Tuesday, September 08, 2009

my brother, Brad

It has been great to have Brad here with us. I miss him tremendously, already.
When he left this time, he did not leave us alone.

Though it has been a long time, I have spoken before of the time we went to the Humane Society in Indiana. Actually, we visited two or three in the Indianapolis area. We had decided some ten or more years ago, that it was time to have a dog.

As we viewed each dog, and selected a few to take out to the yard to get more familiar with, BJ sat plopped in front of one kennel, telling us, "this is the dog!"

"We want to spend time with several, BJ, to make sure we choose the right one," I replied.

He sat patiently, with his hand through the fence petting and talking to his choice.

Each dog we took out to visit with had one thing in common. They were all more interested in the other dogs, or other people, than they were our family.

The only one who was ALL about us, was... the one BJ had chosen. This dog, six months old at the time, was very friendly, and had an undeterred eye for my family.

We selected him... er he selected us... or something. Anyway, we eventually went home with him.

I trained him to do several 'tricks,' taught him not to jump up on people, and a few other things. He was a very obedient family member.

He and BJ became best friends. He moved with us to three different homes through the years. His first night at each location, was usually a nervous one, as he adapted to his new surroundings.

After BJ passed, the dog often went into his bedroom and sat and sniffed the air... seemingly waiting. It broke my heart. How does one explain this separation to a canine? How does one process this separation, alone?

The days, weeks and months after BJ went home, were difficult ones. I confess that my frustration often overwhelmed me. It was very hard for me to pay the dog any attention. He represented my son in so many ways that I don't know how to convey.

When we moved to Oklahoma, knowing that we would be gone overseas for long stints, we asked my brother to take him. Brad already had a dog of his own. They were similar in size and age. Our dog loved Brad.

Saying Brad's name to our dog would send him running from window to window, whining with excitement! He knew him by name, and could not wait to see him.

Becoming Brad's second dog was most difficult for Brad's first. He was the alpha male and did not want any other not to realize it. They all adjusted quite well. They have been a family for the past three plus years.

Many times I found myself wanting him back. The agony that once made it so difficult to be around him, had ebbed... some. We had made a few acquaintances who suggested they would help care for him when we were out of the country. The time just never seemed right.

When Brad suggested coming with the dogs a few weeks ago, Deanna and I began to discuss the possibility of asking to take him back.

We did not want to upset the balance at Brad's home. We did not want to upset Brad.

Honestly, I don't think it was possible to keep Brad from being upset. He cared deeply for this dog. He loved him with all he had. He has sacrificed to take care of him, over and again.

This morning, when it came time for Brad to go home, we discussed the best way for him to leave without the dog knowing he was being left behind. We focused on that.

Hugging my brother goodbye became tearful. While it is normal for me to express emotion easily, this was different. The moment pregnant with so much meaning, and so many emotions. I felt like I understood the emptiness and hurt he was experiencing. He understood the reasons we were anxious to have our dog back. We each hurt for the other, and we both simply, wept.

He is now traveling a ten hour journey back to Indy, with only one dog.

I miss him already. Having him here is the most natural thing. Having him leave is not easy. Having him leave a part of himself behind, is not easy for him. He is selfless and caring.

So is Dakota... our new, old family member.

I see him doing it again, and it is not easy to watch. He is looking for what he has lost. Sniffing the air, waiting, wondering. We hope to love him through this new separation.

I am sure he will love us through ours!

Thank you, Brad. We miss you!



At 8:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my I now have tears in my eyes. I told my family I wondered if Dakota was going to stay with you.
That is a great picture of Brad. I'm glad you could have the time together.We love you and pray the adjustments will go well for all of you.
Aunt Maralyn

At 12:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We also have a Dakota, and a Riley,Sydney,Lance,and Dexter.I'll be praying for an easy adjustment for all of you.


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