We lost a good friend today, our eleven year old Boston Terrier, Bruno.
Losing a family pet is a tough experience, even when you know he's lived a full and fulfilling life, and was loved by all. Bruno certainly qualified on all those counts.
I was never a dog person growing up -- I was allergic to pet hair, and so dogs were right out. As I grew older, however, my allergies lessened, and Paula and I began to experience the joys of dogs.
Bruno was our second Boston, and he really captured my heart with his irrepressible personality. Never have I seen an animal so play motivated -- and his game was fetch. Every person in the family every day had at least one opportunity to toss a rubber bone or throw a tennis ball to Bruno -- a woe to he who made that first toss, because this dog didn't know the meaning of the word "stop". I don't think he would have passed up a good game of fetch in exchange for even his second greatest love -- cheese (which sometimes, mysteriously, would fall from the kitchen counter and onto the floor at his feet).
And Bruno's fetch game had rules.
Rule number one was, he wasn't giving up the toy to you easily. If you grabbed it while still in his mouth, you were playing tug-of-war. If ignored, he would drop the item of interest on the floor at your feet, and begin to handicap you. The longer you remained impassive, the further he would back up, until he was a dozen or more feet away. Then, and only then, could you grab the toy without a battle. Ignoring him further only caused whimpering and, eventually, barking. "Hey, did you notice? I put a toy down there. Yeah! Right there on your shoe. You should make a grab for it and see if you can get it before I do," he seemed to say.
Rule number two was, you weren't allowed to stop playing once you started. He was tireless in his play, and his pure enjoyment of the game was a pleasure to watch. I saw him wear out many guests to the house, but I don't ever remember Bruno being the one to stop the game.
That's how I do and will remember him -- a wild and playful pooch. And I'll miss him.
King of Fetch, rest in peace.