I feel blessed to have seen a precious moment today.
Don't get me wrong; anytime a family member dies, even our family pets, it is a sad occasion.
But my son had his favorite little dog pass away slowly in his sleep, right in his lap. And my wife and I saw it, and I daresay, it is a moment I will never forget as long as I live. Not only was it precious. Not only did I see my son shed tears for the first time in a long time, seeing as how he has become quite the stoic in his coming of age. Not only did we all get some nice quiet moments in a private comfort room with our little chap before he died.
But I thought of something else as I watched our little dog drift off to dream about giant floating steaks and mountains of frozen green beans.
I realized how rare this exact moment was. I thought back over the 6 and a half years we had Toby, and all the times, when Jay walked through the door, Toby would do a little dance in circles and run up to him wagging his tail. He didn't do that for me, you can be sure. He did get excited about his mommy coming home, but it just wasn't like the arrival of his best friend. Whenever I was in the house and discovered some little 'accident' on the carpet, I'd do my token rebuke of all the dogs at once and say my peace. Then Toby would jump up and look for shelter and protection in my son's lap.
Yes, dogs really are man's best friends. But my son was far and away our little Toby's best friend as well. And little Toby was in pain, and discomfort, and distress. But he found comfort and solace in his best friend's lap, in the closing moments of his life. It was the safest and most comfortable place he knew, and it is where he made his final rest.
The irony occured to me as I saw his eyes close, and his little chest cavity pulsed and shook slower and slower. As the tears started flowing down all our cheeks, man's best friend... died in his best friend's lap.
How many of us can say we will ever share that same experience?
Wow - just wow. If I had one after-life wish to ask of God when I'm dead and gone, it's moments like this that make me want to say, Lord, can you let our precious pets be Angels in Heaven with us?
Because man, it sure would be neat to see little Toby wiggle his body and wag his tail one more time, maybe one day eons from now, when my son strolls through those pearly gates.