I watched Rocky look at me with his sad brown eyes. My golden lab for the first time seemed afraid of the water.
When he was a boy, he loved the water, and he proved it by swimming out to me while I paddled my canoe in the middle of the lake. At the time I feared he might not make it back, but he proved me wrong. He behaved like he couldn't live without me at his side. Now faced with his mortality, I'm the one who fears I cannot live without him.
"It's okay buddy, I know your legs are trembling, and the creek water is cold."
Oh how I miss the days when he would frolic with me in this tea colored creek, and would lift himself out of the water shaking his fur in the bushes until he looked like a fat porcupine.
He aged so fast. As if I didn't know better, as If he would live with me until the end of all days.
"C'mon old boy! Just once more, if you get in it, it will be a tonic for sure."
"Thata a boy!"
Unsteady paws felt for the smooth rocks beneath the water, until his tongue hung in relief, smiling proudly at me in the cavity of water he created.
"I knew you could do it." I released my tears, letting them slip into the flow disappearing into eternity. I leaned my back against the water on a large glacial rock, which had cut through time, waiting for us, waiting for this moment.
Here, I took a picture in my mind as if it will be frozen forever.
I watched as the liquid sun melted over the tops of ancient pine trees. I closed my eyes until I felt it tickle my skin, while the generous water licked my feet.
I imagined my body someday falling, perhaps from this rock, but my spirit soaring to another shore. I have a confident faith that my resurrected savior brings to me in this hour. But what should happen to my beloved friend, my loyal friend? Will he surprise me in heaven and come splashing across the eternal river to greet me, tail waving, tongue licking my face?
This one thing I have learned, some animals were meant for each other, and Rocky was meant for me. The Lord's providence fashioned us to be in this place, and we are both instruments of his diversity.
Dust we are, and so it dawned, I had to accept for now his time on earth was fading. On the way to the truck that day, I cradled him in my arms, wet stinking fur and all, and carried him to a blanket in my truck.
I kissed the tender loaf of his big ear, and let the smell flush my nostrils so I could fully sense the last day we lived together.
Together on an old logging road, we watched the sinking sun.
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