Friday, May 29, 2009

FAREWELL TO A FRIEND

click on the pictures to enlarge Tonight is the night that Tommy, the Irish Setter, would meet his new parents. They drove in from Maryland to pick him up and take him to his new home. I have never met them but I heard they are wonderful people who adore Irish Setters. Their Irish passed away recently of old age. I'm sure Tommy will have a splendid life with them. I hope he can learn to contain that Irish Setter puppy attitude of his. He is, after all, only about a year old. He's a gorgeous boy. I always find it hard to see one of my guys leave me. It's a weakness of mine. Maybe it's because I interact so closely with each one of them. We all share the same room and I get to know each personality intimately. Tommy attached himself to me immediately. He was apprehensive of the other dogs he would be living with and would use me as a buffer between him and them. It is always difficult to see a new family member run the gauntlet, (find his/her place in the pack hierarchy). Douglas, the Golden Retriever, is the main guy back here, next to me, and he brutal with a new addition to our numbers. Such was the case with Tommy. Douglas was unrelenting in his chastisement of Tommy. I think that is due to Tommy's size; Douglas viewed him as a threat. But no harm was done and Tommy became friends with each of the other dogs. Douglas never warmed up to him. But Tommy got to my heart immediately. He practically glued himself to me when I was home. If I was in a chair; he would lay across both my feet. He would sometimes sit beside my chair and lay his chin on my knee and stair at me and make chop, chop sounds with his mouth. Tommy would never lick me or anyone. He would make the smacking sounds with his mouth without sticking his tongue out. A sweet boy. He is total affection. It is plain that he needs what I can not give him. Tommy needs a human who will focus on him and him alone. I can not do that. I have others who need me. My attention has strayed from Douglas over the past two years and he has become aloof with me. We are still partners but something has been lost with the coming and going of so many other dogs. Tommy needs to be in the woods and the fields. I have been afraid to take him with the gang to the lake because I couldn't trust him to stay with us and I don't have the time to train and work with him. Thats not fare to him. At night he would jump up on the bed to be with me and I would keep putting him off due to his size. He would then sit and stare at me. I always have a flash light that I put under the pillow for potential mid night problems and when I would shine it on him after kicking him off the bed; I would find him still sitting there staring at me.. He got to me. All I had to do was say "ok, come on up Tommy." He instantly hopped up on the bed and lay down behind me. He loved to put his head against the back of mine. Of course that means he had half the pillow. Look at the photo above. Sweet dreams! So, you can see how these sweet dogs affect me. I guess my problem is how I view the circumstances of their stay with me. I know they will be moving on someday. And I know they will receive loving, caring parents who will nurture and care for them forever. But I have this incessant thought process that keeps telling me that "you've gained his trust and devotion and now you are sending him away." It's a feeling I can't get rid of. I become too attached to them. If they lived in a fenced in yard and stayed out there it would be different I think. But it's not that way. They gather about me each night and stay close to me; watching me; wondering when it is they're time to receive the scratch behind the ear or the ultimate; a bear hug from me. Tommy loved two arm bear hugs. He would bury his face in my neck and make those smacking sounds with his mouth. Tommy was picked up awhile ago and taken to his new parents. They will stay at a friends house with Tommy for the night. I have been invited to meet them but I would have to say goodby and walk away from Tommy. I've cried over too many dogs and I would cry for Tommy also. And in the morning, Tommy will be on his way to Maryland and his new life. Our paths probably will never cross again. He has gotten into my heart as many of them have. But Tommy's very special. I sometimes expected to hear him speak to me. I've known sweet dogs but none sweeter than you, Tommy. Tommy, Tommy; you're causing my throat to tighten up and you're making it difficult for me to see to write this. Farewell and good luck to you sweet one. It's been a privilage to be able to help you. And Tommy; as much as I love you, and as much as I'll miss and think of you; please understand that another has come first and his paw prints have left a forever impression on my heart that can never be replaced. We know who that is. Farewell sweet one. Farewell.....