It’s been eight years, but the memories of his last night are still fresh: his screams, as each spasm ripped through his abdomen; the grayish color of his gums; the faraway look in his eyes. I knew he was dying … and I knew there was nothing I could do.
I relived that night recently, as I thumbed through the file that contained my dog Arrow’s records. That file folder — battered by use, and yellowed with age — was one of just a handful that survived The Flood.
I expected to be overwhelmed by sadness, when I first opened Arrow’s folder. His cremation certificate was among the first artifacts I saw, along with this beautiful poem from my friend Jim:
Sifting through the papers, I began going backward in time. I remembered my sister’s comforting words, “You will see Arrow again.”
I’d indeed seen his face again — on another dog, with a different name.
Deeper into the cellulose time-tunnel, I found his vaccination records. Apparently I lost interest in monitoring his feces after only five years.
I also found an EKG printout — the last vestige of his fine and strong heart.
Then, an old shopping list emerged. “Dog deodorizer?” I asked myself.
His adoption papers explained it: In two years, his previous owner had never once tried bathing him.
Finally, at the very end of the file, I found one last small bit of paper.
Who would have thought that such a simple ad would form the beginning of such a beautiful, enduring friendship?
Arrow’s ashes are back home now, enshrined in the closet where he so often took refuge. And although the flood washed away all evidence of his physical presence, his spirit lives on in my heart.
May the road rise up to meet you, dear friend.