I buried an old and faithful friend yesterday. Sixteen years ago, as my future wife and I were finishing up our final semester of law school, I came up with the remarkably shortsighted idea of getting her a puppy. So, off we went to the local SPCA, and came away with a black lab mix – a lively little bundle with a smooth black coat, soft puppy belly, and needle sharp puppy teeth. We named him Wilson – his namesake was the university’s provost, who would soon be giving us our diplomas. We couldn’t begin to imagine what we would experience together over the next sixteen years.Yesterday, Wilson stretched out for a nap in the sunshine on our deck, and didn’t wake up. Many memories washed over me as I dug his grave in a quiet corner of our backyard. My favorite is him chasing after a tennis ball with my parents’ golden retriever, Deacon. Deacon would come loping back to us dutifully bearing the slobbery tennis ball; Wilson would inevitably return a few steps behind with a mouthful of fur from Deacon’s tail.Deacon has been gone for several years now, and it’s been almost as long since Wilson has been up to chasing after anything. But, he seemed to accept his body’s gradual deterioration in the same graceful manner with which he accepted the fact that the four children that entered our lives after his arrival would take his place in the spotlight.
Goodbye, Wilson, and thank you.