Acceptance is often crucial in our lives. We want to be accepted by our families, friends, employers and our schools. We never know how any of them will react, judge or treat us. With all the things we worry about in our daily lives, it would be nice to have one less thing to be concerned about. We hope to find someone who will always be there, who will always want our attention and won’t care what kind of mood we are in. We hope that we can find these qualities in a human being, but they can be always be found in a pet and in my case specifically, a dog.
“He was an American Bulldog named Harley.”
He was an American Bulldog named Harley. We adopted him from a rescue center a few miles out of town. He was just a few weeks old when my future ex-wife and I picked him out and took him home. We moved into the house that I have lived in now for 10 years. We had no fence, but there was plenty of room in the house for him to run around. And for pets, they love to make themselves at home. Harley would sleep at the foot of the bed when we turned in for the night or sometimes just when he felt like it.
A lot can change in 10 years. We would welcome a son into the world. We would go from driving a 2 door car to a SUV. We would hit hard times, loss of employment, bankruptcy, and divorce. But there was always one consistency – Harley. He was there through the good times, bad times and the rough times. He was there when I could barely take care of myself and when I didn’t know if we would have a home. Harley was there always there to keep me company or make me smile. He was always there whether I was married, in a relationship or living the single life.
He was there when I was able to rediscover who I was. He didn’t care what I looked like – if my hair was longer or if my chest was a bit more endowed. He was just happy to be there. I would like to think the last 6 months were the best for Harley. My girlfriend treated him well. He got his share of doggy treats and he loved basking in the sun of an early spring.
Unfortunately, this spring would be his last. Harley passed on Saturday, April 16th as I was on my way to work. My girlfriend would have tell me the sad news. My fear was that it would happen soon as I headed out the door that morning. The pain of losing Harley was a lot for me to deal with. It was difficult to hold back the tears. My girlfriend knew how overwhelming this was going to be for me. She laid him to rest in the backyard, wrapped in a blanket made for me many years ago by my grandparents. He had slept on it for most of his life, so it was only appropriate that he be buried with something made with love. And it only seemed appropriate to be buried under the one dogwood tree in my yard that fought to survive all these years.
“your pets don’t care how you identify to the world.”
As I fight the tears back writing this, just remember your pets don’t care how you identify to the world. They love you without conditions. They are there through the good times and the bad times. They accept you for who you are, whoever that may be. But the most important thing to remember is that while they are here for only part of your life, you are there for all of theirs, so make the most of their life and they will make the most of yours.