“There is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
And when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and Sisters, I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.”
Rudyard Kipling – The Power of a Dog
The picture above may be blurry, but this is the Harley that I knew and loved. A merry little dog who couldn’t get enough love or attention. Today, Harley joined his sister Snickers, adopted brother Mookie and my dog Rascal in what I hope is a better place. He was a silly little goof ball who until he was almost 13 didn’t realize that he was no longer a youngster. A dog that woke up every morning expecting attention and toast – in that order. A dog that lived his life to the fullest and who really only changed when his sister was no longer there to protect him.
Harley was not a tough dog. He was a lover, not a fighter. I’ve written about this before, but anytime that I saw Harley, he was always beyond excited to see me – so much so, that he’d spray me with pee, but how could I be mad at someone so happy to see me! He was a sweetheart that was playful but never really got the hang of playing. Throw a ball to Harley and it would roll on past him. Instead, he’d look at you, with his big brown eyes, wagging his stub of a tail (even for a Cocker Spaniel it was a little small) wanting attention, not game play. Put a stuffed animal in front of him, he moved away. Harley cared about treats and attention – he didn’t have time for anything else.
I wrote about Harley before, in a blog entry called “Harley and Me”. From that entry:
“I always wondered why dogs live such a short life compared to humans. The best answer that I’ve ever heard came from an article on lgd.org courtesy of vet Linda Bobo. She was putting down a family dog and after, she and the family wondered about the very same thing. The family’s four year old son came up with the following: “Everybody is born so that they can learn how to live a good life – like loving everybody and being nice, right? Well, animals already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.”
Today, my sister, niece and nephew are experiencing the heartbreak that comes with losing a cherished family member. As hard as it is, I hope that knowing that they did the right thing for little Harley will bring them comfort. They loved the dog with all of their hearts. I’ll miss him too. But, it’s still worth “giving a dog your heart to tear” for all of the unconditional love and joy that they bring. I will always be grateful to have had Harley for a furry nephew. Good bye my sweet Harley.