My dog of 13 years passed away today.
He was the friendliest dog you'd ever want to meet. The entire neighborhood knew his smiling face. He never met a person or dog he didn't like and walks were always an opportunity to meet new friends. In fact, one day he was so excited to see some doggy friends walking with their owner outside our home, that he blew right through our screen door to get to them. The poor lady nearly had a heart attack to see this huge, 125 pound dog knocking down a door and charging at her, but when he got to her, tail wagging, tongue hanging out, and started sniffing her Pomeranians, she realized he wasn't going to eat them, but wanted to play.
We put in a security screen door after that, of course.
He was a big 'ol Chocolate Lab, named after the character "Fudge" in the Judy Blume book Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. Thirteen years ago I was pregnant, and my oldest son wanted to name his impending baby brother Fudge, like the naughty little brother Fudge in the book. Unsurprisingly, I vetoed that name for my child, but when Christmas morning came around and my son was presented with a wiggling brown puppy in a box, Fudge was the natural choice for his name.
Fudge was a remarkable puppy in that not once - not as a puppy and not as an elderly dog - did he ever mess in the house. We got him as a six week old pup and he came house-trained. I am guessing that will never happen again in my lifetime. He wasn't perfect - he was a Labrador after all. We still have some holes in the drywall where he'd decided to have a little snack.
His most notable trait was friendliness. Fudge never met a human he didn't love. Taking him to the vet today for the final time was no problem; the vet is full of fun people and even though he'd lost his ability to walk he was happy to be there with his friends. He licked them all good-bye.
Even in pain, at the end, his tail would thump when we'd come near.
Good-bye to our loving, comical, friendly, big ol' boy. We will always remember you.
You'll always be rolling in the grass, scratching your back, in my dreams.