Today is a day we've been dreading for quite some time. It's the day we said goodbye to Dover, our 21-year-old poodle.
|Image captured using Wayback Machine
I'm pretty sure he wondered who had stolen his wife's phone. But instead he texted back, "Okay."
Lesson #1 - What you can, do, what you can't, don't.
|Dover's favorite napping spot
After a couple days we learned he can only eat wet dog food. He can't go on long walks. He won't ring a bell or bark to be let out to go to the bathroom. He doesn't want to be petted or sit in anyone's lap. But he can climb stairs. He can watch TV with us. He can go on a leisurely stroll sniffing and exploring as he goes. And boy can he sleep.
Lesson #2 - Don't whine, just try.
Lesson #3 - Your looks aren't why people love you.
In a world that values youth and beauty, I think we can be more like Dover and say, "Here I am, warts and all!" And we can still be loved for who we are.
Lesson #4 - Communicate your needs.
|Dover's bathroom spot in the snow.
Dover was an incredibly quiet dog. As a result it was hard to know when he needed something. But he found a way to let us know when he wanted to eat or go outside--usually it was a gentle nudge on our leg.
|Dover asleep after watching a certain Englishman working from home.
|Dover's space after he passed.
Dover's nickname was "Grumpy Old Man." He wasn't snuggly. He wasn't friendly. He was ugly. He was stubborn.
He was also patient. He was consistent. He was loyal. He was curious. He was kind.
Dover came to us as a sickly 18-year-old rescue. He was living on borrowed time, and I think somehow he knew that. We continually were shocked that he survived another week, then another month, then another season, and then another year. I think he might have thought his name was "You're still alive?" He heard it so often.
And yet, he still managed to work his way into our hearts despite all of his foibles and limitations. He worked with what he had and still managed to teach us lessons about life. I don't know how old I'm going to live to be, but if I end up to live to be the equivalent of a 21-year-old poodle, I hope I can live so that I'll be missed when I am gone.
We miss you already, Dover. May you rest in peace.