SAYING "UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN"

Growing up with dogs all my life, I've had to say, "Until we meet again," too many times. It's the sad reality of being the parent of a four-legged, furry kid. Dogs have and will always occupy a very spot in my soul. I can't walk down the street without trying to say hi or offer a scratch  to a dog, especially if we make eye contact and I get a tail wag back. I try and tell myself that while we always have to say "until we meet again" too soon, it's because our dogs offer up so much love in a relatively short span of time. It doesn't make grieving any easier. Selfishly, I don't ever want that reciprocal love to end. But each time, I tell myself to absorb that love and carry it with me for the rest of my life. Each dog I've ever had the privilege of having in my life has taught me something valuable and so I'm thankful for every day I've spent with my buddies.

Today, I had to say "until we meet again" to my little man, Harley. That guy. He had such a hard beginning to life. And yet, he gave and gave in his own way. He was small, but he carried a load that would make Atlas sweat. His heart was huge. His love, bottomless. 

I'll still never forget the day I met him. He was such a little guy. A coworker had just rescued him from a series of bad situations and had brought him to a meeting. It was love at first site -- for me at least. Harley was not so sure, but given his situation, I understood why he was leery of trusting. Fast forward a couple of months, and we were welcoming Harley into our home. He instantly bonded with our greyhound, Ollie. Brothers! But his bond with Jen was even stronger. Jen was his person. 

As I mentioned above, Harley carried a load that would make Atlas sweat. When Ollie got really sick, Harley wouldn't leave his side. He comforted Ollie and he protected Ollie. When Ollie passed, Harley became depressed. He loved his brother Ollie so much. We later welcomed Mulligan into our home and Harley and Mulligan had their own relationship. It was different, but it was clear Harley welcomed Mulligan as a brother. A few years later, we welcomed a new family member to our family, but we also had to say "until we meet again" to Mulligan, who left us too soon after getting sick suddenly in what felt like a cruel repeat of what happened to Ollie. With a baby in the house, we weren't ready to also bring on another four-legged family member too. This had an effect on Harley but he focused on loving his girl. Harley showed patience with his baby that he didn't offer to many others. To the very end of his chapter with us, he was so patient with his girl. 

Over the past year or so, Harley's mood and behavior began to change. We attributed his changes to growing old, but after today's event, it's possible there was something neurological going on. We can't say and don't need to know if it was a brain tumor, we love Harley no matter what. 

Today started as any regular day. I took my boy Harley outside before heading to work. I told him he was a good boy. I gave him some pets, a couple of treats, and a kiss before putting him on the bed so he could snuggle with Jen. I headed into work and went about my morning. Midday, Jen and I received a call from our dog walker. She had bad news. Harley had seized. It looked bad and she was taking him to an emergency vet clinic. My heart sank. We each made our way to the clinic with heavy hearts.

When I finally got to the clinic, a team of people were working to stabilize Harley but the seizures were too much for his little body.  At 2.07p, we said, "Until we meet again." I love that little guy. His furry self. His frowny little chin. His underbite which made his bottom front teeth stick out. His big, round loving eyes. His smart brain. His dog smell. His tiny little breath. His small, but emphatic kisses. His snoring. His unequivocal love and his huge heart. His funny little barks. The way he dug in the sand. The way he liked to roll around in the grass. His unpredictable bouts of the "zoomies" in the back yard. I love everything about you Harley. And some day, I WILL see you again.

Harley Fung (01 August 2007 - 13 October 2016)

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