Early Friday morning, an old man got a call. He had been in his new home for five years and had missed his friend sorely. They had been apart but never out of each other’s thoughts. The man knew this day might come and here it was. Excitedly, he dressed in clothes familiar to his friend. Clothes he had worn around home when they shared his small condo north of the city. Clothes that smelled of their neighborhood where they walked together every day, twice, and the red SUV they drove to the store.
The gray-haired friend of the old man knew it was an exciting time. This would be a better day than Sundays when he went along to get donuts or bagels. If only he wasn’t so tired. A creeping fatigue has plagued him for a couple of months. His bed was still warm and soft, and his meals tasty and on time, but he used to jump out of bed each morning, now he kind of slid out. Still, knowing what was coming put some of the old spring back in his step.
Such good friends they had become over the years. More special to each other than either one could have imagined. Separation had been hard. Brought on by events unplanned and unfathomably cruel, testing both friends and their bond. In the end, each went his own way. One to a new home far away, the other to an old home with relatives half forgotten.
On this nearly cold Friday morning the old man was ready. Somehow he found himself feeling younger and more fit than he had since his arrival in this place. His legs seemed stronger and his vision a little more acute. Once he set out, he was amazed at how fast he reached the place of their reunion. His gray-haired friend was later than he expected. Something, or someone, had delayed him. Maybe it was the tears of his family, holding him back. Maybe he had changed his mind, maybe he too had found a new energy and was enjoying the beautiful Fall day. The old man was turning to go, sure he had the day wrong. After all, an old mind could easily misplace a date or two. But, in the distance he heard his name. Called out to him as only his most beloved friend could call. It was him!
The man turned and bent to stroke the soft gray hair and gently tug at the ears of his friend. The old dog smiled up at the man and knew he was home.
On Friday, November 19, 2010, Ch. Casey’s Love Me Tender (Elvis), Mr. Leonard to his friends, was euthanized after a short battle with lymphoma. He was fourteen years old and had been with us five years. His last owner, Jerry Leonard, who died in a fire saving him, got his dog back that day.