One winter day I had planned on taking my dog, Philip, to my friend Sandy’s house. She’s his regular baby sitter. I put some of his dog food in a plastic container and loaded him into the car. I didn’t make it to Sandy’s and wound up just taking Phil with me to where I needed to go.
On our way home, we stopped at a grocery store. Standing outside the parking lot was a homeless man and his dog. He was holding a sign asking for loose change. I don’t usually give money to strangers on the streets. I’m not unsympathetic, I’m just limited with my own resources. I went into the grocery store and picked up some things I needed.
On my way out of the parking lot, I saw the man again and remembered the extra dog food I had packed for Phil. I stopped on the way out next to the man and his dog and opened my passenger side window.
“I don’t carry cash,” I said, honestly, “but I do have some extra dog food with me that your pooch can have.”
With a smile on his face, the homeless man said to me, “That’s even better than cash.” He took the food from me and said, “This will keep her warm and she keeps me warm.”
That night, my Philip was the hero. Though he’s always been my hero. Just by being in my life, Phil always made sure that I made my way outside to get some fresh air and sunlight. Even toward the end of his life, when he wasn’t able to tell me that he needed to go outside, I still made sure to take him out and spend time with him laying in the grass and getting some sun.
I miss Philip. Whenever I was away from him, I missed him. When I took him to the vet that last time, I missed him even before we said goodbye. I missed the energy he used to have. His personality that shined through his canine complexion.
In the end, he was just tired and hurting and I had to make the difficult decision to help him let go. Now It’s my turn to let go.