It doesn't matter how many years pass, Buddy-Boo, I still think of you every day. We had quite the life, didn't we, the three of us? You had this way of binding us together as a family. When we lost you, we lost that.
The week after you died, I went into seclusion and came out a few days later with a draft of a book I had written about you. I found it again a few months ago and read it over, sure that it would be just maudlin and schlock. And it was partially that, but even relevantly, it was a beautiful portrait of you and the people and places you loved.
I was reminded of so many things about you:
Your face after you'd been running in the snow, like in the picture.
The blissful holidays we spent up in Maine.
Your loving, welcoming, gentlemanly aspect, (as long as no cats were involved).
Your big tree in the back yard, and how you would chase the groundhogs who dared to trespass on your property.
Grooming sessions and baths, to which you patiently submitted, knowing how handsome you'd look on the other end (not to mention the treats you'd earn on the way).
The way you would take a proffered carrot out of my hand, carry it to "your" rug, arrange it between your front paws, plop your big fluffy butt down and munch away contentedly.
You were so well brought-up. That was your other daddy's doing more than mine. You and I were more like co-conspirators, best friends. I let you get away with lots more than I should have. But you had stolen my heart... how could I deny you anything?
Sometimes I wonder if I have ever loved another being as much as I loved you. There are times when I think that I am really deficient in the love department, that I can only take love, that I don't know how to give it. You set the perfect example of how to love purely, though. You didn't play favorites; you loved everyone on their own terms, and you gave them exactly what they needed. You could be a buoyant playmate or a companion in sorrow. Or sometimes just a barking maniac. That was okay, too, because you always kept us feeling watchdog-safe.
I know it was hard on you when we moved. How you missed your big backyard. We all three missed it. But you adapted to apartment life, and there was more than enough green just down the street in the park where we would spend time every day.
I think back to the really happy times, and I think back to the black times, and you were always there. On rare occasions you instigated the trouble, like when you ate several feet of that rag rug and had to have emergency surgery. Or the time you got out from the backyard and we wandered the streets calling for you for what seemed like hours, and then when when you finally found me and tore across the street in front of that truck.
I tried never to take you for granted, because I knew that you were a gift, and a rare one, and that I would never have another friend like you. I hope I was able to give back just a portion of what you offered to me.
When we found out you were sick and we had no idea how much longer we would have you: those are the most bittersweet memories for me. You and I would go sit in the park and I would hold you close to me and brush out your beautiful wheaten coat. And you would curl up like a big baby in my arms and I would sing, so softly, in one of your fluffy blue ears: "My Love is Like a Red, Red, Rose."
"And I will love thee still, my dear, till a' the seas gang dry."
And you would look at me from under those big bushy eyebrows with those brown, soulful eyes of yours, and I would know the best happiness I have ever known.
Every time I pass a wheaten terrier on the street, I know that there is a little angel, an urchin spirit, still beaming down love upon me. I see them, and it's like you're there all over again, my little Fluff Nugget.
So if you ever sense that I'm down and missing you more than I can bear, just let my eye fall on a little cousin of yours. I'll get the message.