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Don's Little Buddy Sage

My friend Sage is gone.

It has been four months - but it still seems like only days ago.

He breathed his last breath while lying in my arms…his last heartbeat I felt on my palm.

He was 16 years old…by some accounts, that’s more than a hundred. It may have been too long for him, but not nearly enough for me. His pain is ended, but ours has just begun.

He endured much to live so long…blindness, arthritis – but I believe he endured them happily to be by my side as much as he was able. In the end, I had to decide for him…In those last minutes I would have given anything for someone to give me an excuse to pick him up and take him home again. And right this minute, I would give my right arm to hear Karen say I needed to come pick up his poop from the living room floor.

He was only twelve pounds after a big dinner, but he filled every corner of my home…Even now, as I look around my living room, his absence is everywhere. It is a small home, but feels like an empty stadium.

My dear brother Paul reminds me that we humans spend our whole lives learning to love and give unconditionally – but puppies know how at birth.

He is right…Sage loved me. Really loved me. He took genuine pleasure in my mere presence, sang out loud joyfully when I returned from work. He asked nothing of me in return for his devotion…ever. He never saw in me the glaring defects I have always struggled to overcome. He never judged or was angry with me.

Even when I was too tired to give him my full attention, he was content to sit at my feet or lay by my side, and in his last year he would struggle with his crippling pain and lack of control to stand and stagger over just to be close to me. Greater love hath NO MAN.

"He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog.
You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart.
You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion."

I don't know who penned this, but it is in my heart.

I hope I was somehow worthy of Sage, although I can’t imagine how that’s possible.

Some people believe in a heaven…a paradisical afterlife where the deserving go after death. Well, if there is, people will find they are on a very long waiting list behind dogs.

I wish Sage were here – I know he would make me feel better…without saying a word.

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