There is little hope of my being cogent enough tomorrow to write what I think I want to write, so I will end today with a few words about our dog Templeton. In the morning we will be saying goodbye to our beautiful beagle after a 15-year relationship characterized by contrasts: A faithful friend who would put her head on your lap when you were feeling sad but just as readily steal your dinner from the table; a dog who encouraged her owners to walk great distances in fresh air but could also raise their blood pressure in an instant with her propensity for escape; a gorgeous face who thought nothing of leaving behind all sorts of digestive emissions wherever she chose throughout the house.
She failed obedience training and even chewed up her “diploma” in front of her teacher; she ripped up expensive perennials from my newly planted garden, then skipped through the yard gleefully with them dangling from her teeth; she made a small child cry at a cookout when she took a hotdog right from his hand. She helped herself to our neighbor’s tomatoes after digging a mammoth hole under our fence to get there.
She made us laugh. She made us cry. In short, she was a member of our family: She was our dog. We have missed her . . . and we will miss her.
There has never been a dog quite like you, Templeton. I will forever remember the pull of your leash in my hand, the softness of your beagle ears on my fingers, the “beauty mark” on your face, the swirling cowlick on your side. I will think of you in your younger, healthier days getting into all sorts of shenanigans and making us love you all the more for them.
You will always be our first baby–always.