It’s only been a few weeks, but I’m still looking out the front door expecting to see him hanging around that way. Major lived a stone’s throw from us.
He was a regular visitor to our home almost every day during his later years. He had his own food and water dishes in our house, and the pantry had dog treats.
The big black Labrador recently crossed the Rainbow Bridge after a good and long life. He left this earth in his owner’s lap, a fitting departure for a much-loved dog.
What sets him apart from other dogs is that his life began in a prison. He was part of a prisoner training program and was later put up for adoption. He found the perfect home with his human family.
All I know is that he had the best temper of any animal I’ve ever met. The only time I heard him bark was when a strange vehicle approached his home and his beloved Emily was nearby.
He was a gentle giant among his race, but I don’t think anyone would have challenged him if he had taken a protective stance.
In his younger years, Major wandered away from his farm and his family could be heard calling his name in our nearby woods. He always came back. He just felt the need to patrol the neighborhood.
Major caused no harm, but brought much joy to those who met him. When he dropped to our feet as we sat on lawn chairs, he had a unique way of crossing his front legs as if praying.
He didn’t care for cats or deer that came into his garden, but he never hurt any of them. When his family brought chickens to the property, he would sit in the yard near their pen and simply watch over them. Even when the chickens wandered outside, he let them have their freedom without interruption.
As the aging process progressed on Major, his all-black face began to show tufts of gray. In his last days, when his breathing became labored, we often took him home. Or his owner would put him in his truck to spare him the ride home in the summer heat.
Whether you are a dog or cat lover, or any other pet lover, you understand how much your pets are part of your family. Losing such good and loyal companions is difficult.
For every Major who passed away, there are dozens of other dogs and cats sitting in your local animal shelter waiting for their forever home. Maybe you’ll be lucky enough to bring one home and feel the unconditional love it offers.
Heather Ziegler can be contacted by email at [email protected]