My extended family suffered a very tough and painful loss on the very first day of 2011. Rudy, my dog-in-law golden retriever and one of the most special animals I have ever had the pleasure of interacting with, suddenly passed away.
Anyone who knows me or reads this blog knows how much animals mean to me. I have always been a dog person, despite living with three cats. There are times when the company of animals is far preferable to the company of humans. Pets are family members, and saying goodbye to them is much tougher than anyone who is not a pet person can ever comprehend.
Now, not even one year after saying goodbye to Bidie, a dog I knew for about 13 years and lived with for one year, losing Rudy is a tough blow, and I haven’t spent anywhere near as much time around this magnificent beast as I did around Bidie.
Words or photographs can’t do justice to what made Rudy so special, but I’ll try. This dog’s eyes were more human than canine, and they displayed a level of intelligence far beyond what one would expect from a dog — even from a breed known for its intelligence. The family has another golden, Rudy’s niece, Molly, who is a fantastic dog in her own right. But when I first looked into Molly’s eyes, I saw, “Pet me! Pet me! Pet me! Pet me! Pet me!” And when I first looked into Rudy’s eyes, I saw wisdom, and I felt like his gaze was saying, “I can tell you love dogs, and I can tell the family accepts you, so I accept you.”
Am I giving Rudy too much credit? Perhaps, but as I said, his effect on people is very hard to put into words. “You had to be there,” to steal the old cliché. He was one of the most brilliant, most graceful dogs I’ve ever been around, and he looked majestic even when stealing a loaf of bread off the table, or devouring one of my nephew’s toys, or wreaking some other type of havoc.
Rudy was a truly great dog, and anyone who experienced the pleasure of his company is a little worse off without it. Molly is a sweetheart, and having her around, as well as Sebastian, the wild kitten in the picture with Rudy, will ease the pain a little. But Rudy was a rare creature, and he will be sorely missed.