My four-legged friend is gone and while I knew that day would come, I didn't expect it to arrive so soon.

Lindsay and I saw Lego in the Lancaseter Sunday News one early morning in the Spring of 2006.  Before finishing the rest of that newspaper, we jumped in the car and headed to the Humane League.  We loved him as soon as we saw him in black and white and that much more in the full color of real life.

He caught a ride home with us and settled into our apartment as though he'd lived there the entire 6 months of his life.  A suspected Boxer/Blue Heeler mix, Clouseau (as we dubbed him) was an odd looking duck and good-naturedly endured puzzled looks and questions like "is that a dingo?".  He was unfazed and more often than not won over the doubters with his big heart.

He didn't stand very tall and eventually topped the scales at just 55 pounds, but every ounce was muscle that was thankfully never used for anything more than chasing sticks and swimming like a peculiar surface-skimming fish.

Lily arrived less than a year into his residency and we feared how he'd react to the shared spotlight.  Our fears were unwarranted as he proved a gentle, doting chaperon who rarely strayed from the baby's side.

This diligence continued even after we left the city and moved into a home with more room for Clouseau to sprawl.

First Lily and then Piper loved him and likely never considered life without him.  Now and again Lindsay or I would comment on how strange it was to realize that Clouseau would likely not live to see the girls into their teens, never entertaining the idea that he'd not even see them get on a school bus.

This April Clouseau began having accidents despite having been housebroken from before we'd adopted him.  At first, I thought he was at last demanding the attention lost from sharing the home with two small children.  I was wrong.

I finally broke down and took him to the veterinarian by then assuming confirmation of a bladder infection or, at worst, kidney stones.  When we learned that Clouseau had advanced lymphoma and had little time remaining, we were absolutely stunned.  Stunned and heartbroken.

Not knowing how much time we had left together, we did what we've always done,  we took Clouseau hiking and swimming.

We threw sticks, we laughed, the girls squealed.  But even little Piper seemed to pick-up on our melancholy.

It was a lovely, bittersweet day and it wasn't the last.  We were granted another couple of months with our beloved dog.  By early June, however, it became apparent that life was becoming more of a struggle and we'd agreed to not extend his suffering out of a selfish want to have him here with us.

The family shared goodbyes.

I loaded him into the van and we headed to the vet.  He took his normal post at the passenger seat window, nosing the full blast of the passing air.  He leaned so far forward it appeared he was trying to beat me to our destination.

In the waiting room he perked his ears and absorbed all the yips from the bowels of the building and sniffed all the comings and goings.  He didn't tug on his leash, however, laying at my feet and leaning against my leg.  I knew I wouldn't feel him there again and cherished the contact.

We never made Clouseau wear his collar at home and I'd hated putting it on him for this trip.  Having removed it for the last time, I put it back in its usual place upon returning home.

On the other side of the room sat Clouseau's bowls and I couldn't bring myself to put them away.

Lindsay and I have always been very straightforward with the children and both girls knew that Clouseau had been sick and wasn't going to get better.  Still they struggled to understand that he was truly gone.  Both Lily and Piper seemed to take the news rather calmly, but when I put Lil to bed that evening, she and I shared a good, hard cry.

Once the two of us had composed ourselves, Lily said so sweetly to me that she just wished Clouseau would've stayed a little longer.

Me too, Lil.  Me too.


  1. Oh Leon...you tugged my heart strings (and made me cry, too!!) as I know exactly what you're going thru. It's just like losing a family member when you have to say goodbye to your beloved dog. Thanks for sharing such a heartfelt blog. Clouseau was very lucky to share a home with you and your ladies.

  2. Thank you for sharing Leon!! We tried to make Moka Bears last day very special. It was very difficult because her kidney and liver failure left her with no appetite and her arthritis left her unable to go for walks. All she wanted from us was scratches behind the ears and butt rubs:) She made it through her last days on love alone because she just stopped eating. In my heart I know she was staying strong for me because I just couldn't let go. I love her and will miss her very much. I'm not sure if another dog could ever fill her collar. I feel your pain and your loss with your four legged family member.