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Monday, December 12, 2011

Losing A Best Friend

I’d wanted a dog even before I met my wife, Janine and her Jack Russell Terrier, Ringo back in the fall of 1999.  The companionship and feeling of being needed that a dog provides was something I'd been missing since my first marriage ended and my sons went to live with their mother. While I saw the boys regularly, there was something missing during the times in-between.

The fact that Janine was also a “dog person” helped our relationship along to be sure, and after Janine and I married we decided that Ringo also needed a companion. We bred him with another Jack Russell, and brought Gromit into our family in March of 2001. She was my first puppy and would quickly become so much more.

Gromit was unlike any Jack Russell we’d ever known, especially compared to Ringo. Where most Jacks are high strung and solitary, Gromit was meek and would spend hours wedged up against your leg as you sat on the couch. She wasn't as clever as Ringo, but she had the faith of a child. Ringo knew when our dinner was over and would whine incessantly because he knew it was his turn to eat. Gromit would just sit and wait. She knew dinner was coming, and was happy to have it whenever it showed up.

Her meek nature didn't mean she didn't exhibit typical Jack Russell traits. Given some open space she would run for hours, yet never ventured very far from my side. She and Ringo also loved to wrestle, gnashing teeth and nipping at each other’s ears to the point where bystanders thought they would injure each other. It never got to that point.  Ringo may not have liked sharing the spotlight with Gromit when she was a puppy but they soon became inseparable.  Neither would have done a thing to harm the other.  

She also had the uncanny ability to know when someone needed cheering up.  One winter, my eldest son stuck his foot through the ice at lake by our cabin.  Upset, he returned to the warmth of the cabin to, as he put it, “pout.” Sitting on the couch under a warm blanket, my son was soon joined by Gromit who cuddled up against his wet foot as if to say “Don’t be upset. I’ll make it better.” As my son would often say, “You just can’t be sad around Gromit.” And if you tried, she would come along to lick up your tears until you smiled.

We had to put Gromit down last week. 11 years old is quite young for a Jack Russell, but her liver said that her time with us was over. To say that we’re heartbroken is an understatement.  Her absence has left a heaviness in our home.  Even Ringo wanders the house looking for her.  Each day is a little easier, and I know that soon the sorrow will be gone and we’ll look back at our time with Gromit with smiles and laughter. But I'll never forget my little Gromit. She brought a lot of joy into our lives and I just wanted you to know her too.


6 comments:

  1. There are no words to ease grief when one loses a pet. It's hard for those who have never had such a loyal dog to understand that losing them is just like losing a member of the family. I'm so thankful every day for the little joys that our dogs have brought to us each day- I know you felt the same way about Gromit.

    We'll be thinking about you guys.

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  2. Arne, I know that there is a hole in you life right now. My pets have always been more family member than pet. It isn't easy as you know. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this sad time. Gromit looked like she was a very special girl, indeed. Hugs to all of you.

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  3. I am so sorry about your having lost her. Wishing we could give you both big hugs right now. L

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  4. Arne, we totally empathize with your loss and while no words can ease the pain, the memories and fondness will get you through this very emotional time. It is such a tragedy that our four-legged family members leave us so soon. Remember that all of your time with Gromit as a gift and it sounds like she was very generous with the quality if not the quantity. May your heart sing with her memory.

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  5. I am so sorry, Arne. She's adorable and obviously a dear friend and family member. Virtual hugs from me and head butts from my cat.

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  6. So sorry to hear about Gromit. She's a beautiful girl and sounds like an exceptional friend and a very special soul.

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