Old Dogs and Falling Leaves

I opened the door and she was sitting there. She was young and full of mischief and energy. She ran strong and loud and I named her Harley. Harley Anne.

Harley was the worst puppy I ever had. She ate shoes and toothbrushes, hoses and the wires inside the lawnmower. She dug holes and escaped yards. She was a whirlwind of destruction. Sweet, loving destruction.

Harley was the best dog I ever had. She was a gentle giant and stood by me through the growing pains that got me here. Her love was constant and unflinching, even when it should not have been.

She made me a better man. She taught me responsibility when I thought I already knew it. She taught me that it was almost always better to forgive than to fight. She calmed me when I was angry and soothed me when I was sad. I am a man of many edges and she kept me from growing too sharp.

She cared for my sons like some fictional dog from a storybook. She showed them patience when I had none. She was both their protector and their pillow. My boys have never known a day without her.

She was sixteen. She couldn’t run or whirl or destroy anything more than the carpet beneath her. She was too frail to protect and too tender to rest a head upon. She was tired.

Despite the loss of muscle and the growing amount of lumps upon her chest she never showed signs of pain, only sighs of frustration at a body that quit before she did.

Yesterday she whimpered non-stop.

Neighbors stopped by to check on her. Dogs stood at the gate and gazed upon her. I sent the boys out to play and I sat with my old dog. Her breathing grew labored, her eyes distant. She died in my arms, no longer young or strong, but old and tired and leaving a life well-lived. A life well-loved.

And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.

Her legacy is a tribute to her. Everyone that met her left a little happier than they came. My sadness is tempered in this solace. My loneliness finds comfort there.

Today I will stand beneath a grove of trees surrounded by friends and neighbors. I will place my dog in a hole in the ground – one that she would be proud of, and I will say goodbye. She will rest there forever, beneath falling leaves and drops of rain, and the occasional tear when memories lead me there.

Rest well, Harley Anne.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge

This is My Book:
This is Where You Buy It:

This is the Best of Me:
When Stuffed Animals Die * From Forever to the Sea * Between the Groundwork and Soft Foreshadows * Son of Tucson * To Seattle, With Love * There's Never Stopping in a White Zone * Stars Upon Thars * Things We Do Like The Dickens * 26.2 * Of Mice, Men & Murder as a Lullaby * When We've First Begun * The Night Kitchen * Of Walking the Line * A Brother & His Keeper * World Where We Live * Business Socks * An Award by any Other Name * Choose Your Own Adventure * The Bite of Bread & Bunnies * Between the Channels * A Band of Brothers * A Dog Day Afternoon and Into the Night * Between the Wood & Frozen Lake * Po-tate-o, Po-taut-o * Tales of a Playground Loner * Waiting on Norman * There's a Sad Sort of Clanging From the Clock Down the Hall * Occupy Childhood * Backyard and the Twilight * FOUR! * For Ghosts of Christmas Past * An Open Letter to Atticus * An Open Letter to Zane * The Road Also Rises * And Scene * For Tomorrow May Rain * New Toilet Training * The Middle of the Moon * Sunday in a Sandbox * A Note on Friendship * A Mother's Arms are Made of Tenderness & Children Sleep Soundly in Them * I'm Going to Carry This Weight a Long Time * A Handy Guide for Young Lovers and Careless Swimmers * One Long True Sentence That I Added Punctuation To * Of Negatives, Positives & the Sparks Between * Of Peanuts and Cracker Jack and the Fences We Swing For * Left for Dead by a Prattling Brook * Stuffing Sorries in a Sack * Parenting on a Budget (Or the Lack Thereof) * A Long Day & Many Short Years * Bad News for Beautiful Mornings * The Roughness of Sand is Relative * A Simple Season of Starlight and Splendor * An Introduction to Terror * California Dreamin' * The Sound of Settling * 40 * On Means to the End * How to Cry on Valentine's Day * In Defense of Boys * This Old Night * Once They Sang Like Peacocks * The Day Was Mixed With Foul and Rye * Small Steps in the Starlight * Two Note * The Springtime of Our Youth * Zane's Trains & Deadlinemobiles * Put One Foot in Front of the Other * Rainy Days & Mondays * Of Seasons and Fleeting * And Children Get Older, Too * You Know We'll Have a Good Time Then
This is Where I Write:
This is Entertainment:
This is Where I Pin Stuff:
Follow Me on Pinterest
This is Video:
Subscribe to me on YouTube
These are Pictures:
This is Where I Tumble for Ya:
This is for the Twhitterpated:
This is XY Media:


This is Where You Validate My Life:

This is Where You Look for Stuff:
This is Where You Follow My Feed:
This is What Johnny Cash Thought:

This is Some News Thing: