I lost a good friend today. Twelve years ago, I walked into the pound
and for $45.00 I walked out with the best friend I ever had. He became
my constant companion and went everywhere with me. For us, it was love
at first sight. Although his first owner thought it was ok to tie him
to a fence in Wellesley and drive off, Vern (the name his owners wrote
in marker on his collar) was willing to give a human being another
chance to break his heart. He lingered in two different pounds for
almost three months before I found him. For the first six months, Vern
ran up to every van/4-wheel drive vehicle that had a young man in it.
It broke my heart to see him do it, but then he stopped looking for the
"man" and decided I was the most important person in his life.
Vern gave me love, patience, an unconditional love. If I was troubled
or worried, he'd always be there ready to lick my face and make it all
better. We'd go anywhere that Vern could indulge in his favorite
passion...swimming. We were thrown out of Rocky Woods Reservation
because Vern thought it might be a good time to swim out and herd all
the Canadian Geese across the pond. Even the huge breakers at Marconi
Beach on the National Seashore didn't stop him from jumping into the
surf. He'd run like the wind at Houghton's Pond in the Blue Hills or
just enjoy the ocean at World's End. I met hundreds of people with Vern
walking the Cape Cod canal. People just couldn't resist walking over
to the dog with all the "speckles" who would wag his stubby tail and say
"hi". Vern loved everyone and treated everyone with a friendly
greeting. If they let him, he'd throw in a kiss for good measure. Till
this day, I believe he's the only dog who could steal a sealed,
Entermann's chocolate fudge cake off the counter, open the box at the
sealed perforation, lick off all the fudge frosting and not even put a
tear in the cellophane window. That's talent. We won't even discuss
the pounds of butter sticks he couldn't resist taking.
Vern was about 14 or 15 years old (I never knew for sure). He could
hardly see and his hearing was almost gone. The pain in his hips from
the arthritis was no longer abated by the medication. He couldn't go on
walks or even enjoy his luxury igloo doghouse and 30ft pen any longer.
He loved his home on the Cape and would just sit lately and "watch" the
rabbits because he couldn't chase them anymore. Even so, on Sunday's
(and only on Sunday's, despite being out every day), he would take the
long trek down to the mailbox and then come back up the hill. The one
thing he still continued to do, as he always did, was wait for me to
come home and dole out that unconditional love.
Vern is out of his pain now and I hope he knows that just as I took him
home from the pound, the time had arrived again to rescue him from hurt.
I loved him with all my heart and it just won't be the same without him.
I included his photo...a typical shot.. riding "shotgun" on our treks.
Update: Dear Vern, your favorite kitty joins you today, 11/23/02. Raj laid across your paws when you were near the end and kissed your face, licked your ears and wouldn't leave your side. Watch for him, big guy, and keep him safe at the bridge. I'll miss you both always. Raj's mate, Misty, is with you now, too. Sleep in peace my dears.
Please also visit Megan.