Remembering Arrow

Today is the fifth anniversary of my dog Arrow’s death. I still miss him every day.

Arrow came to us as a disheveled 90-pound bundle of anxiety. When we adopted him at two years old, he’d already had six homes.

“He has fear aggression,” we were told. “He’s unpredictable with kids, and he’s terrified of thunder.”

Of the latter I needed no proof: On the night we met him a violent storm rolled in. Arrow crawled under the couch and hid beneath me, his side pressed up against my calves. I decided at that very instant to offer him a new home.

We had a few hiccups in that first year. He was jumpy and didn’t like to be touched. I had to take him through obedience school. Twice. And for some reason, he hated women with white hair. But we worked through his anxieties one by one.

Arrow grew into a wonderful companion and a gentle, affectionate friend. Every one of our neighbors knew him by name—including, eventually, the ladies with white hair.

We took him everywhere.

He followed us everywhere, too.

Sometimes I still half-expect him to come around the corner, groggy from a nap, wondering where I am. I miss his clanking tags and his clicking toenails. I miss his goofy dog smile, and the little whirlpools of fur that used to form on his chest.

I miss his soft gaze and his wise, gentle spirit. I miss so many things about him …

I’d give anything to hold him one more time.


  1. You made me cry, H! Magi, my fearful and jumpy Magi, who is afraid of tall men with white hair (!!!), who was rescued from a Portuguese pound and has panic attacks when thunderstorms come in, is around me now, his toenails clicking on the wooden floor. He needs to go out. Our walk will be for you and your beloved and beautiful Arrow. A big hug, g

    • Thanks so much for your very sweet note, Giusi. One of the hardest things about loving a dog is not being able to calm them when they’re afraid. But I hope that your beloved yellow Magi will become less fearful over time, as Arrow did. And I’m very touched that your walk will be for Arrow. I couldn’t ask for a lovelier tribute. xo

  2. Awww *hugs*, I know the feeling.
    The feeling, that you’ve never cuddled them enough.
    But well – you know, you did.
    And he had a wonderful home with you. =)

    • Thank you for your very sweet words, witchydiary. You clearly *do* understand, don’t you? I could have cuddled Arrow ’round the clock, and it still wouldn’t have been enough. Thank you for brightening my day. 🙂

  3. Oh, H, you’ve made me cry. What a beautiful tribute.

    The rational side of our brains tells us that we’re being silly and sentimental to get so emotional about an animal. But the other side knows better. A dog becomes a member of the family, part of your world and your life and your memories. When they go, they leave a dog-shaped hole in your arms. (I can well up just *thinking* about losing my darling spaniel, my baby, my precious friend through thick and thin.) I am so sorry that you miss him still so much, and so glad that Arrow found such a loving and happy home with you.

    I do love the picture of Arrow’s whorls of hair: you and he must have been very patient to get that photo! My dogs and I are off out to the woods now, in warm sunshine. We will think of you and Arrow.

    • Hello, DB! Your note has made me sentimental all over again. As always, you’re so right: Our rational side tells us “it’s just an animal.” But the other side knows better, indeed. We’re ALL animals … and as such, we all await the same fate. In the meantime, though, we’re all lucky to be alive. So hug your beloved spaniel close, and don’t forget that every day is a gift. (Not that you need remindin’, you wise lass …)

      Have a lovely walk, and enjoy the warm sunshine. xo

  4. What a poignant story. I’ve never owned a dog but I do like them, or at least the ones I’ve got to know. I love the simplicity of the bond that develops between dog and human, maybe not always, but again, in the cases I’ve known. You were very brave to take on such a challenge; but it sounds like you were rewarded in two ways:in the love that Arrow gave you when he was alive; and in the self-affirming love you gave him and with which you will always remember him. They never really leave us, you know. It’s just that we don’t see them anymore. Take care.

    • What a beautiful note you’ve written, Xpat. You are so right in commenting on the simplicity — and the depth — of the bond between dog and human. I think that’s one of the reasons I treasure my dog friends so much: there’s no guile or guilt … only unconditional love. We humans could take a lesson or two from our furry friends. Anyway, thanks for your comment. You made my day (as usual). Cheers!

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