Written by Chet Piotrowski, Jr.
Originally appeared in the Effingham Daily News
He showed me it’s okay to change my mind. He disliked the car moving the first few months after I adopted him and his bonded brother Odie. He cried and cried. I can imagine the hurt of having to be set free from one human companion after another and thinking here’s one more human giving up on me. After Odie passed, he assumed the passenger side seat as if it was his personal throne. His dedicated chariot complete with plush blankets to fall asleep on and fun-sized bags of biscuits to tide him over between sirloins.
He taught me that having different friends - tall friends, small friends, wide friends, and curly-haired friends - all created fun without predisposition. We had neighbors who had a much tinier pup named Zeus. Zeus was one-third Yoshi’s size. He was black and white and pranced around like a deer. One day they were following each other and Yoshi hiked his leg up. Zeus wanted a sniff as dogs are in the habit to - and Yoshi - went potty on his friend’s face.
He taught me respecting personal space isn’t a dog’s best trait but a necessary human one. Yoshi never met someone he didn’t like, nor a dog he didn’t want to chat with. He would get vocal when I wouldn’t let him meet and greet. I tried teaching him that we had to respect everyone’s personal space, that we couldn’t go around sniffing butts whenever we felt like it. I failed him in this regard.
I look at his collar laying on my bed where he used to sleep and try to hold to the premise that he'll be ok without me – that he doesn't need me to weigh him every Wednesday, that I don't need to worry about making meals that are low-sugar and/or low-carbohydrate as to not feed the lymphoma, that I don't have to worry about scheduling a photo shoot at his pick-up time, that I don't have to worry about him suffering anymore.
He taught me that love is eternal.
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