It Was The Best of Times...

It was the Best of Times, It was the Worst of Times, Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities.
And it certainly applies here. Last Sunday after church Elaine and I traveled to see Shepp several hours from home. If you are unaware of his plight, here is his story.

We received an email from his owner that they would be available, and if we wanted, we could see Shepp. We have exchanged emails for some time and just couldn't get a date to work, and I was determined to make this one work, no matter what.

Shepp 11-20-2011
We met with some friends of ours that live next door to Shepp's owners. They have two of our dogs that they purchased as pups a few years back, so it was going to be a grand visit. Bishop and Tessie, their dogs, are huge Frisbee dogs, so we had to have a few spirited tosses before we went to see Shepp. When we were done playing Frisbee, which they never are, I'm told, off we went. I will tell you, I had butterflies and was a little on edge because I just didn't know how I would react because this has been very painful and I missed him so. When we pulled into the driveway, out, he sprang from the house with the little bounce I always remembered. He took my breath, he was beautiful, and it was so good to see him. We took one of his favorite toys, a squeaky ball.  I have heard him walk around our house, squeaking that special toy for hours on end. After giving him the toy, he was lost in playing ball and paid little attention to us. I took my camera, and I got just a few shots before my camera battery was dead, maybe it was fate, I’ll never know.

In my heart, I had visions of him watching us pull up and running to greet us and getting in the car when we stopped, wanting to go “home,” but he didn't and my heart broke again, but only my selfish heart. What I actually saw, was a beautiful dog, playing with two beautiful children in a beautiful wooded location with many acres and ponds, getting everything and more than I could ever give him and knew that he needed.
After watching Shepp and Tessie play "ball", we were invited in for coffee and to chat. Of course, Shepp came in too because he is their "house dog."  I saw every member of that family touch, rub and pet him, and I knew right then, that Shepp was happy and I would never have any worries again. Shepp had everything any dog could ever begin to covet. He was the luckiest dog that ever lived.
At one point, I wanted Shepp to come to me, one of the children brought me a dog treat to give Shepp, he said "here, this is for you to give him" maybe he sensed what I wanted, but this was a wonderful jester for me, from that little boy.
Oh, Shepp did pay attention to us, but I knew he was “home, ” and I knew that everyone loved him, it was so obvious. My heart broke, but I was also happy for him and actually, the visit helped me know, he was happy, and he was...
After some good conversation, it was time to go, I just felt it. We all walked toward our car except Shepp. Oh, how I wanted him to jump in the car, but he didn't  He stopped with his owner and sat down next to him, just inside the garage and I swear I saw Shepp lean into him as if saying to us, “I’m OK, Thank You Dad.”
As hard as it was to leave, I’m happy because Shepp is happy. Goodbye old Friend, I’ll never, never, forget you……I will tell you, It was a long trip back home. Give your dog a hug, we hugged ours, that night……every single one of them, except Shepp...