Monday, May 16, 2005


It's hard to describe how a puppy comes into your life, grows up, then gets old and comes a time when you have to end that dog's life in the name of love and compassion. Its a terrible moment and that moment came on Friday May 13 at about 4:00pm. Dickens was born on February 6, 1993 at an Amish puppy breeder near Womelsdorf, PA.

When we got Dickens he was actually placed in the name of my daughter, Olivia, who picked him out from all of his litter mates (Dickens had 10 brothers and sisters---one brother died shortly after his birth, however). Olivia was 4 at the time and her brother was not born until she was 6! So in her words--"I knew Dickens longer than my brother!"

When we were leaving the breeder the day we picked him up he was so small and vivacious and cute and Olivia wanted to sit in the front seat with him. Not knowing how he would react to automobile travel he sat on Deven's (my wife at the time) lap in the back seat. As we drove out he threw his little head back and howled for a few miles.

He worked his way into our lives and hearts in no time. He loved stealing stuffed animals out of then kid's rooms and when he was young we'd catch him tearing out of the kid's room with his "kill" sometimes twice his size dragging along.

He loved to drive in the car and he attended many meetings with me such as Bible Study, Vestry, Bishop's Bible Study and Commission on Ministry. He loved people and would bark at them as a greeting--rarely as an aggressive behavior. He also was very interested in other dogs and would whine from the car when he saw one walking along the street. He hated me when I would leave him in the car and register his protests by barking incessantly until he could no longer see me. This was often embarrassing to me when in a parking lot full of people. He worked with Lynne Wert (the secretary at St. Elizabeth's) most Tuesdays to help put together the worship material for our next Sunday liturgy.

He raised a kitten named "Mischief" who came to our home as an abandoned kitten when we lived in North Carolina. He and Mischief would lay in the floor chewing on each other and play hide and seek around the house. When Mischief would disappear, all we would have to do was walk Dickens around the neighborhood and Mischief would charge out to greet him---he liked Dickens far better than humans.

Dickens liked his "puppy biscuits" and would sit, shake, "high five", lay down and jump up on command when that was the reward. He was not the best house broken dog (he was unuetered) and we would have to confine him to the kitchen when leaving the house without him. A "puppy biscuit" would get him in the kitchen---although he walked VERY SLOWLY to the kitchen knowing that he would be alone at the end of eating his biscuit!

When I moved back from North Carolina I was alone and in a major life transition. He was a comfort and joy to me and never left my side the 5 years we have been back. He was starting to show pain in the last few months which I attributed to arthritis. But it was discovered that he had a malignant mass in his abdominal area which began on his spleen and had matasicized to his liver. It was the hardest decision I have ever made to end his life. But he was already under anesthesia and he would slip quietly and painlessly away from us.

When I die I hope that he is there waiting for me at the end of the proverbial "rainbow bridge" when he will undoubtedly give that shrill bark of welcome he always gave me when I came home after being gone a long while and will do his "welcome home" dance to welcome me to heaven.


At 11:22 AM, Blogger Nick+ said...

Truly lovely Scott. Thanks for sharing your memories of Dickens with the rest of us.

At 7:19 PM, Blogger Olivia said...

Awww, Dad, that was so nice to read. <3


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