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Jesus Has a New Paper Boy

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Deakie pinned his ears back when he was the most happy, and the most proud.
Good boy, Deak.

It is with a broken heart that I regretfully announce that Deacon D. Dawg left this life on Friday morning, while I was out of town, visiting with friends in Atlanta, and while the kids were out of town at a youth retreat.

Deakie Boy experienced a severe breathing crisis just after Mother’s Day Weekend in May, but rallied in such a remarkable fashion right there in the vet’s office, that he became known by the staff as The Miracle Dog of our little berg. Since that dramatic episode two and a half months ago, he has been in a gradual decline. As I have watched his decline these last 77 days, I can’t tell you how dark the cloud over my head has been. In part, the darkness has been due to watching the decay of Deakie’s health and his diminishing ability to get around without lapsing into a breathing crisis. But in part my pain has been the dread of not knowing how fast, or how slowly, the end would come. It’s come from the uncertainty of when and how Deakie would depart this life, yet the certainty that he and I were both in a very dark tunnel, and I would likely be the one emerging, without him.

It’s been a long goodbye.

He was 12 years old, a good old age for a Labrador. He lived joyfully down to the last few hours of his life. My sweet husband has been saying to me ever since Deakie’s health crisis began,  that we would know when it was time for him to go. He tells me that Deacon’s suffering was such during that last night of his life, that it was plain to see that it was, indeed, my buddy boy’s time.

My husband says that for my sake, and for the kid’s sake, he is glad that the kids and I were all gone, because the last night was very, very difficult. He knows how I have grieved and suffered with Deakie through this time. Perhaps it is for the best that I wasn’t there. But right now, I don’t know. I struggle with mixed feelings of both regret, and relief, as I grieve the loss  of my doggie. I wish I could have been there not only for Deakie, but also for my husband.

I prayed several times over the last couple of months in regard to his departure, that the Lord would allow it to somehow be sweet, and we believe that prayer was answered. Some dear friends of ours who owned one of Deakie’s littermates, and who love Deakie very much,  “happened” to be at the vet’s when my husband took him to be put to sleep, and so they were able to be with him as he was being euthanized. My girlfriend told me that she and her son laid their hands on Deakie, and loved on him, and that her son climbed up in the back of the car and sat with him, doing exactly what my son would have done had he known, and had he been able to be there.

Another dear friend helped my husband dig Deakie’s grave,  out by our overlook. So, Deakie’s remains rest high on that mount, as it were. My husband picked a lovely spot outside the fence line, the place where Deakie’s nose always wanted to take him.

He was the best bad dog we ever had, and I loved him with all my heart and soul. He raced to the food bowl every meal of his life, gobbling his kibble with Labradorian joy and abandon.  He battled the beaver and the snapping turtle. He warned my dear husband of the copperhead that was lying in wait under the grill, and saved my barefooted man from an awful injury. He was a plastivore in his puppydom, a fluffy walrus-like throw rug in his senior years, and a fur dispenser every day of his life. He delivered the paper faithfully, every Saturday and Sunday, come rain or come shine. And while I doubt that the Lord really NEEDS a newspaper, He might just get a subscription, to make my doggie’s heaven complete.

That’ll do, Deak. That’ll do.

Good boy.