He was rescued from the streets. He is the first family member of my husband’s that I met. He joined us on our first date. He witnessed our engagement. He ate everybody’s breakfast the morning of our wedding, when our backs were turned. He was my running partner. He helped train our younger dog. He helped train our children. He unlocked windows, dismantled alarm wires, chewed through wallboard, and performed miracles of canine athleticism to escape….daily. He adored my husband. He pretended to merely tolerate me (but I saw through it). He ate out of the trash can at every opportunity. He howled when he heard an ice cream truck. He howled when he heard an Irish tin whistle. He howled when the children were napping and he woke them up. He sneezed when he was happy. He danced in circles like a circus poodle when he wanted a treat. He would do anything for cheese. He was afraid of plastic bags. He was fearless that day I needed him most. He suffered unimaginable abuse in his pre-rescue life. He found his forever home with us.

I write this as he naps in a small patch of afternoon sun, as he enjoys the twilight of his nearly 15 years. I write this knowing that I won’t publish it until the day comes where he no longer greets me with a stiff-hipped tail wag and a gentle lick on the hand, and his favorite blue rubber ball sits quietly in the basket on the stairs.

He was loved.