Friday, June 02, 2006

G'boy / All Dogs Go To Heaven

Jenny got to go home and be with our mothers for Mother's Day, and I was unable to go. My responsibilities for the church simply did not allow it. And one of the things she said when she came back was, "Your puppy misses you." And I told her that the dog loves her, too, and she said yes, that he greated her warmly, but that when he was done he looked around for me. Ever since that day I've wanted to get home to see my family, including our Great Dane, Loki.

Well, a lot has happend since then. Loki had exploritory surgery intended to diagnose a chronic stomach disorder. And while they had him there they took a couple of x-rays. One of the x-rays was up high enough to see his esophogus--and that's how they found the mass. It turned out that he had a massive tumor in his esophogus, and he quickly became unable to swallow. They did everything they could for him, and I hoped to see him again... to say goodbye. But my responsibilites kept me here for the work day, and this morning Loki was a lot worse.

At 12:30 Loki went to the vet for the last time.

I didn't make it home in time.

I hope that Loki understood when Jenny told him that I love him. I hope that he wasn't still looking for me when he went off to die.

Loki loved my mother. He wasn't truly happy unless he was near her. And if she left the house for too long, Loki voiced his disapproval. Sometimes when Loki was being ornery my mom was the only one he would listen to. He made it known that she was the Matriarch.

Loki loved my wife. He would get so excited around her that he couldn't keep his head still, and while she would try to pet him, his head would bash her in the chest. And yet somehow she knew that this was love. When Jenny and I would take care of the house, and of Loki, while my parents were away, Jenny became Back-Up-Matriarch. He certainly would listen to her over me, any day.

Loki loved my father. He loved to "help oversee" when my father worked outside, and he would play all kinds of games with him. I think his favorite was the black hat. My father would wear this black hat with a wide brim to work. When he came home, Loki would meet him at the door and bark at him, because the black hat was scary. Loki would beg my father to chase him up the stairs in the black hat. And then my father would say, with no small amount of love in his voice. "Crazy dog!"

Loki loved my brother. Matthew would get down on the floor and hug him, and Loki would try to get away and jump on his head. But he especially loved sitting on my brother. Any time Matthew would sit on the couch, here would come Loki to sit on his lap! Mother kind of disapproved, and Matthew would complain about Loki's bony butt--but secretly we all knew that he liked it.

Loki loved me. When he was just a wee little puppy, I was the one who would sleep downstairs on the couch so he wouldn't be alone. I was the one who stood in the cardboard box that was his first home with us when he would cry from loneliness. I was the only one I've ever seen Loki kiss. And for some reason, Loki loved the smell of my belly button. This provided no end of entertainment for the rest of the family!

I think people will always debate whether or not pets have souls, or go to heaven. I could give you scriptures that make me think that maybe they do, for our sakes. But you can make scripture say anything you want it to. Our traditions seem to differ or are silent on the subject. Reason on its own can only get you so far--and reason has yet to pierce what Shakespeare called "the undiscovered country." That leaves us with personal experiences, and my experience is this:

Loki was full of love. He wanted to love everyone he ever met. And I can't believe that such love simply ends. So Loki, if you can hear me, know this: I love you. I miss you. I'm sorry I wasn't there. I'm glad that you aren't suffering any more. And I know in my heart that we will meet you again.

You're a good boy.


Chris said...

What a lovely tribute to Loki! Thank you for sharing that. My thoughts are with you and Jenny.

Leslie said...

You have my sincere sympathy on Loki's passing. Loosing a faithful friend is always hard.

Rev. Josh said...

Thank you all for your love and support. Your kind words mean a lot.