I’m sitting here staring helplessly at my great friend, Bruno, our family’s Labrador retriever mix. Bruno was an interesting character. From the day we picked him up at the rescue center six years ago he decided that Helena must have come to him from the Promised Land and he has been more devoted to her than any puppy love relationship I have ever witnessed. Bruno was never more than thirty feet from his beloved Helena. When she went upstairs Bruno went upstairs and when she came back down he came back down. Once, when I became concerned that I couldn’t find Bruno, but could see Helena washing her van, I told her that Bruno had disappeared… “No,” she said, “he’s in the van.” Of course!
Bruno’s second most favorite thing in life was riding in vans, trucks, and cars. This boy was truly born to ride. He didn’t look out the window much; he just curled up and enjoyed the ride. On the return Bruno could always smell home a mile away and would begin barking excitedly. And for good reason because at the entry gate is where we would let him out so he could run up ahead of us for the quarter mile long driveway to the house. But wait! Bruno ran ahead, adding a personalized twist: every 100 feet or so he would pirouette around and bite the on-coming license plate. We were never able to deter him from this antic and after chewing the frames into pieces he then mangled the license plates into illegible and crumpled scraps of metal.
Crazy perhaps, but full of life and faithful devotion to his lady. Speaking of ladies, Bruno had two girlfriends, Rosie and Lily. They walked and played together while Bruno demonstrated his masculine prowess by always peeing on every bush in sight. And so I stare near tears at his crippled and trembling body, paralyzed and anemic from the terrible cancer that has moved from his spleen to his spine. He stares back and feebly offers his paw in an attempt to “shake” – all he still knows to do in an attempt to communicate. I can hardly stand losing him like this. Mother Nature isn’t always so pretty, is she?