Last weekend, we visited Half Moon Bay with a friend and her dogs to acknowledge the one year anniversary of our Angel Dog Arnie’s passing. We chose this location because it was where we took Arnie for his last big outing just a few weeks before he Crossed the Rainbow Bridge. It was a glorious day, and Arnie, despite his age and infirmities, had a wonderful time. He managed to walk further with more energy than he had in many months. We walked over a mile before he finally started laboring. Thank goodness we planned and brought our Radio Flyer to carry him in when he became fatigued. We placed him in the wagon and headed a little further up to the beach. Arnie came out of the wagon and excitedly romped around for about one minute before taking a nap. He slept for roughly 20 minutes, then got up like a new dog and started romping around again. On the beach we met an old fellow with his daughter and son-in-law who had a senior dog. The dog was nearly 16 years old and clearly on his last legs. I wish I could remember the dog’s name, but he and Arnie sniffed each other out and wagged their tails furiously, as if they were kindred spirits. This old dog had been with the family since he was a puppy, and I imagine they were doing what we had planned with Arnie- taking him out for as many adventures as possible before saying goodbye and sending their friend across the Rainbow Bridge. It was bittersweet experience, but it added to a great day with some precious memories of our fur child. But it wasn’t over. After playing on the beach for another half hour, we headed back to a restaurant for lunch near the beach. It was a little over a mile away, and Arnie amazingly walked back half way. He let us know he needed help finishing the hike back to our lunch spot, so we placed him back in the wagon, and he slept peacefully until we arrived at the restaurant. The dog friendly restaurant had outdoor seating, and Arnie immediately sprung to life again while energetically exploring where he could on the leash. It probably wasn’t appropriate, but I let him make friends with many of the guests because he clearly wanted to be social. Arnie got a few pets and was enjoying the food smells “I am sure hoping to get some nice people food”. We settled in for a nice meal and Arnie stood by us like a regal gentleman. He was normally not allowed table scraps, but we made an exception for this special outing. As I said at the beginning….it was a glorious day.
Following Arnie’s Pawsteps
So we set out last weekend to follow along Arnie’s pawsteps with our new Cocker Spaniel rescue, Ryan, our friend Vicki and her two beautiful Cavalier Kings Charles Spaniels, Eli and Ruby. Vicki was our customer who became our friend. We all walked that same long trail by the ocean, then headed back to lunch before returning to the beach we enjoyed with Arnie last year. We had a great meal, and the dogs enjoyed “stealing” some people food…magically some delicious french fries fell off my wife’s plate. After a toast to Arnie, we finished our meal and headed back to the beach. Along the way our new dog Ryan needed to rest after a long romp along the path before lunchtime. My wife sat with Ryan by the ocean for a peaceful rest, and I joined our friend, Vicki, with her two dogs on the beach. Eli and Ruby had a great time romping around, as it was their first time on a beach. This was definitely a fitting way to remember our Angel Dog, Arnie.
Reflecting on the Day
So, as I thought about the day, I tried to understand why this dog made such a difference in our lives. We were blessed to have him for 14 of his nearly 18 years on this earth! It’s not like we never had the pleasure of owning pets before. We loved them all, and they enriched our lives. My wife grew up owning cats, tortoises, rabbits etc.. and spent years riding horses. But somehow this one fur child was different. I am sure it was because of how he came into our lives with his charming personality and helped us through so many life changing experiences and challenges. Without recounting all the crises he saw us through, I think that was a big part of it. He came to us when a beloved family member was dying and provided so much comfort. It’s almost like he was “sent to us for a reason”. That was just the beginning. When we rescued Arnie he was a big underdog, as we were his fourth home. He had severe separation anxiety, but constantly showed us and other family members his warmth, affection and charm. Arnie drew us all closer, and we put lots of effort into reducing his anxiety and building his esteem. In later years, he evolved into a calmer and even happier companion, and he reduced our stress levels. In so many ways, he wormed himself into the fabric of our lives and managed to change everything. I am convinced he helped me become a better version of myself. Since Arnie, it seems my relationship with dogs and pets is even deeper. My commitment to helping them has grown. I love capturing them on camera and truly know how much they mean to their owners. Arnie gave us that special gift and enriched our experiences with other animals. Thank you, Arnie, for helping me see this so clearly. You were a great companion, mentor and wonderful family member. We miss you terribly, and probably always will, but we are so grateful for the way you impacted our lives.