By Mark Carpenter –
He was always there. Whenever we would open the door returning home, he was there to greet us. He’d bark a little, run around in circles awhile, then settle in and go straight to my wife, or his “mommy.” If it was just me to come home alone, he headed straight for the door to look and see if she was with me.
You will have to bear with me this week. This is not per-se a sports column, but right now writing sports is not high on my priority list. We lost a family member last week, our most loyal best friend. He was just a little guy, only about 10 pounds worth, but every bit a part of our family and if anyone says “just a dog” you are liable to find me punching you. It was an accident that took him from us, so undeserving, and has led to one of the longest and most miserable weeks of my life. Try telling me he was “just a dog.”
We brought him home 14 years ago and we can all remember his first car ride home and how he struggled to walk across our kitchen linoleum the first time his paws touched it. That first night in a strange place when he cried so much that we brought him into our bedroom to sleep- 14 years later he still could find a comfortable spot right in the middle of our bed. It didn’t take long for him to become everyone’s best buddy and the third child that we never had.
We named him “Boomer” with a middle name to be official of “Beauregard”, and I really don’t remember where that came from. When he was in trouble, my wife just referred to him as “Boomer Carpenter.” Like when a Mom calls a kid by his first name when he or she is in trouble. He was ornery at times, but what good dog isn’t? Within minutes, he was back to being your best friend again and laying in your lap and begging for food.
When I came home late after covering a ball game, it wasn’t hard to find him-always sprawled out across my wife’s legs and if I dared try to get too close, a good growl and snarl came my way. He was the protector and no one was getting close to his mommy or his kids- 10 pounds of pure dynamite, pure loyalty, and pure love.
It’s odd how we can love animals as much or more than we do some people. I believe dogs like Boomer were put on this earth to fill a void, to provide families with undeniable love, and he gave our family a lifetime’s worth in 14 years with us, more than we could ever repay, so innocent and so perfect.
Boomer had some health issues in his 14 years, but of course, I gladly paid as much for his medicine as I did for any of the pills I take for my heart. He would have a seizure and his mommy would cuddle him and calm him down until all was well again and he was ready to hit the floor running.
It was the night after Christmas when our best friend left us, and one thing we found out, that we knew before, is how important family is. After Boomer passed, we had family come to the house and help out in so many ways. And something else I found out- I have a 20-year old son who I could not be more proud of. He was the rock for us all that night, especially when I was a mess, which I still am. I had a brother who stepped up above the call of duty and helped us lay our little buddy to rest in one of his favorite spots. We all got to hold him that one last special time and say our own goodbyes, and I know that was the hardest thing my kids had ever had to do, and it was pretty close to that for my wife and I too.
I think I feel the worst for my wife. When I was out late at ball games and I knew she was home, I knew she was not alone. She had company and someone who was bound to protect her, all 10 pounds of him. When the kids left home, we were supposed to have this “empty nest” thing, but our nest was never empty as long as Boomer was around. Like I said, our third child. I will worry about her being lonely now and I know her heart is broken, and I pray that time will heal.
I said at the beginning that he was always there, but now he isn’t. At least not physically, but the memory of that spunky little fellow will never leave us. I want to hold him one more time and tell him how sorry I am, so I hope somehow he heard me when I held him as he left us. I had never heard of something called the Rainbow Bridge, which is where they say that pets who leave us will be waiting someday. I can so picture that moment, when he sees one of us and comes running, with his ears flapping and little legs churning, and a smile that only a little dachshund can have. Whoever reunites with him first better have Fruit Loops and some bread handy-those are his favorites.
I have to admit that in recent months I have been struggling with the whole faith, heaven, religion thing. I suppose every one does that at some point in their life but the events of last week sure aren’t helping me any. Saying that “everything happens for a reason” sounds good, but I am having a very hard time finding a reason why out little buddy had to go, and right now faith sure isn’t healing my broken heart.
When Opie let his three birds finally fly away, he made the comment that the cage looked “really empty.” Well, our house seems really empty now and we miss you more than we ever imagined, but someday buddy, you can growl and snarl at me and protect your mommy again. Until then, be a good dog, be a good friend, and love like you did for us. You have given us more memories than I can ever list here and we cherish each and every one of them. See ya buddy!