You’re My Best Friend

Another post about death and dying.

Another post about the wonder of dogs.

Hat tip to my old friend Anthony for bringing this article to my attention (warning: even the most dog-neutral among you are going to have a tough time reading this without emotion).

All the way from Iowa comes this story, which at once shatters and then restores the heart, about a man wanting to reunite with his dog. On his death bed. Semi-miraculously, it happened. Here is an excerpt:

“In my 31 years as paramedic I’ve never seen anything like it.  This dog, from the moment she got in the vehicle to the time we arrived, she was shrieking and howling.  I think she sensed what was happening.  When we got to the Hospice House she walked right through the doors and led us straight to his room as if she’d been there many times before.”

Erceg says what happened next left her and the Hospice House staff in tears.

“When the dog jumped on the bed she literally poured herself over him,” says Erceg.  “Kevin was unconscious but I kept putting his hands on the dog’s head and guiding him to stroke her.  After a few attempts, Kevin started moving his fingers on his own and petting the dog.  Yurt seemed overjoyed to be connecting with him, licking his face and neck and arms and then Kevin’s eyes came open.  There was a recognition there of what was happening.  Everyone in the room was overcome with emotion.”

Read the entire piece here.

Look at those eyes. The eyes, of course, never lie. And anyone who has had a dog knows that no other creature is capable of looking into you the way a dog does. Dogs, I’ve concluded –and I know I am far from the first to make this observation– are all soul. There is no guise, no agenda. Unless being in your presence and giving/receiving love is an agenda which, I reckon, it is. A transparent, redemptory agenda.

And this story provides me with the opportunity to celebrate anothing thing I respect and cherish: Hospice. The work that these people do, and the comfort and care they are able to lend us, is as close to anything I’ve seen that actually attains the teachings of Christ, that semi-influential Socialist.

Reading about and thinking about death these past few days does not necessarily impart heavy or lugubrious feelings. When one can observe the sort of kindness and grace some of us are able to offer, and which dogs make careers out of, is a ceaseless reminder of what we can do, and should seek to attain. Or at least strive to recognize and celebrate.