As I've gotten older I've enjoyed watching friends go through many life changes. I've been amazed at how often these changes seem to happen all at once. There was the 2005/2006 wedding extravaganza when it seemed everyone I know was getting married. Then the great baby explosion of 2006/2007. Now, there is a much sadder, more difficult cycle that has begun.
The "college dogs" are dying.
A few days ago I got the news that Forbin was being put to sleep. Forbin was a spirited little dachsund mutt J and his roommate adopted from the pound our Sophmore year at Tech. Though they both took him home, it was quickly established that Forbin's trust and allegiance was to Johnny. And Johnny, in turn, became Forbin's true Dad.
Forbin was a staple in our college lives, and for many years after. Forbin was my roommate and my pal as we all shared the house on Lee street. When Tubbs came into the picture, Forbin, like so many little dogs, showed no fear of the looming big brown spaz. Forbin was happy to show him the ropes and let him know who was boss and thought nonthing of it when Tubbs quickly doubled, tripled, quadrupled his size. Until the day Tubbs bit him that is...sorry about that Forbe. (Bones. There is no sharing amongst friends. Lesson learned.)
Now, after a good 17 years, Colonel Forbin was put to rest.
And yesterday, I got the news that Naya, Tubbs littermate, will be put down today. I knew she had been ill, but it's just so sad. I look at Tubbs and realize it may not be far off for him. And my friend Jess's sweetheart of a dog, Tabby, is now deaf and getting a little rickety. I always knew they wouldn't be around forever, but it takes you by surprise when you see your once energetic and active companion become slow and aged.
As many of us are caring for our first children, we are saying goodbye to our first babies. The ones that showed us what unconditional love and companionship can be. Teaching us that responsiblity and trust are not a burden, but a blessing.
I know it's been said, but the love of a dog makes you a better person. Even as we say goodbye, they teach us about love and loss. It's too bad the final lesson has to be so hard.
I wish I could give Johnny a hug.