Saturday, January 09, 2010

A Man and His Dog

A Tribute to Chicago

Paul's guide dog was here with us only days before he got sick, so I remember him well. I remember his tail waving excitedly when he wasn't working and I remember his focus when he was.

The bomb-sniffing dog at the airport - brought to check an abandoned bag - barked angrily at Paul's guide dog; but Chicago, true to his training and his mild nature, remained calm and still. That day we waited in the longest lines I have ever experienced...and Chicago waited more patiently than any of us.

Finally we reached the counter, so late that a supervisor had to call the gate. There was still time, but I would have to accompany Paul to the gate myself. The agent came with us to security so that Paul could bring what was supposed to be a "checked bag" along on the plane. As we neared the security counters, our agent told Paul to take off his jacket. While he did that, she disappeared. In trying to find her, I ended up getting us into the wrong lane, so by the time she found us we had to switch lanes, and then switch lanes again. The poor dog was having to weave with us through crowds of irritated people and around narrow angles, but he went along complacently through all of it.

Finally we headed down the long concourse, the gate agent calling Paul's name over the intercom. I asked Paul if Chicago would mind running, and off we went. I'm guessing the run may have actually been Chicago's favorite part of the trip. In the hurry, I didn't get a chance to tell Paul good-bye properly, nor to tell Chicago good-bye at all. But I will always gratefully remember Chicago's faithful service to Paul for the past year and a half, and his loving nature.

Chicago's service may have been short but it was a life well-lived. He was Paul's ever-faithful companion as Paul finished earning his college degree. Chicago gave him moral support and the help he was trained to give, as Paul adjusted to his blindness and continued to attend classes, student government sessions, Knights of Columbus meetings, and Newman Club get-togethers.

Nor was Paul the only one who benefited from the friendship. Chicago could not have had a more gentle and affectionate master, cheerfully praising him for being a good doggy and for his good work...playing with him and petting him when he was off-duty. Chicago gave every sign of living a very happy life.

He will always live on in our hearts.

1 comment:

Sheila said...

The Rainbow Bridge

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

Author unknown...

Prayers to your son for the loss of Chicago.