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    Posted June 22, 2013 by
    Crystal Lake, Illinois
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    First Person: Your essays

    Two Letters not Enough Name for this Dog


    Today, I picked up three sets of paw prints that belonged to our Scoony. His two front paws fit perfectly on the round disc of white clay. Scoony (a form of Scooter) was not his real name, it was just one of a whole bucket load of names we had to express every ounce of love we had for him. Some of these names were just plain goofy like Crumpet Pants, Pony, Binski, Loofonda, The Jayster, Juan Carlos, Jay, Coonie, and Scooniferous; the names just kept coming over the years. They would flow straight from our hearts right through our lips one silly name after another. Below the paw prints his real name is stamped, J.R., short and sweet, which stood for Jack Russell. This was the name agreed upon by our three children over fourteen years ago. My son picked him out of the liter, because the tip of his white tail looked like it had been dipped in a can of white paint. His two sisters agreed, he was the one for us.
    J.R. had personality, spunk, and a lot of smarts. He failed puppy training class for not being submissive, but we didn’t care. It was clear, we didn’t own him, he owned us. More than anything else, he was always there, just waiting for us. Last fall, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and he was my four-legged, support group; oncologist, nurse, social worker and therapist, all rolled into one convenient package. I didn’t have to make an appointment to see him, drive a long distance, produce my insurance card or make a co-pay. He listened to me scream, cry and pray. He was my Kleenex, hot water bottle, pain killer, and anti-nausea pill. His almond eyes were always consoling like a foamy cappuccino. Over the past seven months of treatment, he was the best medicine. With my chemo behind me and only one week of radiation therapy left to go, we had to say goodbye because he had developed cancer as well. He went to specialists too, just like I did, but for him there was no cure. He never complained about cancer like I did or feel sorry for himself; a better patient than me. He went his merry little way to that Rainbow Bridge dutifully like the tough guy that he was.
    Since that day, the hole in our hearts feels bigger than the galaxy. I look for reminders of him every day, like his little white and tan hairs on the sofa covers or the floor. His nose prints are still on the car windows and patio door. I don’t want to wash him out of our lives, so I have avoided vacuuming the floors, washing the blankets or cleaning the windows. Those pesky little hairs I would sometimes complain about having to use a sticky roller on, I find myself examining very closely on my hands and knees. You can see them especially well when the sun hits the floors where he used to lie. I even find them trapped in the dryer’s lint filter. They float through the air softly when the windows are rolled down in the car. I want to gather them together in a bunch and hold them in my arms.
    Two days after we said goodbye, we received a card from our vet that said, “Truly great friends are hard to find, difficult to leave, and impossible to forget” (G. Randolf). That’s for sure; we will never forget the great little Crumpet Pants that made J.R. the Scooniferous Binski Pony that he was.

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