I got an email from my mom last Thursday, just a quick note that said something to the effect of, “Call your dad today when you get a chance. Maggie died last night. We buried her this morning.”
Maggie was the Clinger family dog, an English Setter who was a great pet for years. In fact she was just weeks away from her 14th birthday when she passed. We got her as a pup when I was 13 years old. She started her life in our family as an outdoor dog; she was a hunter, a runner, a pond swimmer, a cow-chaser and a cow-pie roller. As she aged she eventually became an indoor dog and would commute with my dad upstairs to their office for work each day where she remained sprawled out on the couch for as long as my dad would sit in front of the computer. Here’s a photo of her doing one of her favorite things – it was taken January a little more than a year ago.
So I called my dad last Wednesday afternoon to check in. He had known that it would just be a matter of time before Maggie passed, she had been sick, it had even become a bit of a chore to watch her and take care of her over the course of the previous week. Neither his knowledge of these things nor my knowledge of his knowledge of these things made the phone conversation any easier for either of us. At times us Clinger men can be big teddy bears and while we tried to keep our conversation light we both cried, we both got choked up, and I know that I was glad to be talking to my dad.
As I grew up my dad helped me develop my appreciation for dogs. Heather and I now have a dog of our own and it’s been said that these creatures are man’s best friend. While I love my dog, as I hung up the phone with my dad last Wednesday, I realized that I was most thankful for the friendship that I shared with him, one of this man’s truly best friends.
A picture of him with my momma (another great dog lover and friend to this man) from that same trip to Kansas last January.
And one more of my dad and his dog… what a pair!