It was a cold morning In South Texas, when I received the call. Driving to Mom’s house, a few tears were shed. I was feeling a little guilty. Telling myself, I could have done more. Once there, I got out of the truck and that cold chilling wind hit me. It kind of gave me a jolt, and brought my thoughts back to the present.
I knocked on the door and greeted my Mother, “Good morning Mom.” Mom replied, “She is in the back Son. I found her that way this morning.” I walked through the kitchen and out the back garage door. She was laying just a few feet away.
That moment has forever been frozen in my mind. Seeing her there. Everything seemed so serene. The dry frosted grass cradled her, as a light wind whipped her fur about. She seemed so at peace. As I stood gazing at her, for a few precious minutes, the rest of the world left us. It was just Bandit and I, alone with my thoughts.
I knelt beside her and took her in my arms. She was still warm. I carried her out behind the shed. Lay her down, and picked up the shovel I had brought with me. With each thrust of the shovel into the cold hard ground, thoughts of Bandit kept spilling forth.
I remembered she got her name from stealing socks out of the laundry basket as a puppy. Plus she wore that black mask that Mother Nature had given her. She was a Norwegian Elk Hound. I remembered on one of our walks she broke loose chasing a rabbit. I remembered she would walk me to work, and be back there at quitting time to walk me home.
One day though she wasn’t at work to walk me home. That day I hurried home. She was in the yard carrying a lifeless puppy. She had given birth to a litter of pups. She walked towards me and laid the pup at my feet. I picked the pup up and could see those relentless Texas fire ants had got to it. Bandit’s face and mouth were also covered with ant bites. Her eyes searched mine, as if she was asking if there was anything that could be done. I just took her in my arms and told her, “No Bandit, you did everything you could. I will take it from here.”
Searching the yard, I found another five pups that had met the same fate. Bandit had frantically moved her pups everywhere trying to keep them away from the ants. I hadn’t seen that one coming. I had let my dog down that day. I buried her pups with her looking on, and now I am burying her. I always bury my own, no matter what. I figure, my four legged companions are owed that much.
Taking her in my arms for the last time, I gently lay Bandit in her final resting place. With one last look at Bandit, I began to cover her up one shovel full of dirt at a time until I could see her no more. All the while, remembering times spent with her until the burying was done. Kneeling next to her graveside, I said a prayer. Then I stood up and leaned on the shovel handle trying to catch my breath in that early morning icy cold Texas air. Wiping the tears from my face, I came to realize she had been appropriately named. Bandit had not only stolen those socks from the laundry basket. She had stolen a piece of my heart as well.
A beautiful story. I remember when I was a teenager and one of my kittens died. I cried, placed "puff" in a shoe box and took her to her burial place, dug a hole, placed her in it, covered her up and cried and cried. I loved that little kitten so much. Pets can really steal our hearts. GOD BLESS YOU for sharing.