Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Softest Ears … and how I will miss them :: Anne McAllister

MVC-846FYesterday was my only daughter and oldest child’s birthday, and so always one of the happiest days of every year.  Yesterday was also the day our beautiful golden retriever, Micah, bid us an earthly goodbye and so, also, this year a day of sorrow.

Because I am such a ‘dog person’ I can’t let him go without sharing what a great dog he was, how much love he gave to everyone he met, and how blessed we feel we were to have had him for 10 of his 11 years. 

MVC-094FHe came to us at 14 months because his first human couldn’t keep him due to a sudden health crisis. It about tore him apart to give up Micah – and he’d had him barely a year. For us it feels ten times that hard because he’s been a part of the family so long.

Micah was the sixth golden to make us his family.  He arrived as the ‘middle child’ between a four month old golden puppy, Mitch, and the six year old flatcoat, Gunnar. He had been used to being an only dog and was the ‘stud’ of his neighborhood.  I was a bit apprehensive about how he would fit in. Gunnar did not suffer annoyance gladly and Mitch bounced on everything and everyone.

micah trimmedMicah took it all in stride.  He was properly respectful of Gunnar, let Mitch bounce on him and wrestled and tussled with him for the rest of his life.  He became an enchanting ‘middle dog’ who never demanded the rights of the alpha but certainly could have – he was the biggest and strongest of them all. 

But Micah was a ‘live and let live’ sort of guy.  He charmed everyone who came in the house because a) he didn’t bounce on them and b) he didn’t look suspiciously at them and mostly c) he made everyone feel as if they were the best person to ever walk in this house and he would remember them forever (especially if they gave him a treat or a back scratch or an ear rub). 

Christmas 2004 3 dogsMicah loved back scratches and ear rubs (and treats, he would remind you. Especially treats).  I spent much of the last day scratching his back and rubbing his ears.  He would no longer eat treats, though his eyes told me how much he wished that he could.  But he got lots of back scratching and ear rubs right to the end. 

He had the softest ears in the world.  No one could walk past him without wanting to rub his ears. 

Now I will think of him running in the meadow, fully able to do all the things he once did – and even I’m’ sure, in his version of heaven, beat Mitch to the tennis balls everyone threw for them. Now I think of him walking for miles without his arthritic knees hurting.  Now I think of him shrugging his shoulders in ecstasy over his shoulder rubs, not holding himself tensely together. Now he will be able once more to rejoice in life to the fullest.

Micah last portraitThanks for a wonderful decade, Micah. And thank you all reading this for letting me celebrate the joy of his existence here on the Tote Bags & Blogs space.  I wish for all of you the unstinting unconditional love of a dog like Micah. 

My youngest son, at age 12, said about our first golden, “He really does improve the quality of life around here, Mom.”

He did.  So did Micah. 

I will always miss them.


Pat Cochran said...

My condolences on the loss of your
furry boy. He was a very beautiful
Golden Lab. Niece has two LARGE
Labs, daughter has a Lab mix plus
two Great Danes and son has a Lab
mix. So I guess we are a Lab family
also.They are such sweet creatures!

Connie said...

God love you and Micah. I have lost many pets over the years, but the one that hurt the most was my beloved Sarah, our golden retriever. She was my heart and my soul and I miss her to this day. If there truly is a Heaven, I know she will be waiting for me one day. Keep good memories of your baby.

Kaelee said...

Anne I'm sorry to hear about Micah passing away. You have a lot of beautiful photos and even more wonderful memories. Pets bring us such joy during their lives and such sorrow when they pass on. The sorrow is sharp right now but the memories will soften it. Micah was a beautiful dog.

erin said...

What a beautiful tribute. As a dog mom myself, I totally and completely understand. It's a cruel twist of life that dogs are such wonderful companions and "kids" but live such short lives. The only consolation that I can offer is that he knew he was loved and that's such a tremendous gift for any creature 4 legged and 2 legged.

Cathy P said...

Anne, I am so sorry for your loss of Micah. I have had many beloved dogs in my life and it is always difficult to bid them goodbye since they are a part of the family. We lost our oldest Toy Fox Terrier in May, and are still grieving for her.

Anne McAllister said...

Pat, thank you so much for your comment. Your family sounds as if you all have lots of beloved dogs, too. May you have as many wonderful memories of them as we have of Micah. He was truly special.

Anne McAllister said...

Connie, I believe you and Sarah will be together one day. She sounds like a truly wonderful companion. I'm glad you have memories to carry with you always. Thanks for your kinds words.

Anne McAllister said...

Kaelee, you're absolutely right about us having lots of memories and photos (and a lot of very blond hair still all over the house!), and we will cherish them as we did him. Yes, the sorrow is sharp now, but I wouldn't trade it away. You always know when you get a dog that someday you will lose him or her. It's worth the price of pain to have all those wonderful times of togetherness. Thanks for your understanding.

Anne McAllister said...

Erin, thank you! Yes, he was indeed loved deeply, and he returned that love and affection a hundredfold. He was a great example of how to approach the world -- with grace and joy and enthusiasm. I am sure you have wonderful memories of your dogs, too.

Anne McAllister said...

Cathy, I'm so sorry for your loss of your beloved Toy Fox Terrier. I know you will always grieve for her in some part of your heart. But like me, you will cherish the memories and go on -- trying, as a friend of mine said, to be the person your dog thinks you are. Micah was sure I was wonderful. He certainly made me better than I would be without him. Thank you for sharing your experience with your beloved dog.