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On Vulnerability & Being Human!

As I sit here this morning, I am gripped with a deep sense of absence after a day of loss, suffered by the difficult decision to finally free the spirit of our small pound puppy.

He came bounding into our lives one evening in January of 2011, so small that he had to be fitted with a cat collar.

He soon learned that the feel of that collar was his permission to go outside. When he was ready, he even learned to mimic my early morning sinus wheezing, a means of getting my attention.

Or, if I needed to take him out before leaving home, the faint jingle of the dog tags afixed to that collar would bring him fast paced into the room. He would then do his little counter clockwise circle and await the snap of the collar before heading to the door. This pup was brilliant!

We called him Coach, a name that meant a lot to my daughter, an Appalachian grad. Yes, she was honoring Jerry Moore. To me, it spoke to my years as a Coach, to adult Human Beings, many trying to navigate through life.

He became my Coach!

Each weekday, he would await my arrival at my daughter's basement door, alerted by the sound of my footsteps as I ascended her basement steps. He would then often go into a mad race, back and forth up the hallway, toy in mouth, ecstatic at my arrival, knowing a walk together was just ahead!

When our grandpup spent the night, he would hop off the Loveseat at the foot of the bed, awakening me early morning with the flap of his ears.

The message, "Poppi, its time for a brisk walk!" Whether in Clemmons or Blowing Rock he had a certain path he would lead me along!

Can ever such a container of pure love be emptied and just disappear with one last heartbeat? I think not!

Just as a vacuum is the absence of air, what I feel this morning in my soul, in fact throughout our whole house is an absence of love.

You see, I've felt this before, when a Being dear has departed. The felt absence of deep love is tangible, always bearing such convincing resemblance, whether human or canine. Love is love!

I love being human, a Human Being! I can feel and be felt. What treasure!

Coach too felt love, in fact love radiated from deep behind his eyes. Even yesterday, as he held me, while we transitioned. I say we, as I too suffered a shift in my soul.

Silly sentiments, a thousand time no!

That little 17lb. puppy, one who was never prone to being held, laid his head firmly against my chest, after loving on my daughter, Summer, just across the Comfort Room at the veterinarian. Yes, after consoling her, he turned his head toward me. Summer's words, "You want Poppi to hold you, now?"

Then for several minutes we both sat together, daughter, pup and Poppi until he was soundly asleep, awaiting his final heartbeat. I felt him, comforting me as we said goodbye.

And then he was gone!

Perhaps transfigured, like another Being we read of. Whether he entered a Third Heaven or just a different dimension, my long established Theology is now insufficient of words. Some pet lovers call it, Rainbow Ridge. I tend to think of it as a sphere beyond our visibilty, but just as real as love!

Love is too real to simply disippate!! Religion also inadequate to explain such "thin places."

Last evening, we placed his body at the base of a forked and hollow Poplar Tree, one he loved to visit. His last visit in fact, just yesterday morning.

Somehow he mustered the strength to find his way down the hill behind the house, and through leaves toward his favorite hollow tree. There he sat, awaiting the distance of his leash and my arrival.

Before becoming ill, he would tug at the leash, until we arrived at the base of the tree. He would then spring about 4 feet up the gray bark, catching the opening of the well forked tree with his own paws, pulling himself high enough to peer into the hollow opening.

It was the Jack Terrier-Beagle DNA, hoping to catch a glimpse or scent of the old possum that was often still sleeping, deep in the hollow of the twin trunks.

He would then bay until I said, "He's gone" a couple times, then we would continue our walk in the woods until his "business" was finished.

Yesterday, and in fact, for several days, I would have to lift him, as he no longer had the strength to lift himself.

Now, "He's gone" and with tears on my cheeks, I feel a tug to move on!

I think I just heard Coach offer one last fake sneeze, giving this Human Being a nudge to get on with his day.

Thanks, Coach!

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