People keep saying “he was just a dog”.

He was the one who got up with me every morning, no matter how early, to help me greet the morning.

He was the one who stood guard over our home, our family and the loneliness of my days.

He was the one who acted as the best alarm system around, letting us know when someone or something was approaching outside the door.

He was the one who slept at the door to the bedrooms, to make certain everyone was safe.

He was the one who loved the children. From the babies who would pull and tug at him and use him as a brace for wobbly legs learning to crawl or walk, to the older ones with whom he would sneak into their bed at night and cuddle close.

He didn’t rest until everyone was home safe and sound.

He was the explorer who wandered through the bushes in the yard, hunting for lizards or the scent of the woodland creatures that might happen by.

He was the guardian who would chase away those woodland creatures lest they harm one of us.

He was the one who came to lie on my feet or close to my chair at my desk, sensing the times when I was in pain either emotional or physical.

He was the one who looked at me with sparkling, happy eyes, a happy smile, a wagging tail, who wanted nothing from me except a kind word and a soft stroke of his head.

He was the one who never asked for anything from anyone except to just be near.

He was the one who cleaned up the crumbs from the babies or lived for that scrap of leftover supper.

He was the one who staved off the loneliness, the fear, the emptiness of a house whose children had grown and moved away.

He was the one who looked at me with guilty pleasure when they came to visit and let him get on the furniture with him, knowing I would not fuss.

He was the one whose only fear was the rolling thunder of a storm and who never wanted me to know he was afraid, but who would sit close until the storm was past, hoping for a reassuring pat or soft word.

He was the one who greeted me at the door when I returned from an errand, with a body language that let me know he was happy I was home, happy to be with me again, proud that he had done his job of guarding our home while I was gone.

He was the one who lived with his aging pain, not wanting to let go for fear of leaving me alone, leaving his job as my protector, my companion, my best friend.

He was the one who took one last look into my eyes as his grew dim, looking to make sure I was okay as his life slipped away, worried that he was leaving me alone.

He was the one whose soft hair I stroked and softly whispered to that he was going home, that it was okay to let go, that I loved him enough to send him home to God to wait for me at the Rainbow Bridge.

He was the one whose grave is close by so that he will always be near to the home and the people he loved so unconditionally and protected with such loyalty.

People say “he was only just a dog”.

To those I say, look closer and see the truth of who and what he truly was.

Bonnie Snider

Thia lovely piece is Bonnie’s tribute to her beloved Shorty;

I had to send my beloved Shorty to the Rainbow Bridge a few years ago. I still miss him so. He was a stray we found in the parking lot of a store, covered in mange, practically a skeleton. We took him home, got him the care he needed and blessed our lives for the next 15 years.

It speaks to just how much he meant to me.

Bonnie, thank you so much for sharing this with me and allowing my to share it with others.

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