Every boy should have a dog. I was so very fortunate to have Bear. Yesterday I received a phone call from Santa Cruz letting me know that my dog was very sick and being put to sleep.
When I first met Bear he was well over 120lbs. We were walking through the animal shelter in Scotts Valley looking for a little dog to adopt. As we went to take out a dog named "Shaye" we were told jokingly that we would have to take "Bear" out. We agreed jokingly and first took Shaye out. She was a small dog with no interest in us. Shaye was the kind of dog that would run the first chance an open door presented itself. Deciding to keep our promise we met Bear.
There in his kennel was Bear laying on his back, his mouth barely in reach of his food bowl. It was the laziest sight I had ever seen. I loved it. We took him outside. On the way out Bear looked to a table where the handlers kept dog treats. I remember loving that he knew that. When we got outside he stayed so close me. He was a great dog.
The file said he was a lab/pitbull mix. His size most likely scared off many potential owners. He was a rescue twice over and when he was found he had the remains of some small animal in his stomach. We were told he was chained outside with two other dogs that were too violent to be kept alive. I always thought that Bear had it in his mind that if he made it out that situation he would be the best friend a boy could ever have.
The day he came home I took him down to the beach on West Cliff. We walked down the stairs together. He didn't tug at his leash he just walked along side me. When we got to the sand I walked over to a log and sat down. I took him of his leash. He walked away from me a few steps and then came back over to my side. He sat down right next to me. I remember looking in his eyes. He could have been a very intimidating dog if he wanted to but his eyes just reassured me that he would always be my friend.
I'd walk with him every chance I could get. I took him to the beach as often as I could. He loved getting in the car with me. When softball season was in full swing he'd come with me to the games and sit in the dugout. He'd get so sad when I went to take the field.
He loved the bed. He'd do anything to sleep in it. He'd pretend to sleep to avoid being kicked out. More times than not I'd fall for it and let him cuddle. A hundred pounds of fur and hot breath.
When we moved to Arizona he endured the hot summers with a smile. During our time there we got a new puppy Noe. I remember the first days Noe was home, Bear was not happy with it. He didn't act out, he didn't bite or even growl, he just did his best to deal with this new dog until she would be on her way.
Noe didn't go away and Bear began to warm up to her. She had this thing about nipping at his cheek when he would come back in the house. He didn't mind, he'd allow it. They became a family, they became "Bear and Noe". I can still see them sharing a large crate together. That was where they slept. Noe nestled up next her big Bear. Noe loved her Bear.
In 2007 I left Santa Cruz. Unfortunately I wasn't able to take Bear. Noe wouldn't have it. My heart was so broken. I missed my friend so much.
In the spring of 2008 I asked if I could take the two for the day. I picked them up in the morning planning to go to Half Moon Bay. I cried when I got them into the car. As silly as it was I cried.
We went to Smith field just south of Half Moon Bay. There is a large area where they loved to run and play. Noe got out and immediately took off. She ran in and out of the chaparral, chasing birds and jumping over ditches. I watched as she stretched those legs out running as fast as she could.
My favorite part of it was Bear. There he was just right by my side. As we walked for well over an hour he never left my side.
Yesterday I got the call at 11am. Bear was sick and the doctor said it was his time.
I asked that he get a hug from me. That he be told that I love him. Silly probably but he's my dog. I cried. I'm crying now over it. He was the dog a boy should have. He was my dog. I just wished I could have been there. I wish I could have hugged him one more time.
Last night when as I slept I had a dream. I was on that deck in Santa Cruz. That old weather torn deck I'd been on a thousand times. Bear was brought out to me. There he was with his green collar and that old green leash. I grabbed his great big neck and hugged him one last time. I said thank you. I said goodbye. He was so happy. I loved that I got to say goodbye.