer or liver disease and there was almost nothing they could do unless they hospitalized him and tried to pump him full of drugs. Even then they couldn't guarantee he'd survive and he'd probably suffer even more. She said she didn't think he'd even make it on the one hour drive home.

When I used to cry like this he'd come up and lick my face. He was always there when I was heartbroken. He knew I needed him, maybe even more than he needed me.

I feel so lonely here in this house, this evening of the day he didn't come home. I know that sounds weird. I'm not alone. My family is here. God is here. But our little Copper offered me a sense of normalcy even when the world was spinning around me.

Sometimes you think, well it's just a dog…right? But he wasn't just a dog. He was family, he was a friend, he was comfort when nothing else was, he was normal when the world didn't make sense; he was steady when everything else was off balance.

He knew when I needed comfort and companionship. Though it looked like he was seeking attention for himself by standing next to me and waiting to be petted, I think he knew I needed that time to slow down and touch him and be reminded that at least something was right with the world and he would be there when others couldn't or wouldn't be.

You are so missed, my little Copper, our "muttsley", our mutt, our rescue pup, our very best friend.

Copper the day before he passed, falling against Gracie from weakness and needing comfort. 

Copper the day before he passed, falling against Gracie from weakness and needing comfort. 

Holding Copper's food dish that he could no longer eat from while her daddy carries the puppy to the car to be seen by another vet at a more advanced facility.  

Holding Copper's food dish that he could no longer eat from while her daddy carries the puppy to the car to be seen by another vet at a more advanced facility.

 

A boy and his dog.  One of many good-byes as his condition worsened.

A boy and his dog.  One of many good-byes as his condition worsened.

"Beau" a poem by Jimmy Stewart

 

He never came to me when I would call
Unless I had a tennis ball,
Or he felt like it,
But mostly he didn't come at all.

When he was young
He never learned to heel
Or sit or stay,
He did things his way.

Discipline was not his bag
But when you were with him things sure didn't drag.
He'd dig up a rosebush just to spite me,
And when I'd grab him, he'd turn and bite me.

He bit lots of folks from day to day,
The delivery boy was his favorite prey.
The gas man wouldn't read our meter,
He said we owned a real man-eater.

He set the house on fire
But the story's long to tell.
Suffice to say that he survived
And the house survived as well.

On the evening walks, and Gloria took him,
He was always first out the door.
The old one and I brought up the rear
Because our bones were sore.

He would charge up the street with Mom hanging on,
What a beautiful pair they were!
And if it was still light and the tourists were out,
They created a bit of a stir.

But every once in a while, he would stop in his tracks
And with a frown on his face look around.
It was just to make sure that the old one was there
And would follow him where he was bound.

We are early-to-bedders at our house--
I guess I'm the first to retire.
And as I'd leave the room he'd look at me
And get up from his place by the fire.

He knew where the tennis balls were upstairs,
And I'd give him one for a while.
He would push it under the bed with his nose
And I'd fish it out with a smile.

And before very long
He'd tire of the ball
And be asleep in his corner
In no time at all.

And there were nights when I'd feel him
Climb upon our bed
And lie between us,
And I'd pat his head.

And there were nights when I'd feel his stare
And I'd wake up and he'd be sitting there
And I reach out my hand and stroke his hair.
And sometimes I'd feel him sigh
And I think I know the reason why.

He would wake up at night
And he would have this fear
Of the dark, of life, of lots of things,
And he'd be glad to have me near.

And Now he's dead.
And there are nights when I think I feel him
Climb upon our bed and lie between us,
And I pat his head.

And there are nights when I think
I feel that stare
And I reach out my hand to stoke his hair,
But he's not there.

Oh, how I wish that wasn't so,
I'll always love a dog named Beau.

Lisa Robinson-Howeler

Lisa Howeler Photographer, Athens, PA

I'm a wife, mom, writer and photographer from Northeastern Pennsylvania. I'm a former journalist, which is what my degree is in, and enjoy the freedom of being able to create as a mainly self-taught photographer.