I knew there was something not quite right when I called her Sunday afternoon for one of our routine father-daughter phone conversations. We don't see each other in person very often, but the phone conversations always fill my heart with joy as we share what is going on in our lives and update one another. When she answered the phone that afternoon, I knew something just wasn't right for she sounded so sad. As fathers do, however, I could I asked her what was wrong and I could hear a gentle sob as she said her Chopper was gone. He was her sidekick and her special friend for life, a happy dog who of late had some ailments as older dogs do, but he still had spunk and spirit as he carried forth to the end and I know he loved her as dearly as she loved him. So, I know right now there is a void in her heart that will take some time to fill, but she's a trooper of a good woman, fully filled with the Spirit and I know she will handle it well.
I asked if she would get another dog and she said not now and that her teenage daughter said she never wanted another one. I know that is because my granddaughter is also suffering from her long-time good little friend's loss. That's certainly no surprise and yes, they both need time to mourn their loss. But, as a father and grandfather who loves them both, I hope they will then find a new dog who needs a home, for while a new dog will never replace Chopper in their hearts, he or she will fill a void that, when filled, will bring another gift of love and joy to them as only dogs can do.
But what about Chopper? Well, Chopper is the only one we don't have to worry about, for he is on the other side of the rainbow bridge, digging holes, getting into a little innocent mischief and getting to know all those great canines that preceded him. He is as happy as a lark in the warmth of the sunlight that is found in his new home. And he will never forget those who loved him, both my daughter and granddaughter, and will come running across that beautiful bridge, tail wagging and barking with excitement when their time on earth is also done. You see, dogs make the word go 'round, but they also have a place in heaven for those who loved them because they become part of their heart and soul. And Chopper, enjoy that big bone you've found and that pure spring water by the bridge instead of out of a bowl. You deserve it, so enjoy. Woof, woof!