My mother's dog got sick, and had to be put down today. Little Bear was a very good dog. He was my mother's dog, of 13 years, but once he was mine. I haven't seen him in years- since we lived in Northern Virginia, and I drove home to New Jersey to visit my mother and dog. My daughter was about 2 years old then. So, that means it had been 6 years. I missed half his life. But, I loved him.
My friend's family called the house to tell us that there was a sign posted in a local restaurant, "Golden Retriever Purebreed Puppies for Sale". I drove with my dad to see them, and I feel in love. It was a lot of money, but I bought him. He pranced around the house with huge paws. And, I named him "Little Bear" because he reminded me of a little brown bear. He wasn't easy to train, but I took him to puppy school. My dad was the one who housebroke him. He was a bundle of energy, as most retrievers are. He slept on my bed with me. He was naughty and ate toilet paper off the roll. I suppose that I attach a lot of my memories of Bear with the last years of my dad's life here on earth. My favorite photo album is of Bear, because there are so many pictures of him with my father.
I met my husband to be- the year my dad died, and the following summer, I moved to Wyoming to be with him. I couldn't leave my mother alone. It was heartbreaking, but I gave her my dog. And, she needed him. She took him on walks nearly every day of his life, after that. She would put me on the phone every once in a while, so the dog could hear my voice.
We got married in New Jersey, and I have a wedding picture with my dog.
My husband and I moved back to New Jersey and lived with my mom, after only a year. We brought my husband's bird, BoBo with us and he liked Bear a lot. He even sat on Bears back. And, Bear was gentle, and wouldn't think of harming Bobo. We had my daughter while living at my mom's and Bear use to love to clean up under the high chair. He was good with my daughter. He ate her baby socks and left colorful poops in the yard, which was really gross, but also funny!
We moved away again, and just close enough for a visit or two. I haven't been home since then, in over 6 years.
But, he was nearly 13. And, he wasn't really my dog anymore. He was my mother's companion and friend. But, he was one of the best dogs that I had the pleasure to know and love.