Your Pet Loss Stories

'An Unlikely Story'

by Steve Conroy
(Chicago, IL)

Where do I start? It was an unlikely journey and wasn't meant to be a close one. You see I have always been a dog owner but have a preference for Miniature Schnauzers, and was on the beginning of my third long term friendship with my one. I liked them because they were small and easy to take care of, but this is not a story about any of them.

My brother and I moved in together. We both had old dogs, a Schnauzer and a Springer Spaniel and neither of them had lived with another dog so they simply occupied the same house. When those two passed a month apart, all of that changed. I had a new puppy and my brother also had a new puppy. All of my experiences previously with a Springer were not that great. Stories of chewed couch arms and holes in beds preceded this little guy from the guy he replaced.

What I had not counted on was a little boy named Wrigley - although I never called him that; I always called him "Wiggie.” From day one, he started to steal my heart. I don't know exactly how to describe him other than to say he was a sweet boy. As time went on, he became one of my sweet boys, and the two dogs started to share my heart equally.

I had retired so I was home with both of them. My brother still worked and he would "tuck" Wiggie in with us each morning when he left for work. For an active dog, he slid into bed without a peep, and most days I didn't realize that he was there until I woke. When I woke, he woke, always stretching and rolling around on the bed. When my feet hit the ground, so did his, and he was by my side all day.

I was working part-time, and his cage was next to my desk. He spent most of the time in his cage during the day, supervising my work and keeping a eye open for doggies on TV. He knew when I was in pain and was the first one to suggest a nap when it was time. When I had trouble walking and fell a couple of times, he got in the habit of walking next to me and holding me up. He never made a big deal of it or even let me know what he was doing; he always seemed to be "just there" when I stumbled.

He initiated a thing called "bread break" to make sure I got up and moved from time to time (he also loved bread).

My health has started to deteriorate and there were days when it was tough for me to go on. Every time things got rough, he was the one that lifted my spirits by a nudge or a tug on the sleeve or a lick on the face.

He died today, and the loss is raw. I know that we will get a new dog when we are ready because that is just who we are. We are dog people, and we have too much love to give to not share it with someone else.

It will never replace what we had, there is no replacement and I know that.

I can't do it now but I want to remember the joy he brought me and the smiles he brought to my face. I long for the time when I can do that - some day.

Yes, an unlikely story, but one of the best of my life. Here is to you, sweet baby boy, for the joy you bought and the full life you lived in a short time.

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