My dear beloved Joe,
Has it really been 30 years since I had to say goodbye to you? I’ve thought a lot about you over the years, remembering the joy you brought to my life. What a faithful and devoted friend you were, always lending a patient ear as I shared about the good times, as well as the heartaches.
I can’t believe I was only six when I met you! I remember how my family and I drove to the other side of the neighborhood to bring you home with us, since the Jones’ didn’t really have the space to keep you. I was so excited! But sadly, as soon as you jumped out of the car in front of our house, you ran straight back to their house. I was devastated! Yet somehow, when we arrived back at the Jones’ house just a few minutes later, you sensed my despair. You snuggled up to me in the car, and then followed me right through our front door with a wagging tail. That immediate bond only grew with the passing days, months, and years.
I’m not really sure if my childhood neighborhood, SpringPark, actually had a leash law, because for some strange reason, instead of taking you on daily walks, my parents just let us open the front door, and out you trotted! You had your walking routine, always returning home. In fact, you were a bit of a celebrity in SpringPark, as you confidently made your rounds through the neighborhood. But, I’m guessing that’s old news to you. However, it wasn’t until I was a young adult that I began to hear stories of the famous Joe and how you seemed to have known everyone in that neighborhood, nodding and wagging your tail at the doting neighbors. Oh, what about that time I entered you into the neighborhood dog contest. I was so proud of you, taking time to wash and brush you until your fur was gleaming in the sun! Then, when it was your turn to perform, you refused to do anything! You just looked up at the judge and lay down. We both know how smart you were! But, I’m thinking you were still mad about the bath. Well, at least you got a blue ribbon for something…the laziest dog! Alright, I’m sorry I brought that up. Though, you have to admit it was pretty funny. And for the record, you didn’t need to earn a single award for me to love you any more than I did. You were the best dog a girl could ever have!
Wait, one more thing. You remember that family trip to Colorado? It was your first long trip with us. You even got to ride in our beautiful “Charlie Brown- striped” van with the memorable shag carpet. On Christmas Eve, after the family had come home from skiing, we couldn’t find you anywhere! You had completely disappeared! We came to the only reasonable conclusion…that the cleaning lady must have let you outside! We searched and searched throughout the town, posting signs everywhere. But, after several days of worry and fear, we finally had to head back to Texas. The ride home was unbearable, and I cried most of the way home. Then miraculously, the day after we got back in town, our good friends who had been staying at a neighboring condo, called to let us know they had actually found you!! In Colorado!! I’m sure you never forgot about that ride back to Texas on New Years Day, scared and weak. When I think about what happened to you, I really don’t know how you managed to endure being on the streets, in two feet of snow, negative degree weather, and for several days! Only you, Joe, could have made it through that ordeal!
I sure love reminiscing about the good ole days with you, Joe. You stayed by my side for twelve years, and I couldn’t have had a more loyal friend in all the world.
Susan (AKA Susie-Q)
Susan Peck, a native Texan, moved to Maplewood 14 years ago, with her husband, Mark, and their four little ones. Now her kids are 15, 17, 19, and 21, two in college and two in high school. Susan’s role as a homeschooling mom has shifted into more of a managing/tutoring role, freeing her up with a little more time in her schedule. She enjoys volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House Family Room at Cardinal Glennon and leading the hospitality team at her church, Crossroads Presbyterian Fellowship. She also loves spending time with her family and singing and playing the piano at church.
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