August 1991- February 29, 2008

Seventeen years ago, I was blessed by an angel coming into my life. This angel was not what you think – I’m not talking about a humanoid spirit entity with a wings and a halo, flying about doing good deeds. No, this angel was quite real, walked around on four legs,
and had a thick, long coat of tan hair and a very cold nose. I’m talking about Perkins, my Golden Retriever cross.

We had to put Perkins down on Friday, February 29th. He was deaf, completely blind, and was in such great pain from arthritis, he had trouble walking and standing. He also was suffering from increasing doggie dementia, which meant he would either pace for hours or just stand in one place trying to figure out where he was. As early as this time last year, we knew his days were numbered, but our veterinarian put him on a regimen of pills that seemed to put a bit a spring in his step and keep his spirits up.

Then, about a month ago, it was apparent his cataracts and arthritis were getting to be too much for him. His legs starting giving out frequently and he would walk into corners, walls, or tight spaces he couldn’t back out from. After this, he started falling down, which scared him so much that he would soil himself and not be able to get back up. It was at this point Susan and I could no longer stand to see him suffer. He clearly was to the point of having very little quality of life left.

Having Perkins put to sleep was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my life, but I know it was the right thing to do. Neither Susan nor I could take watching him be put to sleep, so we said our tearful goodbyes and left. Strangely, though, within a few hours, I began to fell a sense of peace and calm, as if a sense of closure had come about.

The week prior to this, I had been a total wreck, upset at the obvious decline in Perkins’ situation, knowing deep down inside that the time had come to say goodbye. It was then I believe, that I started to grieve his loss, and not at the time of his death.

The grief came at the loss of the Perkins I loved and remembered. Perkins could no longer come bouncing in from the back door at hundred miles an hour, his pink tongue dribbling and his tail wagging frantically. Gone was his boundless energy, his joy, and his unconditional love and happiness.

By saying goodbye to his withered worn out body, his spirit was freed to become one again with God and the Universe. His spirit will live in my heart forever.

I want to remember THIS Perkins, the dog that saw me through many lonely, despairing days in the early nineties, when a wag of his tail and a lick on the face would remind me that all is truly well. I will remember our many walks through Old Town and Tiguex Park, and how he didn’t mind at all when a little lost dog named Harley followed us home and insinuated himself into the position of little brother.

I will remember the great moments, like when Perkins would romp in the rain or snow, or manage to climb up onto our concrete fence after being nearly scared to death by a hot air balloon, or the time he cornered a skunk over at my Dad’s house and the skunk had the last word. I cherish the time Susan and I took him up to the Jemez and he tried to walk on the icy river. I will remember the time we were with Susan’s kids at the Rio Grande, and Perkins took off walking down the river, blissfully ignorant of everything but the enticing smells along the riverbank. When my mother suffered a stroke, Perkins would visit her at the nursing home, curl up on the bed and provide enough healing energy to lighten the atmosphere of the entire facility.

Perkins was not a particularly active or rambunctious dog, but he was the most loving and gentle dog I’ve ever known. He brought peace and love with him, wherever he went. He never met any human or dog he didn’t like, although he could do without most cats. He was always ready with a lick, a cuddle or a roll over onto his back, knowing a belly rub was magic cure for whatever may be troubling human or dog at any given moment.

He loved walks, rain, snow, dog biscuits, and even his little brother Harley, who could sometimes be a huge pain in the butt. Thunder and balloons often scared the hell out of him, but he never complained, not once. He had a series of medical issues throughout his life, particularly involving his digestive system, but he overcame all these problems like a real trooper.

Yes, Perkins was an awesome dog, and a wonderful companion, but above all he was a phenomenal teacher. He taught me that just being was often all one needed to find happiness, and that unconditional love could heal the world.

Sure, I’ll miss him, a lot, but he has not really left us. The joy and love he spread during his long life is still here deep in our hearts. It is up to us to help spread it around.

With Love,


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