I lost my dog on Friday. I don’t mean we left the gate open and he wandered away. We lost him because we took him to the vet, held him and cried as the doctor sent him to a place I hope to go someday, too. It has left a hole in our hearts as big as his heart was.
Bogart was a Basset Hound. The common characteristics of this wonderful breed are stubbornness, loyalty, kindness and deep, deep love of children, food and family. And this dog was not short on any of those traits. Many years ago, we had a flock of ducks that waited at our fence for their morning bread. One of the ducks was exceptionally tiny and the other ducks pecked and poked at that poor little thing, trying to keep her from having any of the bread. The little duck was a gutsy little thing, though, and would push its way through the flock to the front. Then it would push its way through the slats of the fence and actually come into our yard to eat her bread in peace. And Bogart let her. He didn’t let any of the others come through the fence except for that one tiny duck, who we named Little Bit. If any of the larger, bullying ducks tried coming through, Bogart barked them right back out. He seemed to understand Little Bit’s problem and took up the cause for her. They soon became bosom buddies. Little Bit would swim around in our pool as if it were her own little pond, and Bogart would sit on the pool’s edge and cock his head watching her. Then, after she’d had her morning swim, the two would laze under the palm trees, cooled by the South Florida breeze, and fall into a state of perpetual bliss. Side by side.
Eventually, Little Bit became too big, (thanks to many slices of bread) to come through the slats, but that didn’t stop her from coming to our patio. She flew over the fence railing and landed in our pool as if she were a sea plane. Talk about Bogart cocking his head at that! It was quite a feat and he was quite impressed.
After a couple of years, Little Bit came around a little bit less and less. Until finally she came no more. I told myself that she’d found her prince and that there were a lot of little little bits swimming around on the other side of the canal. And oddly enough, I noticed Bogart didn’t look for her. I wondered if he knew that she’d not be coming back. I wondered if animals have some universal language that they all understand, no matter the breed. And, if that was indeed the case, I wondered why we humans couldn’t have that same universal understanding of each other even when we do speak the same language. There was much to be learned through the relationship of that unlikely pair.
I never saw Little Bit again, just as I’ll never see Bogart again – on this earthly plane, anyway. But, someday, I fully expect to see the two of them sitting together, enjoying a heavenly breeze beneath an exquisite palm tree. Then I’ll know I’ve made it to heaven. All things considered, I had a little bit of heaven with the two of them right here on earth. And all because of an angel named Bogart.
*This blog is a re-release that has been revived!